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Thank You President Buhari but the Liberation Fight is Still On…Igoche Mark

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President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Mr.Igoche Mark has welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision, to rescind his earlier directive on Nigeria’s withdrawal from international basketball, for two years, as pronounced by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

Reacting via a statement to Thursday’s announcement which reversed Nigeria’s self imposed ban from international basketball; Mark also conveyed his appreciation and that of his entire NBBF Board to the Sports Ministry and President Buhari for listening to the yearnings of Nigerians, especially from former international players, and key stakeholders of the game, in Nigeria and diaspora, as he insisted that his NBBF position remains unchanged.

In the statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, Mark however said he was sadned that the impasse in the NBBF, stalled the participation of D’Tigress at the upcoming FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sidney, Australia; thus making the ladies the sacrificial lamb.

He stressed that the ladies should not be made to bear the brunt of the regressive infighting, when those who had held the game down for years, and were directly responsible for the 2 years ban placed by Mr.President. Howbeit, the timely reversal by the Commander-in-Chief has resulted to a party mood, because for them,it is business as usual.

“I must commend Mr. President for lifting the ban placed on basketball, indeed it is a great joy to all of us.I also thank the Commander in Chief for listening to the cries of Nigerians, for this, I remain eternally grateful. However, I feel sad for our D’Tigress, because these ladies laboured and toiled to get the ticket but they have been replaced with Mali, and their efforts seem to have been wasted, while those that have held the game down are celebrating the President’s change of mind. Our ladies must not be the sacrificial lamb always. “Mark stated.

Mark then warned those spreading fake news that he has conceded his position as the duly elected NBBF President to Engr. Musa Kida to desist from making an already bad situation, worse.

According to him, the tenure of the former NBBF President, saw the fortunes of the country’s basketball nosedive, and stagnated to a sorry state, and whatever progress being made now in the domestic scene would not be jettisoned; so as far as he is concerned, and with the backing of key stakeholders, our ultimate goal is to see the soul of the Basketball in Nigeria rescued from shackles of doom.

“I am by this statement making a passionate appeal to all stakeholders of the game, that in accordance to the mandate given to me by genuine stakeholders of Basketball on January 31, 2022 that I remain the President of the NBBF. There was never a time that the Sports Ministry asked me to step down for anybody, besides,it is the responsibility of key basketball stakeholders to elect their NBBF President, as the seat of the NBBF President is neither by appointment nor by selection.Those spreading the fake news that I have quit my mandate as NBBF President are either enemies of our beautiful game or mischief makers. This fight is not about Igoche Mark, but it is for the liberation of basketball,and is a fight that must be won, we must stick together to be able to liberate the game from the shackles of doom. We must liberate the game from those who believe that Nigeria needs international competitions to develop our domestic game.”He stated.

Mark went on to harp that the game of basketball must be freed from those who refused to pay players their money, and from those that stopped Rivers Hoopers from participating in the second edition of BAL.

He signed off by appealling to the Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare not to do the bidding of a single individual, who has repeatedly failed in his responsibilities, and still, despite this individual failed voyage,he wants to continue to kneel on the neck of the game, just for his selfish ambition.He advised the Minister not be neive or chicken hearted in dealing with the root causes of the crisis in the federation that dates back to 2013.

According to Mark, “the Sports Ministry under the leadership of Mr. Dare still has the chance to stop this absurdity being the trade mark of these individuals who have been on the board of NBBF since 1997 and are the ones responsible for all the problems in the federation since then.The soul of basketball in Nigeria must be fully liberated.”Mark concluded his statement.

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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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