A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice B.O Quadri has struck out a suit challenging the election of Musa Ahmadu Kida as president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation for the 2017-2021 Term of Office.
The Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/497/17 filed by one El Hassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello in 2017 in which they joined the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, Nigeria Olympics Committee and the NBBF as defendants sought to challenge the authenticity of the election conducted under the auspices of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) with the Federal Ministry of Youths & Sports as observers, which elected Musa Ahmadu Kida.
The litgants specifically prayed the court to hold that the elections, based on the Guidelines for Elections into the Boards of the National Sports Federations conducted at Grand Ibro Hotel, Abuja by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) for the NBBF should be set aside and declared null and void while submitting that only an election conducted by the NBBF as an “autonomous” body can regulate and conduct elections onto the NBBF Board.
In his ruling, the Presiding Judge, Justice B.O Quadri said that the suit brought before the court was no longer live and amounts merely to an academic exercise since the matter was already before the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA), which the NBBF is affiliated, in addition to its membership of the NOC.
The eminent jurist further held that FIBA in its letter of 13th March, 2018, addressed to all the parties made it clear that in accordance with FIBA Statutes any person being dissatisfied with the decision of FIBA has a right of Appeal against the said decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland, however, there is no evidence to show that this vital aspect of FIBA Statutes has been complied with.
In his conclusion, Justice B.O Quadri concluded that the questions submitted by the plaintiffs for determination are therefore spent and will not confer any right or benefit on any successful party in the action and it will be an exercise in futility for the court to proceed with the matter when its utilitarian value has been stripped away by the decision of FIBA.
In view of the above reasons given, the court ruled that there is nothing to decide as any decision would be tantamount to labouring in vain.
Responding on behalf of the Federation, Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade said, “This landmark decision is an indication that FIBA and the NOC, along with the relevant sports authorities in Nigeria have the final say on this matter.
“The ruling by his Lordship against the plaintiffs suit is indeed a big blow to Tijani Umar and his disciples who despite clear facts that abound continue to hold Tijani Umar out falsely as a factional President of the NBBF.
This is despite the fact that FIBA has through numerous correspondences made it clear regarding whom it is dealing with as President of the NBBF, a fact corroborated by evidence on the FIBA website”, Ogunade continued .