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NBBF crisis: FIBA delay worries warring factions

The two warring Nigeria Basketball Federation factions are in the dark over when FIBA will conduct a new election to the board of the federation.

Last month, FIBA in a letter signed by its Secretary-General, Patrick Bauman, ordered a  fresh election to the NBBF board after the June 12 and 13, 2017 presidential polls in Kano and Abuja produced Tijjani Umar and Musa Ahmadu-Kida respectively as factional presidents of the NBBF.

Arising from its February 10 meeting in Switzerland, the world basketball body stated, “In the absence of an amicable solution between the parties, the Executive Committee (of FIBA) has decided that a new election shall be held.”

However, FIBA declined to fix a date for the election in their letter to both factions, which has generated  an uneasy calm among the country’s basketball faithful.

“The drama and confusion in Nigerian basketball continues; Tijjani and Kida will continue to do their own things since no date has been fixed,” ex-D’Tigers captain and vice-president of the Umar board, Olumide Oyedeji, stated.

“This is why I’m challenging the stakeholders. What are they doing? FIBA hasn’t fixed a date but we can do that ourselves so that Tijjani and Kida can go to the poll to test their popularity. Or is anybody scared of the election?”

A board member of Ahmadu-Kida’s group, Col Samuel Ahmedu (retd.), told our correspondent that they had  not been briefed about a possible date for the election despite FIBA maintaining communication with their faction.

He insisted that the mantle to run Nigerian basketball had been given to them by FIBA before  a fresh election  is  held.

He stated. “Right now, there’s no election, it’s until a date is fixed that’s when we will contest. But we have been saddled with the task of running the game before then and we are doing that.”

But Oyedeji maintained that the Kida faction had no right to administer the sport after FIBA’s directive in March.

“As far as FIBA is concerned, there’s no NBBF board. FIBA didn’t agree with the June 12 election because it wasn’t all-inclusive while it kicked against the June 13 election in Abuja because there was interference from the sports ministry,” the former Seattle SuperSonics centre said.

“The letter says FIBA hasn’t given recognition to  the Kida board. Why can’t we have two members from both factions, like a transition committee, and try to resolve the issue so we can have an election, so that peace can reign. It’s the players that suffer.”

Ahmedu said, “If we aren’t recognised, why will FIBA say we should host the World Cup qualifiers? FIBA says any club we present from the league is the national champion. So, if they (Umar’s faction) play any league, they can’t play continental basketball. Already the major sponsors of the game have seen the signs and they have been speaking with us. There’s no cause for concern.”

Meanwhile, our correspondent has learnt that FIBA officials are not happy with the role of the Nigeria Olympic Committee in the NBBF crisis.

In the March letter, FIBA said it “reserves the right to oversee parts or the entirety of the elections process,” thus sidelining the NOC from the new election.

A top basketball stakeholder, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, alleged that it was the role the NOC played during and after the 2017 elections that necessitated the change of stance by the world body.

Our source said, “FIBA stated categorically that their men and not NOC officials will handle the election when they fix a date. It means that they have cut off the NOC. It’s because they were talking from both sides of the mouth.

“How will they (NOC) say they supervised the Abuja election and it was free and fair and then later call for settlement between the two factions?”

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