Board members of the Nigeria Basketball Federation have said they are calm and collected even as they called on followers of the game in Nigeria to also stay calm also ahead of the November 30 deadline given by FIBA.
The world basketball body had asked the Nigeria Olympic Committee to find solution to the NBBF leadership impasse that followed the June 13 election organised by the NOC.
At a media briefing held today at the Lagos National Stadium on Wednesday, the Vice President of the federation, Babs Ogunade gave an assurance that the decision of the FIBA will only establish a solid frame work for future elections in Nigeria.
Ogunade said that the board had shifted ground several times for the sake of basketball in Nigeria but the last board had been adamant on making mischief despite attempts by the NBBF President, Musa Kida to open up communication.
He said, “We had to sign an undertaken before the Federal Government could allow them use the Indoor Sports hall in Lagos for the conclusion of the Zenith Women’s final 6 and the concluding part of the premier league for women.
“When we went to Cotonou (Republic of Benin) for the FIBA Africa 3×3 zonal qualifiers, another team was sent by the Kano group. When it was our turn to play, the Kano team received a call to also come on court despite not registering for the competition. The intention was to cause confusion and create an impression that there was a crisis, but out of maturity, we had to step down our teams in order not to embarrass the country.
“When we went to Madagascar for the draw for the African cup, the Kano group also sent representatives to come and represent Nigeria, but FIBA in their wisdom related with us.”
Also speaking at the event, the international representative on the NBBF board, Col. Samuel Ahmedu (retd) denied claims that FIBA did not recognize their election.
Ahmedu said, “According to the letter sent to the different groups and the NOC, FIBA categorically stated that they were investigating the allegations of government interference during the conduct of the June 13 elections held in Abuja under the supervision of NOC.”
Ahmedu said the result of their findings should determine FIBA’s decision. He corroborated the VP’s claim that the Kano group just wanted to create an artificial crisis where there was none.
“Despite our clear cut directives to teams not to participate in the final 6 and final 8 competitions subject to approval, we still compromised and allowed the teams that emerged from that championship to represent Nigeria at the international stage.”
Ahmedu listed several attempts by the former board led by Tijjani Umar to sabotage the country’s effort during the preparations for the Cup of Nations for men and women.
He said, “When we were preparing for the women’s competition, the former board called some of the players not to report to camp because a special camping arrangement had been made for the players to be camped in Tunisia. For the men, most of the 2015 set who won the AfroBasket were influenced not to play for their fatherland. Because of that, many of them gave different excuses while a particular player demanded to be paid as much as $200,000 before playing for Nigeria.”