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Betara Trudges on with House Speakership Ambition

Betara Trudges on with House Speakership Ambition

Udora Orizu writes that the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, is forging ahead with his speakership ambition despite zoning arrangement of the All Progressive Congress’ national leadership to the contrary.

Despite the edging out of North-East from the National Assembly leadership positions, a member of the House of Representatives representing Biu/Bayo/Shani and Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency of Borno State, Hon. Muktar Betara is continuing his campaign and lobbying of stakeholders towards realising his ambition of becoming the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.

Betara who’s the incumbent Chairman of House Committee on Appropriations, made his foray into politics when he contested for the House of Representatives seat on the platform of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and got elected as the member representing the interests of Biu, Kwaya Kusar, Bayo and Shani Federal Constituency in 2007.

Since then, he has been re-elected, emerging as one of the few members to have served in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth assemblies in Nigeria, with the current and immediate past tenures secured on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He’s no doubt, one of the few very hardworking lawmakers who has made valuable contributions to the green chamber right from the 6th Assembly to the current 9th Assembly where he headed key House Committees such as Army (7th Assembly), Defence (8th Assembly) and Appropriations (9th Assembly).

The lawmaker conceived his Speakership ambition in 2019, but on compassionate grounds, he stepped aside and fully supported Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to emerge as Speaker.

In 2023, four years after stepping aside for incumbent Speaker, Gbajabiamila, he decided to contest for Speakership again, optimistically expecting the support of the incumbent and the National leadership of the party.

However, he was disappointed as the ruling party picked someone else as their consensus candidate.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership had last week endorsed Hon. Tajudeen Abass from Kaduna State (Northwest) as its consensus candidate for the speakership position.

The endorsement has been trailed with protest, with seven aspirants including Betara known as the G-7 (Hon. Idris Wase, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Yusuf Gagdi, Sada Soli, Aminu Jaji and Mariam Onuoha) faulting the party’s decision.

Betara and incumbent Deputy Speaker, Wase had expressed disappointment in APC’s choice describing Abass as unpopular as against the leading aspirants.

According to Betara, Gbajabiamila despite being a friend nominated Abass outside of ranking lawmakers like himself, Wase, Doguwa, Gagdi and other leading aspirants.

His words, “The deputy speaker we came in together, we have been close and I think I am the best friend to the deputy speaker when we came in the 6th Assembly. We have been in one family, we are together but you see in politics sometimes he will on the other side and I will be on the other side. But today we are together for this movement. When I invited him, he joined me today for my declaration here he honoured it and my DS (Deputy Speaker), I am very grateful for the honour you gave me today.

“For my brother Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, I remember when Hon. Gudaji went for his declaration, he said Betara is one man that doesn’t say no and why I cannot say no to my colleagues is sometimes when your colleague comes to you, he needs your assistance, if I can not provide all, at least I can do small. That is the main reason I cannot say no. As the engine room of the legislature, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila gave me a name, he calls me the Head boy. I was surprised for my friend, my boss to nominate one person outside all of us here. If today the deputy speaker of the House is contesting, the Chairman Appropriation is contesting, the majority leader is contesting, then who is closer to the Speaker? So nobody. He is bringing one person that members of the 9th Assembly I can tell you some of us even don’t even know the person – a lot of us.”

Moving Ahead

Following the announcement of the consensus candidate, the G-7 aspirants had stormed the APC headquarters to register their disappointment and to make it known that they won’t tag along with the party’s choice.

Reiterating their stance, Betara, speaking in Abuja, at the formal declaration of the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, for the speakership seat, said the group of seven candidates for the speakership of the 10th assembly will work together for one of them to emerge as the leader of the House in the next dispensation.

He said: “A consensus candidate can be picked, but it will be by all of us sitting down. I assure everyone that there is not going to be any issue. I assure all of you that we are going to agree to support one of us as Speaker. For us, we formed this group because we are opposed to the zoning arrangement of the party, We are not fighting and we would not fight. We are in support of a consensus candidate.

“We can pick the candidate from among ourselves but we will all sit down and decide on it. I assure all of you it is only one person that God would choose to be Speaker. We are not going to have any issue. We are going to agree to support one of us as Speaker.”

As Nigerians await their official announcement on who the chosen one will be, it appears that Betara will emerge as the G-7 consensus candidate given his popularity and the love his colleagues have for him.

Aside his colleagues, Betara even before his official declaration had gotten the endorsement of major stakeholders. He has the backing and blessings of new members elect, ex-lawmakers, ruling and minority parties chieftains and so on.

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