Sports Minister Sunday Dare, Playing Basketball
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball bodies and competitions, for two years, and with immediate effect.
The withdrawal was announced by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Sports, Alhaji Ismail Abubakar
was sequel to the unending leadership crisis plaguing the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBFF and the toll it has had on the domestic components of the sport.
The NBBF crisis which began in 2017 after two parallel elective congresses held in Kano and Abuja produced two Boards, headed by Tijani Umar and Musa Kida, who was anointed by the then Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung; meant domestic basketball in Nigeria was under lock and key, while the litigation that preceded the polls, raged on.
Hopes were rife that the impasse will be eventually laid to rest in the elections of September, last year; but the stakeholders re-aligned and the major actors comprising players, Coaches, Referees and Commissioners rejected the document presented by Musa Kida as the NBBF Constitution.
The half-hearted attempts by the Sports Minister and the Nigeria Olympic Committee to get both factions to resolve the grey areas of the Constitution deemed undemocratic, fell through, and again parallel elections were held in Abuja and Benin on January 31, 2022.
The factions stocked to their guns, as the Sports Ministry ran out of ideas on how to resolve the crisis.
This was despite an earlier stance of Mr Sunday Dare that the decision in the pipeline, will be in the overriding interest of the country, Nigeria basketball, the main actors and their careers; as players, coaches, Referees and Commissioners.
Only on Monday, elite basketball players who converged on Abuja, for the Round of 16 phase of the 2022 Mark D Ball Men’s basketball tournament, stormed the minister’s office, demanding resolution of the NBBF leadership crisis, but we’re told he was not on seat.
As of today, the NBBF Board led by Igoche Mark is still waiting to be furnished with the details, so that it can offset the unpaid entitlements of the D’Tigresses, who not long ago qualified to represent Africa in the upcoming FIBA Women’s World Cup, in Sydney, Australia.
The Mark-led board is also in the advanced stage of reinstating the men’s and women’s Premiership Basketball Leagues.
Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino