The Nigeria Basketball Federation has called for calm ahead of the November 30 deadline given by the Federation of International Basketball Associations, FIBA to the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, to find an amicable solution to the NBBF leadership impasse.
At a media briefing held on Wednesday at the secretariat of Lagos SWAN, the Vice President of the NBBF, Babs Ogunade gave an assurance that the decision of the apex body will only establish a solid frame work for future elections in Nigeria.
Ogunade said that the board had compromised several times just for the sake of basketball and its growth but the outgone board had been so adamant despite attempts by the NBBF President, Engineer Musa Kida to open up communication.
“We had to sign an undertaken before the Federal Government could allow them use the Indoor Sports hall in Lagos for the conclusion of the Zenith Women’s final 6 and the concluding part of the premier league for women.
“When we went to Cotonou for the FIBA Africa 3×3 zonal qualifiers, another team was sent by the Kano group. When it was our turn to play, the Kano team received a call to also come on court despite not registering for the competition. The intention was to cause confusion and create an impression that there was a crisis, but out of maturity, we had to step down our teams in other not to embarrass the country.
“When we went to Madagascar for the draws for the African champions cup, the Kano group also sent representatives to come and represent Nigeria, but FIBA in their wisdom related with us.”
Also speaking at the event, the international representative on the NBBF board, Col. Samuel Ahmedu (rtd) denied claims that FIBA did not recognize their election. “According to the letter sent to the different groups and the NOC, FIBA categorically stated that they were investigating the allegations of government interference during the conduct of the June 13 elections held in Abuja under the supervision of NOC.”
According to FIBA’s letter to Nigeria on July 27 it read,” FIBA is not entirely satisfied that either election was carried out in accordance with the FIBA General Statues. Consequently, pursuant to Article 9.10 of the FIBA General Statutes, FIBA cannot recognize either election.
FIBA instructs the NBBF to resolve this current dispute internally, whether through new elections of (preferably) through an amicable solution under the auspices of the National Olympic Committee, before 30 November 2017.”
FIBA letter added,” FIBA will communicate, as of now and until 30 November 2017 solely with the persons named as board members on 13 June 2017 namely Mr Ahmadu Musa Kida as NBBF President and Mr Babatunde Ogunade as Vice President using firstname.lastname@example.org for official correspondence. FIBA maintains that while this letter clarifies the line of communication between FIBA and its member and divisions, on one hand, and NBBF on the other, it shall not be understood as recognition by FIBA of the management elected on 13 June 2017.”
Meanwhile, Ahmedu said the result of their findings will determine FIBA’s decision. He corroborated the VP’s claim that the Kano group just wanted to create an artificial crisis where there was none.
“Despite our clear cut directives to teams not to participate in the final 6 and final 8 competitions subject to approval, we still compromised and allowed the teams that emerged from that championship to represent Nigeria at the international stage.”
Ahmedu who is the Benue state basketball association Chairman pointed fingers at the former board for several attempts to sabotage the country’s effort during the preparations for the cup of nations for men and women.
“When we were preparing for the women’s competition, the former board called some of the players not to report to camp because a special camping arrangement had been made for the players to be camped in Tunisia.
For the men, most of the 2015 set who won the Afrobasket were influenced not to come play for their fatherland. As a result of that, many of them gave different excuses while some demanded to be paid as much as 200,000 dollars before playing for Nigeria.”
FIBA is expected to give their verdict on the two NBBF factions, the one led by Musa Kida and the Tijani Umar-led faction on Thursday, November 30.