Ten months after the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) elections in Benin, which returned Musa Kida as president of the Federation, the Federal Government, yesterday inaugurated the Federation’s board.
Yesterday’s inauguration finally puts an end to the dispute over the authentic leadership of the body.
The Guardian recalls that Kida was re-elected as NBBF president for another four years in an election witnessed by international observers, including representatives of the world basketball ruling body, FIBA.
Kida’s victory was, however, challenged by another group, led by Igoche Mark, who claimed to have been elected as NBBF president in another election held on the same January 30 in Abuja. This led to a crisis that eventually stalled the government’s recognition of any faction as the authentic governing body for the sport.
The fall-out of the impasse was the withdrawal of Nigerian teams from international competitions, leading to FIBA replacing the women’s national team, D’Tigress, which had already qualified for the 2022 World Cup, with Mali’s women’s team.
However, the Federal Government recently announced that it has recognised Kida’s board as the authentic governing body for the sport in Nigeria, promising to inaugurate the board in due course.
Speaking while inaugurating the board at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, described the event as significant for the growth of basketball in Nigeria and a forward leap in the mandate of the Ministry in superintending and supporting federations for the development of Sports. He challenged the new board to embrace reconciliation and a review of its constitution to ensure inclusiveness.
He said: “For the records, this is the only board recognised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Let that message go out clearly. To the President, the Vice-President and other members of the new board of the NBBF, the task of developing basketball is now under your watch, it now lies squarely on your shoulders.
“Our job at the Ministry is done. We expect you to deliver for our country, for our athletes and for basketball development.
We believe that teamwork, understanding and cooperation are prerequisites for achieving the board’s goals and objectives.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, having noted the situation around the basketball Federation has approved the elective Congress of January 21st, 2022 and its outcome, and that is why we are here today.”
Responding on behalf of the NBBF board, Kida expressed gratitude to the Minister for resolving the crisis that plagued the Federation for over five years by recognising the outcome of the elective congress.
He revealed that to put the past aside and work together with all stakeholders, a reconciliation committee has been put in place to unite the Federation for the task of repositioning basketball in the country, while the process for the review of its statutes and constitution has begun.
In the NBBF new board are Kida (president), Babatunde Ogunade (vice president), Abba Kaka, Professor Yakassai, Professor Adeyanju, Adamu Deshi, Ugo Udezue, Okoro Victor, Olumide Oyedeji, Suraju Yusuf, Felix Awogu and Colonel Sam Ahmedu (retired), with Njoku Peter as secretary general.