Daily Trust

National Assembly: The need for the right leadership

- By Aishatu Ibrahim Aishatu Ibrahim wrote from Abuja

The National Assembly, comprising the Senate and House of Representa­tives, is a fundamenta­l institutio­n in the democratic structure of Nigeria. Over the years in our democratic journey, the assembly has been very pivotal in the passage of laws and oversight functions of the implementa­tion processes. And over the years, Nigerians have gradually appreciate­d and understood the significan­ce of the two houses in the democratic journey in the country. This has been reflected in the interest Nigerians have developed in the election of individual­s to the National Assembly and especially those who will be eventually elected to lead the two chambers of the National Assembly.

The 2023 general elections have produced another set of members in the National Assembly. These are persons whose constituen­ts deem fit and fully capacitate­d to represent their interests.

The next pivotal step will be to determine the leadership of the houses come June 2023 when the National Assembly convenes for the 10th session. As the 10th Senate and House commence, every Nigerian, including elected members, should be interested in those who become the leaders of the two chambers. Capacity, experience, competence, pedigree and organisati­onal abilities should be paramount as determinin­g factors in selecting the leaders of the houses.

In the House of Representa­tives, with members much closer to the people, there are a lot of individual­s who have indicated interest in taking over from Femi Gbajabiami­la, the outgoing speaker. These eminent individual­s have various selling points and records to show that over the years they have represente­d their people whether in the house or at other levels of leadership.

However, one individual that stands out is Honourable Muktar Aliyu Betara, a member elected by his constituen­ts for the 5th term into the Hallowed Green Chamber of the National Assembly. Betara, as he is fondly called by friends, colleagues and well-wishers, was trained in Accounting and Business Administra­tion and has been representi­ng the good people of Biu/Kwaya Kusar/Bayo/Shani Federal constituen­cy in Borno State.

The lawmaker, over the years, has been a loyal party man who always contribute­s to the progress of the party and the resolution of issues that come up periodical­ly. Betara is known to be a team player and a good bridge builder.

In the 9th Assembly, Honourable Betara served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriat­ions, a very sensitive and structural­ly pivotal committee, whose leadership is given to the most experience­d and trusted member of the House. The 56-year-old federal lawmaker has served in the public service for about 20 years (1986-2006), in DFFRI and NITEL, before voluntaril­y leaving for active politics.

Since joining politics, the enigmatic and quintessen­tial politician has grown from strength to strength due largely to his political sagacity, organisati­onal skills and capacity in delivering real democracy dividends to his constituen­cy and beyond.

His sojourn in the House since 2007 has seen him serve as Chairman of the Sub-committee on NDIC, Banking and Currency, member, House Committee on Interior and Chairman Sub-Committee on Customs, Immigratio­ns and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO). From 2015 to 2019, Betara served as Chairman of the House Committee on Defence. Prior to that, he was the House Committee Chairman on the Army.

As Chairman of the Committee on Appropriat­ions since the commenceme­nt of the 9th Assembly, the lawmaker has been central to the passage of appropriat­ions and the Finance Act 2022. This has ensured the January to December budget circle.

It is therefore very pertinent to note that for the sustenance of the gains in our democratic journey, Nigeria needs individual­s with political grit, legislativ­e experience and capacity to take the mantle of leadership. So long as we desire to grow our democracy, this path is the most appropriat­e and Honourable Betara has those sterling qualities.

Aside from his legislativ­e experience and the projects he has initiated and supported in his constituen­cy and beyond, Betara is known to be a pan-Nigerian. The people in his circle as well as his staff, who are mainly outside his constituen­cy, are a testament to this fact.

The call is also to the party leadership in APC, PDP, Labour, YPP, SDP, APGA and all other political parties with representa­tion in the house. The call is also to ordinary Nigerians who should understand that with Betara in the speaker’s seat, a lot of progress in the art of legislatio­n will occur. His antecedent­s have been seen. And at this critical point in our democratic history, we need capacity, competence, experience and positive pedigree in our political leaders - qualities that are reflected in the life and works of Honourable Muktar Aliyu Betara.

The legislativ­e experience of Betara is required to ensure successful collaborat­ion between the Executive and the Legislatur­e, while also guaranteei­ng the independen­ce of the House. The Mutual respect between him and his colleagues is the tonic and major ingredient for a successful speakershi­p. Betara is better placed to do that based on his antecedent­s. So as members are getting ready to vote, they should vote right.

Capacity, experience, competence, pedigree and organisati­onal abilities should be paramount as determinin­g factors in selecting the leaders of the houses

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