10th National Assembly: Betara’s Selling Points as Speaker By Williams Ochonu

10th National Assembly: Betara’s Selling Points as Speaker By Williams Ochonu

Editor's note: In this piece William Ochunu, an Abuba-based top analyst writes on the speakership position in the House of Representatives and the kind of leaders and character needed for a lawmaker who would assume the seat.

"Leadership is the creation of an environment in which others can self-actualize in the process of completing the job."
"If your actions inspire others to dream, learn, do, and become more, you are a leader."

The above quote summarizes the leadership qualities of Honourable Aliyu Muktar Betara, a member representing Biu, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State in the Federal House of Representatives. A man of few but impeccable words—a distinguished parliamentarian whose contributions to advancing democracy in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Nigerian lawmakers
Ochonu said the legislative arm of government also needs to get it right with its choice of principal officers. Photo: House of Representatives
Source: Facebook

Honourable Betara means different things to different people. However, there is a meeting point for these divergent views. It is a fact that he is a dynamic individual whose passion and commitment to the advancement of democracy are unparalleled. This much has been evident in his leadership strides in the various committees he has led in the National Assembly. I recall that at a time, he was commended by the House leadership for his passion, dedication and leadership strides.

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I was, therefore, not surprised when he indicated an interest in leading the 10th Assembly as the Speaker. I sighed in relief, knowing what he would bring, especially the ability to provide purposeful leadership and galvanize all members towards the common good, regardless of party affiliations. This has been his trademark all along.

As the chairman of the House Committee of the Nigerian Army, Hon. Betara was passionate about improving the operational effectiveness of the Nigerian Army. He contributed to debates; he advocated for improved funding for the Nigerian Army and other sundry issues relevant to the Nigerian Army's success.

Honourable Betara stands on a tripod; experience, competence and character. He has been in the National Assembly since 2007, making him one of the few members to have served in Nigeria's sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth assemblies.

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He has led various house committees. Between 2007 and 2011, Betara was Chairman of the Sub-committee on NDIC, Banking and Currency. He also served as a member of the House Committee on Interior. He was appointed Chairman of the Sub-committee on Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office.

He was appointed Chairman House Committee on the Army at the seventh Assembly (2011 to 2015). From 2015 to 2019, Betara served as Chairman of the House Committee on Defence. He is the current House Committee on Appropriations Chairman, presiding over all other committees regarding the appropriation process in the House of Representatives. These indeed speak volumes of his experience with the intricacies of the House of Representatives.

If we admit, Nigeria deserves leaders that would hit the ground running to translate our hopes and aspirations into tangible realities. And if that is the case, it is a requirement that such leaders must have substantial experience in their kitty, for the challenges at hand requires that proactive measures are embraced in the bid to overcome the numerous challenges in the country.

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I am privileged to have interacted with Hon Betara several times. His depth and grasps of issues are impressive. He is always willing to engage you in the national discourse. He could pass for a historian and public analyst. He is ready to take you on Nigeria's political and leadership history without blinking. What this shows is that Hon Betera is one individual that understands the issues bedevilling the country and what ought to be done to take the country out of the doldrums.

This explains why I was excited when he indicated an interest in leading the 10th Assembly as Speaker. If he is elected as Speaker, Nigerians should expect a robust Federal House of Representatives where ideas on how to proffer solutions to the crisis in the country will take centre stage.

Hon Betara is a well-rounded parliamentarian who resonates brilliance and strength of character. His track record speaks volumes of a man who desires to bring about meaningful changes in the polity. This much he has demonstrated over the years in the National Assembly and getting elected as Speaker would bring to the fore the attributes needed to bring about purposeful leadership in the country.

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Remember that the legislative arm of government also needs to get it right with its choice of principal officers because they are meant to be partners in progress. The executive arm of the government can't do it all alone. This mistake has cost the country a lot over the years. When I hear of things like ethnic balancing or religious considerations for the leadership of the National Assembly, I always nod in disbelief because the consideration should be about competence and experience.

Competence and experience should be the watchword in choosing principal officers for the 10th Assembly. Honourable Aliyu Muktar Betara fits the bill to provide purposeful leadership in the Federal House of Representatives.

As a high-ranking legislator, who has been in the National Assembly for the past 16 years, he needs no further introduction. He has built bridges across party lines, and his sphere of influence extends beyond the Federal House of Representatives. He is primed and positioned to lead. Ladies and Gentlemen, enter the world of Honourable Aliyu Muktar Betera.

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