By James Bwala
For decades, the road between Biu, Shaffa and Garkida linking Borno state and Adamawa states in northeast Nigeria had been a nightmare for commuters. Successive representatives of the Hawul, Askira Federal constituency could not in any way make a move to establish facts that they are representing the most intellectual people in Borno state. Instead the road has remained like a nomad route and trending nomadic activities between Borno and Adamawa states.
I came across a piece of writing, which the writer asked? Where is our Dr. Haruna Mshelia? It is sad that unfortunately, the people of Hawul, Askira/Uba federal constituency have not been having a good representation. It is also shameful that the region which has the most intellectuals in Borno state could be producing derailed representation since the return of democracy in Nigeria in May, 1999. It is also pathetic that each of these representatives who only served four (4) years for the better part and being replaced could not have their names in the annals of history for good works for the people of Hawul, Askira/Uba federal constituency. Now it is shameful that the road linking Borno and Adamawa passes through Shaffa village where the current occupant of the constituency held from.
Between 1999 and 2003, a Major in the Nigerian (rtd) Stanley Dika Nggada occupied the Hawul, Askira/Uba federal constituency in the green chamber and the people described his tenure as a disappointment. 2003 and 2007, A Pharmacist, Ishaku Joshua What’s came as replacement for Nggada. His performance was no different but he was asked to continue in the hope that he may change. In 2007 and 2011 there was a slight improvement and the people felt he would do better with greater responsibility, therefore, they pushed him to the red chamber and he ended up a disappointment. Between 2011 and 2015, the people tried a secondary school leaver believing he will listen to the people but the situation was no different. They brought in a Pharmacist again for trial between 2019 and 2019, the Hawul, Askira/Uba sickness was not getting better. Again he was a disappointment and a referral was made in 2019 where a Medical Doctor was brought in…2019 to date, he could not figure out any medication for Hawul, Askira/Uba and the people are already calling for his replacement. He too was a disappointment to his constituency.
Let me not sidetrack further as his issues will come in the days ahead. I salute the man they called “The Head Boy”. Indeed, Hon. Muktari Aliyu Betara has demonstrated that he is a leader. No wonder the representatives from Borno state called him their “Head Boy”. After several years, I met him in Abuja recently and Hon. Muktari Betara remained the same as I knew him many years ago. The same smile and more followers, which means he has maintained a relationship with the people.
The last time I drove through the rocky road between Biu to Garkida in a small commercial ‘Toyota Starlet’, I was listening to the response of co-travelers and passengers at every swaggering move the vehicle made. Not to impress the villagers by the roadside or impress the darling road with quaking stones hitting back underneath the roaring of our engine. At each jumping, a curse followed. At some point it was hissing and sometimes it was a painful laughter. There was never a point where my co-travelers heave for relief. I was quiet all through the journey wondering why the road has not been attended to by all the names mentioned by these sufferers being punished for electing representatives that have no love for their constituency.
I knew for me, I would have to take Paracetamol at the end of the journey when I arrived at my destination. For my co-travelers I guess they are already used to the excruciating pains and are likely not to fall sick because they have to ply the road by morning and by night. Perhaps the roughness of the road keeps reminding them of the way to heaven as being sung by women’s fellowship on a Sunday service in Church to remind the devil that no matter the roughness of the road they are billed to go and trust in Jesus for safety throughout the journey.
The commentary, which informed this piece, reads: “Sigh of Relief for commuters of Biu-Garkida Road as Rt. Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu through FERMA, Federal Min. of Works and Housing Rehabilitate Biu to Garkida Highway.
“Rt. Hon. Muktar Betara Aliyu has gone beyond his constituency’s duty call as he intervenes in the rehabilitation of dilapidated Biu-Garkida Road. The generous and magnanimous federal lawmaker sponsors the rehabilitation project through FERMA in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This infrastructure is of strategic importance considering the number of commuters and businesses that ply the road daily.”
End of quote. But it left a doubling check as my heart pumps blood through my veins and left me wondering again why it has to come to this? While the people of Hawul and Askira/Uba local government areas of Borno state would eternally remain grateful to Betara Aliyu, I do not know what they would be saying of the Man, who is currently representing them at the green chamber. Sometimes, I asked?…Is Hawul and Askira/Uba politically cursed!
- Bwala, a journalist wrote in from Abuja