Muktar Betara, has represented Bayo, Biu, Shani and Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives since 2007. Instead of waning, his influence has continued to grow among his people.
By Yusuf Ibrahim
For most people of his constituency, the achievement of a legislator is not judged by how well he contributes to debate on the floor of the house, but rather how he has impacted the life of the people especially in the area of poverty alleviation. Assist the people by putting meals on their tables and you have a way to their hearts and votes at the elections.
Many Nigerian politicians especially lawmakers have lost out of the power game not because they were never high performers in the National or state Assemblies, but because they have lost connection with the masses in their constituency who needed shoulders to rest on. But find a way to meet the needs of the people in your constituency and they will continue to re-elect you.
This is the “wisdom” which Muktar Betara Aliyu, representing Bayo, Biu, Shani and Kwaya Kusar in the House of Representatives, has imbided, and it is responsible for his long sojourn at the National Assembly since he was first elected in 2007. In fact his popularity has continued to grow and at a point in time the people were routing for him to become the deputy governor, a position which he rejected because of his love for the National Assembly.
Since Betara was elected he has fought poverty in his constituency with numerous poverty alleviation schemes. His guiding principle is to see many in his constituency happy as he put it: “I have been in this thing (giving assistance to the people in my constituency) for years, I am a business man. My business is doing well; I am not one of those who believe it is what you make in politics that you bring home, even before I joined politics I have been supporting my people. Politics just created the platform to support much more people, and my personal resources go into some of these supports, the joy and my personal accomplishment is to see smiles on the faces of these people. I am always happy when I give and some of them show their appreciation with smiles or cry of joy; I am happier when I see that with my moderate contribution they can feed themselves and members of their family.”
On some of the things he had done for the people, he said:”Normally this is not my first time, it is a normal thing, even in the last three months I was in my constituency, I gave them 500 deep freezers, 500 generators, 500 sewing machines. I have 42 wards in the constituency within the four local governments, I was able to pick 100 people from each wards, numbering 4200 people, I was able to give them alleviation of N10,000 each for them to start small business within their domain.
“When it comes to employment, I have assisted in employing our youths in government offices including federal agencies, I have assisted in the employment of more than 100 people. When it comes to military recruitment, I cannot mention the number in all the local governments under my constituency; equally in the military I have influenced the recruitment of some officers, apart from my constituency I have assisted people from other states.”
Speaking on what he has done for his people in the major areas he has assisted, Betara said: “In the health sector, I was able to build twelve primary health centres within my constituency and they are fully equipped, I was able to give ambulances to the four general hospitals in my constituency and I equally gave two ambulances now to two of the primary health centres and I gave one ambulance to one of the villages within my constituency at their request last year, you have seen the medical equipments that I was able to bring to all primary health care centres within my constituency, including the general hospitals in Biu, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar and Shani worth millions of Naira.
“When it comes to intervention in education, you have seen my personal contribution, I took out my personal money not part of my constituency project to build schools, I have built a lot of schools that I cannot count right away; actually built some blocks from ground and there are some others that I only renovated.
“When I saw the primary school that I attended, that is Biu Central Primary School on social media, I was surprised, they did not have single classroom. I have to come in myself, this is my personal project where I put in N23 million to renovate the school for our kids to attend school the way we attended school years back, because when I saw the school I was not happy at all; also the Barki Primary School in Biu where I built 14 classrooms, I put in N25 million to do this.
“When you come to Kwaya Kusar, you will see the intervention I was able to bring from the federal project, classrooms I was able to assist in building in Kwaya Kusar and Shani, I have to come in to assist my people in order for them to get knowledge from these schools.
On provision of water, he has drilled motorized boreholes in the 42 wards within his constituency. He also provided wash boreholes and the solar powered boreholes and hand-pumps for his people all within the time he has been elected.
“For poverty alleviation, I cannot count all, I have given out cars to people in my constituency to start commercial transportation, since I was first elected I have given out more than 500 vehicles, when motorcycles are still allowed for commercial transportation I gave out over a thousand motorcycles. I have equally given out countless tricycles for commercial transportation, in the last Assembly alone I was able to give over 100 tricycles.”
His contributions are seen and appreciated by the people of his constituency, who idolize him and are ready to always show their appreciation.
One of them, Hamisu Inuwa, said: “Hon. Betara’s contributions for betterment of our people is far beyond any other politician, in fact we do not see him any more as a politician but rather as a brother, as no any other politician has contributed more than him in Borno state. He dug hundreds of boreholes, built classrooms, donated cars, gave out skills acquisition and hospital equipments. We are proud of him, he has never failed us that was why we came out in our thousands to show our solidarity and support for him.
“Over time he has given over one thousand motorbikes, cars and tricyles to the people to be self reliance. The donation impacted positively on our lives, the water scarcity became a thing of the past and that I no longer hire water pump machine for my irrigation activities, which has boosted the agricultural yield. Before getting the water pump machines, I dont produce more than 10 bags of crops, but on getting it, I now produce 30 bags.”
Sale Iro, another resident said: “Hon. Betara’s gesture and development for our people is beyond description. He sponsored education of our children, got them employment at the federal level. For instance he got jobs in the Nigerian Police Force for over 30 youths, 15 in the armed forces, six others he got employed into some federal government agencies. I benefitted a lot from the lawmaker’s gesture for I got a tricyle, which assisted me to boost my earnings. This has increased my capital and boosted my agricultural yields. Initially, I was producing only 10 bags of rice but now I produces 50 bags.”
And for Mairo Adamu who spoke on behalf of the women of the constituency, she has this to say: “He (Hon. Betara) has improved our lives through series of human development policies and poverty alleviation intervention. He improved the lives of women through distribution of skills acquisition materials. In fact he was the first to initiate women empowerment scheme, he gave us capital of between N30,000 to 50,000, this he gave to over 1,000 women to start businesses. Skill acquisition materials such as sewing machines, sphagetti-making machines, among others, he had donated to women. His intervention has really changed the lives of women for better in this area.”
For the people of his constituency, a politician who cannot help his people and alleviate their poverty has no business in politics. This explains why they keep re-electing him. His political philosophy, as he stated, tallies with the expectations of his people. He said: “If I cannot assist my people, why I mine in politics?”