The Nigeria Basketball Federation says the Men’s Premier League may not start any time soon due to an ongoing suit brought against it by representatives of the ”Nigeria Basketball Premier League Owners’ Council”.
An NBBF statement named the plaintiffs in the suit which has stopped the Premier League from holding for a number of seasons now, as the ‘Management Board of Kwese Premier Basketball League’ and Ibrahim Sa’ad (Chairman, Gombe State Basketball Association) who represent Gombe Bulls, Kwara Falcons Basketball Club and the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Owners’ Council.
The suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/1317/2018) was first instituted on the 6th November, 2018 by the rival Tijani Yusuf-led NBBF Board with prayers for an injunction to stop the Musa Kida-led NBBF from organizing the Nigerian Premier Basketball league.
Following a court sitting on Tuesday 13 October 2020 the NBBF has said it “will refrain from organizing the Premier Basketball until the determination of the substantive suit”.
The decision was taken “to avoid contempt of Court” the statement adds.
The NBBF statement on why the men’s premier league won’t hold follows the lifting of restrictions by the federal government on all contact sports paving the way for the resumption of professional basketball in the country.
“We are not unmindful of the concerns of our players who are being affected by the absence of NBBF Men’s Premier League but sadly, most agitators have found it easier to blame the board for not being concerned about their plight which is the easiest thing for them to do due to ignorance,” the NBBF statement quotes Kida as saying.
According to the statement, the Kida board wants “to set the records straight so that genuine stakeholders can beam their searchlight on the real people causing the problems who are hell bent on destroying the future of young basketball players because of their personal agenda”.
“We have been engaging in massive marketing drive to get sponsors, but no responsible corporate organisation will want to invest in a cacophonous environment that we have found ourselves,” Kida added.
“In spite of the legal logjam and absence of a sponsor, the federation has been coming up with different programs to fill the vacuum. We know it is not enough, but we will continue to do our best as allowed by the reality on ground.
“We have recorded some achievements through the Total Division One and Two leagues as well as the expanded Zenith Bank Women Basketball League. Imagine what we would have achieved without all these needless distractions.”
The dispute over the control of the NBBF has its origins in rival elections conducted in 2017 that saw both Kida and Yusuf lay claim to the presidency of the federation while rejecting the other’s claims.
FIBA, the world basketball governing body, however, recognises the Kida board legitimacy over the national teams but domestically, the dispute over control of the men’s premier division rages on.