Aliyu Muktar Betara Touching the Lives of His People - No1 News Directory

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Aliyu Muktar Betara Touching the Lives of His People

Ibrahim Ahmad

Considering the level of devastation insurgency has brought to the North East, especially Borno State, there is no doubt that it would take decades of rehabilitation for the region to return to its former self. The war, over the years, has brought untold pain, anguish and starvation to families in the region. But there are many people in leadership positions working to reduce poverty in Borno State. One of them is Honourable Aliyu Muktar Betara, the Biu-born lawmaker, who currently represents Biu, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Shani Federal Constituency of the state.

Though he is hardly in the news as a member of the National Assembly, yet his contributions are the most impactful on the people in the state. He does not and has never craved publicity like an average politician in Nigeria. Betara wants to go unnoticed, doing his work and affecting lives.

He has been representing his constituency for the past 14 years and still counting. Despite his popularity in his constituency, the state, and among his colleagues at the National Assembly, Betara isn't on the pages of Nigerian newspapers or his face shown on the screens of television programmes and shows.

Interestingly, Betara, at the outset, was never interested in politics but for the insistence and push from beneficiaries of his benevolence.

They believed that given his philanthropic activities as a private citizen, if given the support, he would represent them well at the centre. That was how Betara became a politician and ended up at the National Assembly. Since then, the people of Biu, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Shani have never regretted having him as their representative.Recently, a stranger approached Betara in one of his numerous visits to his constituency, who made case for a friend, whose wife had a kidney-related disease and who desperately needed a transplant.

The transplant was to be carried out in India. Betara asked for the particulars of the said lady. A month later, the lady, Hajia Fatima, and her husband travelled to India for treatment, all expense paid by Betara. There are numerous such medical interventions, both within the country and outside our shores, which Betara has had to undertake regularly.

There was also a case of Mallam Alkali Abubakar, a peasant farmer in Biu with five children. His daughter, Sadaatu, 19, wanted to study medicine. Abubakar, unfortunately, could not afford the expenses required of the course. He sought the assistance of the state scholarship board, which unfortunately had exhausted the entries for that session. Betara got wind of it, called Abubakar and took over the payment of fees. She is presently studying medicine at Ahmadu Bello University, at the expense of Betara.

Another beneficiary of his kindness was Ali Bukar, 36, who presently works with one of the banks in Maiduguri. He graduated in 2013. He met Betara by happenstance. He explained his joblessness even after graduating. He sent his particulars to him as requested. Two and half months later, he was employed as a cashier.

Over 8,000 grinding machines and more than 15,000 sewing machines have been distributed to empower his constituent. More than 10 fully equipped ambulances have been donated to the three local government areas that make up his constituency and the state government.

He built and donated more than 20 well-equipped health care centres. He donated more than 600 solar-powered street lights to the three local government areas. He facilitated the construction of major roads network in Biu and another three linking villages within the constituency. He built a mini stadium in Shani District. He upgraded Biu Emirate to a modern palace, built Islamic schools, and renovated mosques in Biu.

He has so far provided scholarship for over 3,000 students, within and outside the country. Betara built skill acquisition centres in each of the three local government areas. The centres have since graduated over 500 apprentices who have also become employers of labour, thereby generating wealth and adding value to the society.

At a point, he was donating a trailer load of motorcycles to his constituency every quarter. He stopped when it was banned as a means of transportation because of the insurgency.

He promptly replaced it with tricycles, and would distribute more than 500 units soon.

Through him, over 3,000 job opportunities have been given, not only within his constituency, but also to people of Borno State extraction.

Given all the aforementioned, you would think his name and picture should be everywhere in the media, but Betara would rather remain in the shadow, doing what he knows best- solving problems, including helping the needy.Born on November 22nd, 1966, Betara is an indigene of Wuyo in Biu Township.

He attended Biu Central Primary School, Borno State, obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. He then proceeded to Biu Central Junior Day Secondary School, Biu, and Government Technical Secondary School.

Before he rounded off his secondary education, Betara knew what he wanted. He wanted to go into business. He wanted to be a successful businessman. It is no surprise that he read Business Administration, both for his Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and Higher National Diploma (HND), all from Ramat Polytechnic, Borno State.

Indeed, he became what he dreamt about a successful businessman. Success, they say, comes with its responsibilities. Betara's kind-heartedness would not allow him to see people in need and look the other way.

That is one weakness that Betara cannot control.

This non-assuming posture of his, perhaps, is what endeared him to his colleagues at the National Assembly. He played major role in the emergence of Patricia Etteh as Speaker and others up to the incumbent. Betara's hands, among other hands, were the unseen hands to the ascension of Patricia Etteh, Dimeji Bankole, Aminu Tambuwal, Yakubu Dogara, and Gbajabiamila as Speakers. Betara may not be the speaker, but his influence in the hallowed green chambers is glaring. His popularity is bipartisan. No wonder he is called the head boy. In appreciation of his support during the campaign, Gbajabiamila made him Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee.

His relationship with former speaker Dogara was so cordial, they became bosom friends. He made him chairman of, House Committee on Defence. Bankole, another bosom friend of his, made him chairman House Committee on Army, the same position he occupied while Etteh held sway as Speaker.

Betara is young, yet powerful, simple but generous, in words and resources. He is one of the front runners of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the National Assembly, yet, he is the least recognised and talked about in the media.

Despite his elevated position, he didn't distance himself from his childhood friends; rather, he drew them closer and even empowered them. Honourable lliyasu Muhammed (Dan Maliki) Betara's friend of 30 years isn't surprised at the turn of events for him, particularly his disposition to life.

"He has always been the easy-going but the shy type. He is the type that can give the last, just to put smiles on your face. There are so many things he does that an average politician would not do. For example, if you meet Betara today, he would accede to your request. If you meet him the following week, make another request, once it is within his power, you would get it right away. Nigerian politicians would evade you or even send you out.

"Betara will never look down on you, never. It is not showmanship. That is his nature. He has always been like this even before he ventured into politics. He prefers to do things without notifying people. He doesn't like creating attention, especially when it comes to the needy. That is why you hardly see him or read about him in the media.

"He prefers doing whatever he does for Nigeria, Borno, particularly his Biu people without attracting attention," said Dan Maliki.

Another friend of Betara's, Zaki Mustapha, a childhood friend of 26 years thinks if the state and country can have a young leader like Betara, not only would there be rapid development but everywhere would be peaceful." He has not changed in terms of character between then and now. He is still his old self. You would think that he would separate himself from his old friends; rather, he is the one looking for his friends. He sought me out. It's very few people in positions of authority who would do that. Some of them would delete every known contact of you from them. Betara loves giving. He has been like that for 26 years I have known him.

"If Betara says he is not giving you something, know that it is because he doesn't have it. There is absolutely nothing he can't give out. He empathises with people a lot. On any given day, his house here in Abuja, the human traffic there is like a naming ceremony. And it is an everyday occurrence. It will be difficult for Betara to turn you back."

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