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Basketball Ban: The Skies Are Bright Again

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By Akeem Busari 

It was with untold happiness and joy that stakeholders and enthusiasts of basketball received the news of Nigeria’s return to the international basketball community, following the official announcement by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Sports, Thursday morning in Abuja. 

The decision of the Federal Government through the sports ministry to unban Nigeria have equally been generating varied opinions and importantly, the views have been somewhat akin to moving from gloom to boom.

Retracing the unhealthy and induced crises that eventually led to the unfortunate ban placed by the government on international basketball would always evoke sadness in the hearts of players, officials and genuine stakeholders of the game in Nigeria and diaspora. 

The ban has denied our girls who recorded a 3-peat Afrobasket title from participating in the Women’s Basketball World Cup slated for September in Australia. However, many stakeholders are willing to look beyond the unfortunate happenstances, as Nigeria’s Men’s national team can still compete against continental and global opponents for honours in forthcoming championships. 

At this point we must be quick to commend the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ministry of Sports, through the Minister of Sports,  Chief Sunday Dare, for choosing to recognise the negative consequences of the ban would have on the game and of course, the millions of restive, but talented youths who are keen to eke a living from the game. 

It is equally worthy to commend the embattled President of NBBF,  Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida, for his thoughtfulness, selflessness, humility and uncommon patriotism throughout the basketball turbulence. The decision to make an unveiled appeal on behalf of the NBBF board to President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Ministry of Sports, is the hallmark of a great statesman. 

The promise by the NBBF to make amends to contentious parts of its constitution is expected to pave ways for further betterment of the game in Nigeria. 

Without a doubt, the skies are bright again for Nigeria basketball. This is a victory for all genuinely concerned stakeholders in the future fortunes of the game in Nigeria. 

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NBBF set to restarts its general programmes, as reconciliation process continues

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The Nigeria Basketball Federation NBBF revealed that the Federation will restart all it’s programs as the reconciliation process among the stakeholders continues.

In a communique Signed on Monday by the President of the Federation Engr Musa Kida revealed that the amendment of the 2019 approved NBBF Constitution, for which the process had earlier started.

According to the communique; Sequel to the press release issued by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMY&SD) on the 17th of August 2022, dissolving the Interim Management Committee (IMC) that was earlier set up after the NBBF January 31st elective congress, it has become very expedient for me to brief you on the state of affairs in the Federation (NBBF), my esteemed members of Congress and the NBBF.

“You will recall that on the 23rd of June 2022, the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development, with the approval of H.E. Mohammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, withdrew Nigeria from all international Basketball activities for a period of two years.

“The reason for this withdrawal was the Government’s perception of persistent wrangling’s amongst the Nigerian Basketball Stakeholders. This decision led to the replacement of the Female National Team, the D’Tigress, by Mail for the 2022 FIBA Women World Cup in Australia, by FIBA, which the team had
already qualified for.

“However, based on several consultations between some critical Stakeholders and very useful interface between the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, FIBA and the NBBF leadership, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria graciously granted approval to rescind the decision to withdraw Nigeria from all international Basketball activities for a period of two years, with immediate effect, which was following the recommendation of the FMY&SD.

“This was promptly and appropriately
communicated to all. This was followed up by the referenced FMY&SD signed dissolution of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) on the 17th of August 2022, and the immediate directive to
take over the remaining FIBA Men’s world Cup Qualifying windows from the Kigali window and we had to act within a few days of the approval.

“By this development, therefore, the NBBF has been given an all clear to carry out its legitimate activities, and continue its constitutional roles as defined in the 2019 NBBF approved Constitution.

“The NBBF will focus on restarting its general programmes, and however, will also need to focus on the amendment of the 2019 approved NBBF Constitution, for which the process had earlier started.

“Equally, the NBBF will also continue with its reconciliation process, alongside its local programs, so that all aggrieved parties can come under one umbrella of peace for the growth and development of the game.”

The statement added that; “The NBBF Board is by this call, committed to fulfilling all these requirements in a very open and transparent manner and in compliance with its Statutes.

“While we understand and appreciate that we have had, and will have divergent opinions on some issues, this is not the time for finger pointing as to who was right or wrong. There is no overstating the fact that continuous bickering and fractionalization within the Nigerian Basketball family, even at the board levels, does no one any good. It is an ill wind that must be avoided.

“The present position we have found ourselves has already set Nigerian basketball back by many years,
and now that normalcy has been restored by the recent Government actions and developments, it is
time for us to engage in a very sober manner and ensure that we move forward without rancor and in
unity.

“We must all strive for unity of purpose so that onlookers will always accord us the respect and dignity that we deserve as the drivers of the growth and development of the game in Nigeria.

“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on all genuine Basketball Stakeholders in Nigeria to close
ranks and join hands with the NBBF to move Nigerian Basketball to its desired height.

“I wish to assure all Stakeholders that as far as the NBBF Board is concerned, there is “No victor, no Vanquished”. The NBBF will conclude the processes of amending the approved NBBF 2019 Constitution and the reconciliation process through the Committees that the Board will set up and communicate in the coming days. We understand the divergent views and grievances of stakeholders, and we will take appropriate actions, within the ambit of our extant laws and the NBBF Constitution, for all to have a sense of belonging.

“Furthermore, the NBBF will commence its designed Programs of activities without delay to, inter alia, enable us to complete the programmes so that we can meet up with national, Continental, and international deadlines for our country’s representation in all major competition.”

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