By Leonard Owie
Every four years present Nigerians with the opportunity to elect new leaders to pilot the country’s affairs. However, citizens’ rights are finite. They are not involved in the choice of legislative heads. This is the exclusive right of their representatives.
As the 9th National Assembly winds down, a fresh set of leaders will soon emerge. Expectations are high. Unlike recent history, the emphasis is on competence and not zoning, experience not aura, capacity and integrity, not ethnicity or religion. Hon Muktar Aliyu Betara embodies these and more.
A section of Nigerian society believes that the existing legislative circle did not do much to guarantee the sanctity of Nigeria’s electoral value. According to these critical views, most of the laws passed by the 9th National Assembly were either self-serving or skewed to favour selected institutions at the expense of the electorates.
The failings of this assembly were reasons adduced to the prolonged economic woes of Nigeria, a situation most observers believe can be redressed by a new set of sophisticated leadership in the 10th national assembly, a leadership that must be an embodiment of legislative mastery.
Although, there are very few democracies across the globe where the legislative arm of government operates in tandem with the yarning of the electorates. Particularly, in sub-Saharan African countries, the legislature is seen as an appendage of the executive arm of government.
Operations of legislatures in sub-Sahara are usually tailored to suit the avaricious tendencies of the executive arm of government, and these compromises have in effect been a bane to meaningful infrastructural development in those African states. Of course, Nigeria is an example of a glowing democracy in Africa and this feat was achieved through the resilience and conscious patriotic zeal of a number of indigenous democratic proponents.
The somewhat conscious stability of Nigeria’s democratic experience is indeed a classical example to most West African states but there is an urgent need to entrench the glamour inherent in democratic governance; the legislature must appeal to the yarning of the populace, and this is the candid expectation of most Nigerians at this stage of our democratic experience.
To thrive and succeed in the league of progressive democracies across the world, the Nigerian legislative arm, particularly the House of Representatives must elect a Speaker whose pedigree strays beyond sectional proclivity. Issues relating to zoning must not be the yardstick for electing a speaker of the 10th national assembly rather capacity should be the basis for electing any member in the race for the Speakership.
Fundamentally, the Speaker of the 10th national assembly must be someone with a nationalistic disposition, someone whose experience in legislative business can be reckoned with. His impact on his immediate constituency and beyond must be taken into cognisance as a way of checking his appeal to the generality of Nigerians.
To forestall subsequent innocuous characterization of the National Assembly, steps must be taken to override external influence such as allowing a handful of the party leadership to select a speaker for the national assembly. Agreed, a number of members have shown interest in the Speakership of the 10th national assembly but the experience of RT Hon Muktar Aliyu Batera, a seasoned legislator and member representing Biu/Bayo/Shani and Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency of Borno State towers above all.
A consummate political leader with a versed understanding of legislative businesses, Muktar Aliyu Batera has been part of all processes leading to the emergence of successive speakers since 2007 when he arrived at the National Assembly to represent his people. Very humane and highly diplomatic, Hon Batera is one legislator who has impacted tremendously on the lives of his constituents.
For instance, more than three thousand (3000) students are on his scholarship within and outside the country. From his personal finances, he built and equipped twenty (20) healthcare centres and donated the same to the three local government areas that constitute his immediate constituency. With Betara as Speaker, Nigeria will be better.
Aside from providing jobs for nearly four thousand constituents, Hon Batera has made a significant impact in the area of poverty alleviation following the devastation cursed by the menace of Boko Haram insurgents in his constituency. He single-handedly built Islamic schools and mosques within his constituency.
Very passionate about the United Nigeria project many people outside his immediate constituency have benefited from his unquantifiable benevolence in the last couple of years. Born on November 22, 1966, Batera is an indigene of Wuyo in the Biu local government area.
He attended Biu central primary school where he obtained his first school leaving certificate. He proceeded to Biu Junior day secondary school and later Government Technical secondary school. He holds an ordinary national diploma OND and a higher national diploma HND from Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri in Borno State. Currently, he is the Chairman of, the House Committee on Appropriation.
Owie is a public affairs analyst based in Shomolu, Lagos.