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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Basketball stakeholders knock Sports Minister over legitimacy of Kida-led NBBF board

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By Victor Okoye

The “New Face of Basketball”, a group of basketball stakeholders, on Thursday expressed concern about the “subtle imposition” of Musa Kida as President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).

The group told newsmen in Abuja that Kida has been imposed by Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, on Nigerian basketball, warning that the development “will do the sport no good”.

The group, represented by four members, added that the Minister’s action was illogical, irrational, unreasonable and a miscarriage of justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian basketball family, which had since 2017 been sharply divided, slid further into a state of disarray on Jan. 31.

This was when Igoche Mark, a former player, emerged the winner of a parallel board election in Abuja, just as Kida was returned winner of the other one in Benin.

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development had issued a directive that the NBBF election should hold in Abuja just like the other sports federations did in 2021.

But this was immediately countered by the Kida faction, which went on to hold another election.

However, the Minister has gone on to pick Kida as the NBBF President after publicly acknowledging that two elections took place and would be disregarded.

Scambo Morrison, Chairman of Kaduna State Basketball Association, said his group had maintained silence on the development for the sake of a peaceful resolution.

He said his group was awaiting the amendment of the controversial NBBF Constitution as promised by the Minister.

“It is not news that the Minister of Youth and Sports Development indeed acknowledged that there were two elections.

“But our big surprise till today is that the minister and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development never came out to talk to us about their findings on those two elections.

“As good citizens of this country, we have remained very quiet, calm and disciplined, waiting to hear the outcome of the committee set up to look into those elections.

“But, till this day, nobody has called this particular faction to say anything to them concerning the elections.

“Instead, we now found out that there are a couple of people parading themselves as the ‘custodians of basketball’ in Nigeria,” the former national player said.

Morrison however added that his group had other options at their disposal in making their feelings known should the Minister failed to retrace his steps and do the right thing.

”We want the minister to know that we have options, if he fails to do the right thing,” he said, insisting his group only needed clarification on how Kida has now emerged the new NBBF president.

Kingsley Aigbonoga, the Director of Media, Mark ‘D’ Ball Basketball Championships, acknowledged that the Kida-led board had purportedly initiated reconciliation.

But he said his group decided not to honour the invitation of the reconciliation committee because the process lacked merit.

“Our attention was drawn to a supposed reconciliation committee, whose moves failed the test of ethics and philosophy of genuine reconciliation.

“We acknowledge that Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is appropriate at any stage of conflict. But this can only be done ethically by a neutral third party presiding over the dispute resolution.

“With due respect to the minister, we won’t subject ourselves to individuals whose tactics are to manipulate members of the public through mind coercion and thought-disruptive propaganda.

“The reconciliation committee in the first place lacks merit, sincerity of purpose by its constitution and the steps taken so far, and they are therefore unnecessary, and as such totally unacceptable to us.

“The fact that you decided to inaugurate a faction before the call for reconciliation betrays your desire to truly resolve the crisis, or a call for genuine reconciliation,” he said.

From L-R: Kingsley Aigbonoga, Director of Media, Mark 'D' Ball, Obande Ogbole, Scambo Morrison, Chairman of Kaduna State Basketball Association
From L-R: Kingsley Aigbonoga, Director of Media, Mark ‘D’ Ball, Obande Ogbole, Scambo Morrison, Chairman of Kaduna State Basketball Association

Also, Obande Ogbole, a basketball stakeholder, faulted the NBBF Constitution, describing it as a one-man affair.

He also said that the previously-held elections be cancelled and declared null and void so as to allow for fresh and more credible elections into the NBBF board.

“We totally reject the election that took place in Benin, even though we heard that it has been endorsed by the minister.

“Let it be known to Nigerians that we don’t see it as a legitimate election and for that reason, we call for fair and credible elections to be conducted for the NBBF.

“Secondly, and more important, we want the basketball constitution to be looked into properly. This constitution is what has divided the Nigerian basketball family.

“This piece of document that was constructed, written, presented, endorsed, checked and emailed by one man is just an individual’s property and Kida is the custodian of that constitution.

“He had it at his disposal and chose to release it when he deemed it fit to do so.

“So, we reject that constitution. We reject it in its entirety and refuse to accept it as our constitution.

“In summary, all we want is fair elections and the amendment of the NBBF constitution,” Ogbole added. (NAN)(

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