The on-going crisis currently rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) took a dramatic turn with the recent communique issued by the Secretary General of the Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida led-NBBF, Mr Chimezie Asiegbu.
For the purpose of clarity, the world governing body, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in the build-up to the FIBA AfroBasket championship-male and female, had sent a communique to the two warring factions of the NBBF-Kida and Tijani Umar led boards, informing them of opening a channel of communication with the Kida-led faction until 30 November 2017.
The channel of communication does NOT mean recognizing either faction, but rather having to work with Engr. Kida for the duration of the ultimatum, after which failure to have resolved issues internally might lead to the world governing body issuing a directive for a fresh election and hopefully NOT incurring a global ban.
The latest uproar rocking the basketball family has to do with the nullification of the matches, results and awards of the Kwese Premier Basketball League Final 6 Conference-both Savannah and Atlantic and Final 8 National Playoffs organised by the Umar led NBBF board, which was legally in office when the season tipped off in April 2017.
Furthermore, the board instituted a disciplinary inquest against the teams who participated at the Final 6 and Final 8 National Playoffs save for the exception of Mark Mentors, Civil Defence and Rivers Hoopers. Rivers Hoopers attended the Final 6 but had to withdraw at the last minute from the Final 8 Playoffs after their sponsors (Rivers State Government) denied them the right to participate at the championship.
Some major issues arising from this latest development and directive are as follows:
- Are the pair of Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls who earned the ticket to represent Nigeria at the 2018 FIBA Africa Club championship by virtue of winning and finishing runner-up at the Final 8 National Playoffs going to be stripped of that right?
- Will the aforementioned teams who didn’t participate at the Final 8 National Playoffs, now automatically be awarded the continental ticket? Since Rivers Hoopers participated at the Final 6, we could assume they violated the directive of the NBBF; hence Mark Mentors and Civil Defence will represent Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Club Championship Qualifiers which holds in Lagos between 19-29 October 2017.
- In the light of the lifting of bans of referees and Lagos Islanders, Dodan Warriors and Union Bank for participating in the African Basketball League (ABL) by the Umar led board in 2016, are we going to see same fate befall teams who ‘flouted’ the Kida board directive from participating at the 2017 Playoffs?
- What will be the fate of the 5-year, $12.5m Kwese Premier Basketball League? Are the sponsors going to get discouraged by the messy local politics, constant in-house fighting which threatens to drag their brand name in the mud and pull the plug off the deal?
We could go on-and-on with our list of questions, but unfortunately we wouldn’t get any satisfactory answers. What the basketball fans, stakeholders should understand, by the implication of this communique, regardless of the Gold and Silver winning feat of D’Tigress and D’Tigers at the AfroBasket Women and Men championships respectively, the constant and unending politicking will adversely affect the growth of the game locally, ultimately short-changing the nation of its true potentials.