The crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF may have assumed another dimension, as ex-players have threatened to storm the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT to attract the attention of the authorities if their demands for immediate resolution of the crisis is not adhered to.
The players, who have made their names in the game were seen at the office of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, where they have gone to submit a letter expressing their displeasure on the NBBF crisis.
The letter, which was copied the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; the Chief of Staff to Mr President and Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC president, Habu Gumel partly read: “We make bold to state without equivocation that, in the event of failure to give credence to our humble request which is in the overall interest of Basketball and Sports Development in Nigeria, we shall: “Mobilize relevant stakeholders and supporters and stage a MEGA protest to press home our demands.
“The Nigerian basketball players home and abroad will not play if these issues are not resolved.
“We are also not oblivious of the alternative of litigation as an acceptable way to seek redress”.
Stanley Gumut, the players’ representative of the dissolved Musa Kida-led NBBF, who bared his mind in a chat, said a recent letter seen addressed to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, referred to Musa Kida as the president of NBBF.
“Such should not be. Way back in June last year, there was a Committee that was set up where Kida accepted to be the Caretaker Chairman and NOT the president, and today we are seeing letters addressing him as ‘president’. It’s confusing and we wish to seek clarification on the issue”.
He added that, “for long, we have remained too ambivalent about these brewing issues and we are afraid that basketball in Nigeria may be heading for the rocks in no distant time if the situation at hand is not salvaged appropriately”.
The ex-players also stated in the letter dated January 24, 2022 that, “Hon Minister Sir, you may recall that, owing to this protracted leadership crisis within the Basketball Community, you constituted a Reconciliation Committee to reach out to the various factions with the view of seeking and achieving an amicable resolution forthwith.
“Regrettably, since it’s inauguration, the reconciliation committee has not in any way delivered on its mandate so as to warrant the hurried chase towards the Basketball Federation elections, which we are informed will be holding on the 31st.
“Sir, we have it on good authority and beyond shadows of doubt that, the players who are the main stakeholders of this game have not been consulted, contacted or no meeting has been held with the reconciliation committee. There is no publication of a report from the reconciliation committee on their efforts, findings and prescriptions. The implication being that, the crisis that led to the formation of the committee is far from being resolved.
“It is sacrosanct to inform you Sir, that by the conventional practice known to us, notice of election is usually given 21 days to the election date, and electoral guidelines are advanced to bring stakeholders to speed as to the election itinerary. We woke to news of elections holding on the 31st of January, 2022 in a correspondence that was issued and signed on the 17th of January, 2022. Up till date, we are yet to receive the electoral guidelines or the statute that will be used to conduct the election.
“Sir, to our disbelief and total dismay, Mr Musa Kida is still being referred to in official correspondences of the Ministry, as the President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation long after his official tenure has elapsed and his Caretaker appointment dissolved by you.
“We find this disturbing and totally unacceptable as it infringes on our sensibility and the legitimacy of the dissolution of the Caretaker Committee which you did.
“Sir, we bring to your notice our strong reservations over the purported constitution for the Nigerian Basketball Federation having largely been prepared by Mr Kida to further his inglorious stay at the helm of affairs of the federation. We know the Ministry under your care will not support this shambolic show of failure and breach of acceptable standard. The convention that was called to deliberate over the said constitution was floored with irregularities ranging across intimidation and disenfranchisement of participation of relevant stakeholders.
“Sir, it is our submission and request that, the election hurriedly slated for 31st January, 2022 be suspended immediately and the pending, unresolved issues that have triggered the crisis in the Nigerian Basketball Federation be looked into critically”.