The Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung has told the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that there is no crisis in the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The Minister made the remark during a fact finding visit of three FIBA officials to his office in Abuja on Monday.
He gave the genesis of the leadership struggle in NBBF, while maintaining that the election which was free and fair was duly won by Musa Kida.
Dalung said, “The position of government is that there is no crisis in basketball. We only heard and read in the papers of allegations against government of interference in basketball elections.
“Can a spectator take a shot from outside the field and the referee records it as a goal? Tijani Umar did not register to contest or obtain an election form and therefore could not have contested for the Presidential post. If he obtained election form, then he could have gone to the Appeals Committee to register his grievances but he couldn’t appeal because he didn’t even buy a form, therefore he wasn’t even eligible to protest.”
The Minister told the three-man delegation including the FIBA Executive Director Africa, Dr Alphonse Bile, Special Advisor to FIBA Secretary General, Mr Lubomir Kotleba and FIBA Competition Commission member Fode Amara Conde, that Umar was a government nominee for 8 years and never complained of government interference until government decided to have democratically elected federations devoid of government nominees.
“What is the definition of government interference? Is it when government directs that there must be popular elections with a democratized space or when government nominates 155 members of the board?”
The Minister also thanked FIBA for their assistance to Nigeria through funding, grants and training.
“We have received assistance from FIBA. We have received funding too. We are indeed very grateful for the partnership we enjoy with FIBA but we look forward to a more robust partnership with the governing body. Basketball is one sport that is easy and cheap to set up in a rural community and I think that grassroots sports development should be the priority of our partnership.”
Dalung also appealed to FIBA to support Nigeria in the development and training of coaches and officials which he said is very significant to sports development. He also urged FIBA to consider giving Nigeria the hosting right for a World Championship someday.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Adesola Olusade and the the Director FEAD Mrs Tayo Oreweme were a part of the team that met with FIBA.