Soothing relief for ‘broken’ basketball

Perhaps, the most talked about stuff as long as Nigerian Sports is concerned is Nigerian basketball. And what is on the lips of every concerned Stakeholder is the latest judgement by world basketball governing body, FIBA on the lingering crisis plaguing Nigeria basketball.

The judgement which was made public earlier this week has been expected long ago, after series of attempts made by some persons in the country and FIBA itself, to get either of the warring factions drop guard, failed.

FIBA through its Secretary General, Patrick Baumann was unequivocal in its letter which has been served to relevant Persons by stating that; “In our letter of 26 July 2017, we informed you that FIBA was not entirely satisfied that neither of the elections held in the name of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (“NBBF”) were carried out in accordance with the FIBA General Statutes.

“In this respect, and among other provisions of Article 9 of the FIBA General Statutes, we would like to draw your attention to Articles 9.3 and 9.7

They were succinct enough to clarify that; “ in Article 9.3, The statutes and regulations of national member federations must comply fully with the General Statutes and Internal Regulations of FIBA. The General Statutes and Internal Regulations of FIBA shall form part of the national member federations’ statutes and regulations. In the event of doubt or conflict, the Genera/ Statutes and Internal Regulations of FIBA shall prevail.

“In Articles 9.7, National member federations shall manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties. In particular they must ensure that their officials are either elected or appointed under a democratic process for a term of office of four (4) years. Their statutes must provide a transparent procedure that guarantees the complete independence of the election or appointment.”

For me and many others, the stance taken by FIBA showed high degree of non-partisanship for any of the groups. More so, there wouldn’t have been any other decision which would have displayed neutrality other than for every ‘combatant’ within NBBF to face election on level playing ground.

Far before this verdict came down, many were of the opinion that the fracas between Musa Kida and Tijani Umar groups wouldn’t have been in the first place, talk more of swelling into a ‘near non-remedy’ circumstance, if genuine effort was made initially to forestall it.

At various time, those charged with the responsibility of bringing the Actors together and discuss way out of the impasse deliberately displayed seeming ‘I don’t care’ attitude even when the global basketball regulating body extended the timeline given for them to do the needful.

In fact, in the piece I wrote weeks back, when I highlighted a lot of factors impeding reconciliation moves, I recalled with nostalgia how actors (Administrators at the federation and club levels), officials of Youth and Sports Ministry as well as other interested groups or individuals laid out their dagger with conflicting convictions, right from the beginning.

While Kida had the backing of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), before and after June election in Abuja anointed him as President of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijani Umar-led federation that appear to be enjoying the backing of most basketball Stakeholders stood their ground and conducted an election based on their convictions, drawn from the constitution of NBBF.

At every point in time, Umar expressed willingness to obey FIBA’s directives even if a fresh election was summoned but Kida, from both his body language and utterances differ. As it were, anyone who is perceived not to be backing him to retain his ‘gotten’ mandate is termed ‘enemy of progress’.

Unfortunately, the game of basketball which stayed hope of better things to come, around this time, last year, has been brought to its knees. Players, coaches, team officials, club (both Men and Women) suffer the blunt of the carcass all of these dump on them.

Basketball Players that look as if they are not ‘loyal’ are kept out of invitation to national duties. It doesn’t matter if any player in question has what it takes to display a million star skill that could salvage needed points at international competitions, he or she won’t get a call up. Shame!

In all of these, showing genuine willingness vis-a-vis cooperating with the modus operandi will certainly bring soothing relief. The very day for the election should be scheduled, to enable whoever emerges to pilot the affairs of Nigerian basketball to Eldorado.

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