If you have not been around the Nigeria basketball scene for a long time, you will be forced to take sides in the current situation where there are two factions of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) – Tijani Umar and Musa Kida factions. www.aclsports.com investigates
A former media representative on the NBBF board between 2001 and 2005, Pius Ayinor gives us an insight on how the drama in the federation started and how it produced two factions. Many basketball enthusiasts believe the fight has been all about Tijani Umar and Musa Kida, Ayinor believes it is between Tijani Umar and Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd).
A lot of questions need to be asked how does it involve the FIBA Africa Zone 3 president, Ahmedu? Did he ever contest?And what were his grievances? Aclsports caught up with Ayinor and he revealed this……..
It started in 1997, Col Sam Ahmedu was a popular figure, a major in the Nigeria Army who contested to be the Federation president. Many people saw him as a junior officer running against a deputy comptroller general of immigration, U.K Umar (now a traditional ruler in Sokoto). Col Sam had experience in basketball, organised clinics and programmes. He contested for zone 1 (Lagos) where he got elected having the backing of so many people but then (Sports)ministry had their own nominee – U.K Umar as he was going for second term.
Just before the election, they realised that Col Ahmedu was likely to win so in the last minute, there were omissions and he eventually lost by one or two votes. There is usually a coach representative that also votes and the coach that was going to vote for Col Ahmedu campaigned openly for all to see his choice but overnight they omitted his name.
Ayo Bakare led D’Tigers went for NationsCcup and were beaten by Senegal in the final but qualified for the world championship in Greece 1998, our first qualification. Though the crisis didn’t stop, some of them backed out to allow Umar’s tenure end, they tried to start up a league but the ministry and federation did not approve. These happened under Sanni Abacha’s regime with Jim Nwobodo the minister while Amos Adamu was the DG of the Sports Ministry.
In 2005, a time for Col Ahmedu to contest for the presidency of NBBF but he didn’t it was Buba Gyang who contested and went unopposed making a second return after his first tenure. Tijani Umar made it to the board with the help of Gyang after about two failed attempts while Col Ahmedu was still there.
As the Customs DG then, Gyang was able to manage everybody from different sections. We had sponsors for our league, VMobile was in charge and everything was working for our league in 2005. Mr Emeka Enyadike was our marketer, even another telecommunication company wanted to take over. Our male and female teams were doing well especially the female team, they dominated Africa at the All Africa Games, Nations cup, Club championship etc. And because of these achievements, he was returned unopposed to the board as the president.
In 2009, Buba retired and was also on his way out, TJ Umar had lots of people on his side like the former minister of sports and former NOC chairman, Sani Ndanusa. He was the favoured candidate as at that time. The ministry set up a task force and Umar was brought in as the NBBF president so he had no opposition that year.
Four years later, Col Ahmedu reinforced and went to the zones, he almost got all the zones to his side but he didn’t indicate interest to contest. He was able to get the required numbers so Musa Kida could contest but when they got to the hall, a lot had changed I’ll tell you why.
A year earlier, a sports minister was appointed – Bolaji Abdullahi – three months to the 2012 Olympics. We finished third at the Afrobasket and got the chance to play at the Olympics. We played qualifiers and didn’t look like we were going to qualify because we were drawn against top ten ranked teams fortunately we beat them and qualified. That achievement won the heart of the minister and somehow the ministry wanted Umar back on the board. Col Ahmedu and his team had one vote ahead of Umar and were sure of themselves when they got to the hall.
When they got there, the police man that should have voted for them had his name omitted and he was transferred to another federation. He rejected it that he was a former basketball player and the chairman of the police teams. Ahmedu’s name also disappeared stating a protest against him by Musa Kale so, removing two people gave the TJ Umar camp two votes ahead of his candidate. Col Ahmedu, Kida, Osita etc all walked out because they were sure of not getting it done with the names of their men removed from contest. This led Col Ahmedu taking the matter to court something the governing body frowns at.
Col Ahmedu later went ahead for the FIBA Africa zone 3 elections and he looked likely to win it. So the Umar faction brought Mukhtar Kale forward to contest against him. They did the first round of election and tied but before the second round, Col was able to convince one person from the Umar’s camp and he had one vote advantage. To avoid embarrassment, they told Kale to withdraw. Col Ahmedu later withdrew the court case but the other people in his camp continued which you can’t blame him because he has no control over adults. Ever since he was made the President of FIBA Africa zone 3, Nigeria has avoided competitions that involves zone 3 because the Colonel is the one in charge.
Four years later, time for another election and the Col Ahmedu camp believed it was time to get into the board after failed attempts, especially when TJ Umar had done two tenures already. It didn’t look like Umar was ready to step aside, he was not tired of being in power.
So here comes the strategy. Col Ahmedu and his team deemed it fit to mingle with the sports ministry believing it’s the sure way of getting themselves into the federation and here comes the drama of the election. They believed if they go on to win the zonal elections, the ministry could still do something magical overnight and their dreams to produce the federation president will be dashed. So they made friends with the ministry since Umar used the ministry against them years back.
When Umar realised this, his camp had to act fast and that resulted in the constitution review and the two elections that took place on June 12 in Kano and 13 in Abuja.
To be continued………
Find out the motive behind the constitution review, how the two elections came down and how that forced the statement released by FIBA.