The crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) is far from over even with a venue and date agreed upon for the Elective Congress.
The build-up to the polls fixed for Benin City, Edo State at the end of the month is one that has to be closely watched, sports experts say.
Over 100 Nigeria Basketball players led by the newly elected players’ representative, Stanley Gumut on Thursday in Abuja staged a protest at the Unity Fountain.
The aggrieved players voiced their resentment at what they termed the mishandling of basketball administration in the last four years and “plans by some individuals to perpetuate themselves in office against the wish of the majority”.
Gumut told reporters: “We are at the Unity Fountain which is symbolic for the Nation, we are calling on whoever is in charge; the Presidency, the Ministry under the Minister of Sports, the Nigeria Olympic Committee, the Senate, and whoever is in the position of authority to see that Nigeria basketball players are suffering
“It is evident in the video that came out that our female team (D’Tigress) that has been winning laurels for this country have not been paid. If I turn around now and show you the group of gentlemen and ladies here, they have not had food on their tables for the last four years because there is no league.”
As per the October 30 election in Benin, Gamut insists the players ought to have a say like the other recognised bodies.
He said: “Going forward in the next election, they don’t have a voice, we are not comfortable with the group of people that have flawed a document so that they can return.
“We are calling on the government to get into this and get us an alternative, so we will be able to select our best leaders for ourselves, we do want a situation whereby they will enforce leaders for us who have put up a document that is not acceptable by the Nigerian players.”
‘We have had enough’
As reported by Daily Trust, Nda Abu, a national team and Kano Pillars player also said the players have had enough and also want the outgoing Musa Kida leadership to stay clear.
He said: “Let him stay aside, we will never allow him to lead us. He can not just come and kill basketball like that, no way.
“For over 3 1/2 years, no league, no nothing. He only considers the national team, bringing players from America.
“We have the league players, Division 1 players, Division 2 players, and upcoming players here protesting.”
The players, including the players’ representative in the Kida-led board, Ejike Ugboaja, reportedly marched to the Unity Fountain in the Central District on Thursday before sending a representative to meet with officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to table their demands.
Meanwhile, we understand the Minister of Sports Sunday Dare has stepped into the crisis by inviting both factions (Kida and TJ Umar) to a peace meeting slated for Monday next week.
This is aimed at engendering lasting peace to the crisis.
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