By David Tolulope
James Madison, America’s fourth president (1809–1817), who made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing The Federalist Papers, once said, and I quote, “No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subject on which he is to legislate. Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms, cities, or economic interests.” The above quote speaks volumes about the inevitability of the legislature in any innovative and progressive society. The knowledge that a legislator brings to the table can bring about an incredible change in the wellbeing of a nation. The sponsoring of bills, the passing of laws, establishing the government’s budget, confirming executive appointments, ratifying treaties, etc., have to be rightly handled by a crop of intelligent, credible, and patriotic lawmakers who have the nation’s interest at heart above their own.
Honorable Muktar Aliu Betara, the current Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives, is one lawmaker who has the legislative acumen and has done frighteningly well in his leadership position. He is brilliantly representing Biu/Bayo/ Shani federal constituency of Borno State and excellently piloting the affairs of the Appropriation Committee in the Green Chamber. In the discharge of duty, he has employed fear of God, nationalistic spirit, vigor, and wisdom. He is a leader who has really left indelible prints on the sands of time. The Green Chamber veteran is truly the man of the people and has a penchant for true federalism, selfless leadership, and of course, a nation of greatness. If you are looking for a man of unquestionable character and strong-willed determination, you can rightly point to Honorable Betara. The people of his constituency hold him in high esteem. The reason is that he has proven to them all without doubt that true leadership still exists in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Last year, Betara won the APC return ticket unopposed for Biu Federal Constituency. Before then, Betara received overwhelming support from the people of his constituency, who also contributed money to purchase the nomination and expression of interest form for him. Market women, artisans, and youth came out in their numbers to surprise him with this. Those gathered affirmed that he has achieved well, especially in the areas of road construction, scholarships, education, and women empowerment, among others. This struck me when I heard it and later watched the video. It takes a good leader to enjoy such support. When he was finally announced the winner, there was excitement in the air, and various solidarity songs were chanted in his honor. Also, in the just concluded general elections, Betara won with a very wide margin. In June of this year, when he is sworn into office, it will already be his fifth term in office. Let us even look at it logically: If he wasn’t performing to the expectations of his constituents, he would have been voted out of office a long time ago.
Without mincing words, Betara has recorded noteworthy and significant achievements, not just as the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee but also as a member who has sponsored a lot of bills and motions in the House of Representatives since he was first elected in 2007. It is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that he is one man who has gathered legislative experience for sixteen (16) years now. Being an accountant with years of experience and currently the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, one would deduce that he must have employed significant knowledge in budgetary matters as they concern the nation. If I want to enumerate all his achievements in this publication, then we will have to consume a lot of pages. For the sake of time and management, let me delve into some of his key achievements as a prominent member in the hallowed chamber for years now.
Muktar Aliyu Betara played a significant role in the appropriation of funding for the many programs and projects of the Nigerian government serving as the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations in the House of Representatives. He led the committee in charge of examining and approving the federal budget, making sure that the money was allocated in accordance with the nation’s development priorities. The budget’s timely passage and accurate representation of the needs of the Nigerian people were both made possible in large part by Betara. He collaborated closely with other committee members and pertinent government agencies to determine funding priorities and made sure the money was used as intended.
Betara was renowned for managing the appropriations process with openness and responsibility. In order to guarantee that the budget accurately reflected Nigerians’ needs and ambitions, he pushed for open discussion and collaboration with all relevant parties, including civil society organizations.
Muktar Aliyu Betara was committed to making sure that the Nigerian government’s resources were used wisely and effectively for the benefit of the nation and its citizens, which was evident during his time as the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.
When Borno was the hub of the insurgency that ravaged lives and property, Honorable Betara, in his usual spirit of patriotism, sponsored a motion calling for the improvement of security in his constituency and other parts of Borno State, which had been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Records have it that that motion moved in the house brought about a significant improvement in security in that constituency and, of course, the entirety of Bornu state. Today, relative peace has been restored. Today, the people of that constituency can go about their respective businesses without apprehensive tendencies. Apparently, this feat contributed to the massive turnout of his constituents to vote for him in the just concluded elections.
At the sixth assembly in 2007 and 2011, Betara acted as Chairman of the Sub-committee on NDIC, Banking, and Currency. More also, he served as a member of the House Committee on Interior and was later appointed as Chairman, Sub-committee on Customs, Immigration, and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO).
During the seventh assembly (2011–2015), he was appointed as Chairman, House Committee on the Army. He made recommendations to empower and sustain the activities of the army against the rising insurgency in the northern region of Nigeria.
Furthermore, between 2015 and 2019, Betara served as Chairman of the House Committee on Defense.
Some of his other notable achievements worthy of mention are:
Supporting the National Lottery Act Amendment Bill, which aimed to control how Nigerian lottery businesses operated and ensure that they aided in the nation’s growth.
supporting a proposal to build a federal medical center in Biu, Borno State, in order to offer top-notch medical care to his people and fellow citizens.
– Starting a number of initiatives aimed at empowering young people and reducing poverty in his constituency, such as giving young entrepreneurs motorcycles and sewing equipment.
– Enabling the building of a number of roads and bridges in his constituency, which has improved the flow of people and commodities and eased transportation.
– Promoting the availability of necessities like power and water in rural areas has raised the standard of living for the locals.
In June of this year, the 10th National Assembly will be proclaimed by the incoming president after he has assumed leadership of the country. This will mean that the ball will be set rolling for new leadership in the House. Obviously, representatives of various political parties will enter the hallowed chamber. It is pertinent that the leadership of the house be made up of a crop of leaders with an altruistic spirit and experience. Nigerians are eagerly waiting, with hands placed on their chins, to see what will become of the revered House of Representatives. A house that will constitute representatives from various constituencies with varying backgrounds and orientations will require a man who can organize and not agonize, a man with experience and legislative tenacity. Betara has the capacity, experience, and tact required for this all-demanding function. He can deliver pretty well because he has seen it all. What Nigerians want to see is good legislation, and Betara is really up to the task. Regardless of party affiliations, beliefs, and ideologies of the representatives in the 10th National Assembly, this man named Honorable Batere should be given a try. All we are looking for is a better Nigeria through the instrumentality of proper and realistic legislation.
Let me end this piece with this quote by John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States of America: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” The Honorable Betara has inspired a lot of his colleagues and Nigerians in general. I urge members of the house to give him a try and benefit from the avalanche of experience that will be displayed by him.
Tolulope is a political analyst based in Lagos.