Hon. Muktar Betara, represents Bayo, Biu, Shani and Kwaya Kusar Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. In this interview with journalists, including our Borno correspondent, Olukayode Michael, he said he is in politics to bring smiles on the faces of his people. Excerpts:
Can you say a little about yourself?
My name is Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu, I represent the people of Bayo, Biu, Kwaya Kusar, Shani from Borno State in the House of Representatives.
What are some of your interventions to the people you are representing on the floor of the House of Representatives?
I just paid a normal visit into my constituency, we have moved round with you people, you have seen the projects I have executed for my people.
When it comes to the health sector, you have seen my contribution, the construction of the primary health centres and the hospital equipments, which I have brought to the constituency, the four local governments. I was able to build primary health care centres in Shani local government, in Kwaya Kusar, in Bayo, in Biu, in all the four local government areas under in constituency. And I gave them hospital beds, numbering 600, with hospital equipments, maternity beds, mattresses and other equipments that I cannot even mention. And I deed that because when you go round Borno State, you see most medical facilities in the state need to be upgraded. So I decided to take it upon myself to provide these things in my constituency so that the people of the area will benefit good medical attention.
We equally saw your intervention in poverty alleviation and empowerment, it was unbelievable actually, definitely something must have pushed you to do this, what was it?
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.
What are the feedbacks you are getting from this?
You have seen it yourself, they are very happy. If you look at the situation now, the recession the country is today, we need to assist our people. As a legislator, these are not things you get from the National Assembly, but the generators, the sewing machines, the deep freezers are part of my intervention of constituency project given to me by the government. But the money I share to my constituency is part of my contribution to my people.
Many are in politics to make money but with these things you are doing, how are you going to make both ends to meet?
I have been in this thing for years, I am a business man. My business is doing well; I am not one of those who believe it is want 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 goes 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.
We have equally seen you building some schools, what is the motivating factor?
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; these are schools from my home town, the Barki Primary School in Biu where I built 14 classrooms, I put in N25 million to do this. If I cannot assist my people, why I mine in politics? I am not in politics to make money, I am in politics to assist my people and I can do more based on their request and needs, any request they make I will try to do. 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.
But sir, every lawmaker cannot continue to do this, what must be done to provide the legal framework?
As I told you I am a business man, and I believe my resources should be brought in to assist my people, but what was given to me as constituency intervention you have seen here, I brought them to the people and it is written there, my personal projects are written in my name, these are my personal assistance to my constituency.
When it comes to constituency projects, every lawmaker has a decision, some are into building schools, hospitals, poverty alleviation programmes, some are into roads. You decide the projects you want when it comes to constituency projects, nobody decide for you, you look at what your people wants and you write it to those agencies who will send contractors to build those things for you.
What are the other things you have done for your people?
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.
Sir, we need to know your comprehensive interventions in your constituency
For 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 I built some blocks from ground and there are some others that I only renovated.
In the provision of water, I drilled boreholes in the 42 wards within my constituency; these are motorized boreholes, we have also have the wash boreholes and the solar powered boreholes and hand-pumps all within my constituency within the time I have 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 cannot count the numbers, I know 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. All these are for commercial purpose and not for a luxury ride.
Monetary assistance to my people is a regular thing which I cannot count, I just cannot remember all, I have given a lot money for businesses.
In the near future sir, what are your vision and mission to your people?
My vision and mission to my people is one, I still want to contribute more into the education of my people, when we went on this tour I announced that I will be given scholarships to our students within Borno, that is those that are in the University of Maiduguri, Ramat Polytechnic, Sir Kashim Ibrahim College of Education, the College of Education in Biu, and one or two other higher institutions within the state. I want to give scholarship to 2,500 students of Biu, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar and Shani, I want to give them N10,000 each yearly to support their education.
Finally sir, there is insurgency in Borno State, do you think with these your interventions, the pains of insurgency would have been reduced?
If you look at Borno State today, the threat of insurgency is minimal or perhaps not existence in my constituency, it is just that the military decides to give me escort here, there is no threat, sometimes I tell the military escort to go aside for I am with my people. We do not have insurgency problem in all parts of Borno, there is peace in our area. We do not have issues, in the last four years the only part that was affected, are the small sentiments along Damboa road, but within Biu, Kwaya Kusar, Bayo and Shani, we have not experienced any problem with insurgency. We are able to tackle it as stakeholders.