An epic confrontation looks imminent between Nigeria’s sports minister, Sunday Dare and Musa Kida of the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The immediate past president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and chairman of the succeeding caretaker committee has insisted that Saturday’s election must go on irrespective of contrary directive by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
In a press release issued on Tuesday afternoon, the caretaker committee remarked that the NBBF has urged basketball stakeholders to ignore an unsigned press statement credited to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports (FMY&S) on several Social Media platforms indefinitely postponing the NBBF elections.
In a statement signed by the Caretaker Chairman of the federation, Musa Kida, it was stated that the purported postponement is illegal and a direct usurpation of the powers of the NBBF Congress as enshrined in the 2019 NBBF Statutes.
The statement described the move as repugnant to natural justice, equity, good conscience and an arbitrary use of power after the ministry and the Nigeria Olympics Committee had on numerous occasions confirmed the existence of a valid constitution as sanctioned by the Federation of International Basketball Associations in conducting its affairs as dictated by the NBBF constitution.
“After 2017, from the FIBA fact finding Team’s visit to Nigeria in 2018, FIBA, supported by pronouncements by the Nigerian Courts, had put to rest who is the recognized President of the NBBF. The postponement of a duly approved Elective Congress under the guise of a non-existent leadership tussle is therefore meant to mislead all concerned in order to justify this ultra vires act.
The move clearly contradicted the Ministry’s letter dated 30th of October, 2021 recognising the NBBF amongst the 6 National Sporting Federations with approved Constitutions to guide its Electoral processes.
“That at the request of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), FIBA wrote a letter affirming that it had approved the NBBF Constitution which shall be the document to drive the NBBF 2021 Elections”.
“After several meetings called by the ministry and the NOC, between the Chairman, Caretaker Committee and the former NBBF President, Tijani Umar, the FMY&S released a Press Statement dated 30th September, 2021, to the effect that the NBBF constitution approved by FIBA is sacrosanct and its provisions shall be the binding document for the conduct of the 2021 NBBF Elections”, the statement went further.
All these developments led to the Extra Ordinary Congress in Abuja on 9th October, 2021 which set up an Electoral and Appeals Committee and approved Benin as venue for the Elective Congress (by 24 Yes Votes against 2 No Votes), in strict compliance to the provisions of the 2019 NBBF statutes.
It is instructive to note that the Permanent Secretary who issued the Press Release postponing the Elective Congress indefinitely delivered the keynote address at the extraordinary congress which also had in attendance representative of the NOC and Director FEAD at the FMY&S, Dr S. Evbojaiye.
Kida said this leaves much to be desired after the ministry had acknowledged that only the NBBF Congress has the powers to act in line with the NBBF Statutes.
With all arrangements already put in place for the Elective Congress in Benin and FIBA already nominated a representative to monitor the Elective Congress, all delegates and aspirants should note that the NBBF’s Elective Congress as approved by the Extraordinary congress will hold as scheduled.