Some players in Basketball have urged the outgoing Caretaker Committee chairman of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida, to respect the decision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to suspend the NBBF Elective Congress.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Stanley Gumut, the newly elected player representative on the NBBF, made the call at a press briefing organised by both the current and ex-D’Tigers players, as well as other stakeholders.
A statement by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ismaila Abubakar, on Monday had directed an indefinite suspension of the NBBF Elective Congress for the elections scheduled for Saturday, in Benin.
However, a counter-statement emanated from Musa Kida, the NBBF’s Caretaker Committee chairman, on Tuesday, challenging the ministry’s directives.
The statement from Mr Kida read in part: “The attention of the NBBF is drawn to an unsigned Press Release credited to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports (FMY& S), on several Social Media, dated 24th October, 2021.
“Stating that the NBBF Elective Congress slated for Benin City, Edo State, on the 30th of October, 2021, as approved by the NBBF Extra-Ordinary Congress of 9th October, 2021, in Abuja, which was in line with the provisions of the 2019 NBBF approved statutes, has been postponed indefinitely.
“This purported postponement is without any legal basis and indeed a usurpation of the powers of the NBBF Congress as enshrined in the NBBF statutes.
“It is also repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, and amounts to an arbitrary use of power, after the ministry has confirmed on several occasions to the existence of our constitution and the supremacy of the NBBF congress to conduct its affairs as dictated by the NBBF constitution, ” it said.
Gumut told journalists that it was surprising to note that Mr Kida was challenging the authenticity of the ministry’s press statement, in spite of a confirmation letter to that effect which also came from the NBBF’s Secretary-General, Afolabi-Oluwayemi Olabisi.
He noted that the confirmation letter attached with the statement from the ministry was transmitted to all stakeholders, including the Director of Sports, General Manager and Chairmen, Basketball State Associations.
“Let me, first of all, appreciate the Ministry of Youth and Sports, under the leadership of Sunday Dare and the Permanent Secretary, Ismaila Abubakar, for their intervention in the NBBF crisis so far.
“We started this journey some weeks back, demanding that the right thing be done in the NBBF and we are glad that the ministry has shown us that they have our interest at heart and are ready to listen to us.
“We, therefore, call on Kida to, first of all, stop parading himself as the Caretaker Committee Chairman henceforth, so as to allow for a fair playing ground.
“This is very important because as long as this issue continues to linger, it then means we are not heading anywhere yet.
“But, I want to believe that the Ministry who are the custodians of Sports in the country and which initially dissolved the board and made him the then Caretaker Committee Chairman, has the right to wade into the NBBF crisis.
“So, I wonder why someone who is hell-bent on enforcing himself on us cannot respect the ministry who are the major actor and financiers of sports, including basketball in the country?” he said.
Gumut, who was a player on the national team, D’Tigers also questioned the motive behind the decision by the Kida-led committee to move the elective congress to Benin.
“The decision to move the elections itself is very questionable. Indeed, if he has no cockroach in his cupboard, I wonder why it can’t be held in the FCT under the watchful eyes of all stakeholders, observers, as well as the media, just like every other federation conducted theirs.
“We are happy that the authorities are wading into this matter and we all want an end to this crisis, that’s why we are putting our heads together.
“We are not saying that he (Kida) cannot come back and win, it’s possible, but we are insisting that the document he is parading be looked into so as to make it an all-inclusive document.
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“I cannot imagine why someone in the Diaspora is not being allowed to contest in an election in his country. Yet, these same players are being reached out to represent the country.
“So, these are some of the issues in the legal document we are fighting against because at the end of the day every basketball stakeholder, especially the players, must be carried along,” he said.
Gumut also stressed his election as the Athletes Representative remained authentic, even though Mr Kida had continued to challenge his election, adding that the facts were out there and clear for all to see.
“The facts are clear. I have been given my letter of return. We have videos of how they tried to truncate it, even though we are not making noise about it.
“So, I have since put all that behind me and looking forward to how we can make things better for basketball in the country,” he said.
Gumut, who was also the former captain of Mark Mentors Basketball Club, stressed that the most important thing was to revive the domestic game, especially the league, as well as the welfare of the players.
He added that the protest by the Afrobasket champions, the D’Tigress was also timely, saying that it was indeed time to end the reign of tyranny in the NBBF.
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