The Minister of Youth and Sports development has been urged to postpone the proposed Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) elective Congress fixed for January 31, 2022.
The entire Nigerian basketball players under the aegis of Nigeria Basketball Players Association made the appeal in a strong worded letter to the Minister dated January 24, 2022, a copy of which was obtained by Blueprint in Abuja.
The players vowed to launch massive protest if their request was not looked into.
They also expressed their readiness to stop playing for Nigeria if varrying issues plaguing Nigeria basketball were not addressed.
Part of the letter signed by both outgoing and incoming NBBF players representatives Ejike Ugboaja and Stanley Gumut respectively reads, “We, the basketball players home and abroad, being the critical stakeholders in Nigerian Basketball have observed with indignation and abhorable dismay, the inglorious events, particularly the leadership crisis that has trailed basketball development in Nigeria and the attendant shame these issues have plunged us in, especially at the international scene.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports is the custodian of sporting activities in Nigeria and has a mandate to ensure the sustainability of all sports especially basketball. For long, we have remained too ambivalent about these brewing issues and we are afraid that basketball in Nigeria may be heading for the rocks in no distant time if the situation at hand is not salvaged appropriately.
“Hon. Minister Sir, you may recall that, owing to this protracted leadership crisis within the Basketball Community, you constituted a Reconciliation Committee to reach out to the various factions with the view of seeking and achieving an amicable resolution forthwith. Regrettably, since it’s inauguration, the reconciliation committee has not in any way delivered on its mandate so as to warrant the hurried chase towards the Basketball Federation elections which we are informed will be holding on the 31st.
“Sir, we have it on good authority and beyond shadows of doubt that, the players who are the main stakeholders of this game have not been consulted, contacted or no meeting has been held with the reconciliation committee. There is no publication of a report from the reconciliation committee on their efforts, findings and prescriptions. The implication being that, the crisis that led to the formation of the committee is far from being resolved.
“It is sacrosanct to inform you Sir, that by the conventional practice known to us, notice of election is usually given 21 days to the election date and electoral guidelines are advanced to bring stakeholders to speed as to the election itinerary. We woke to news of elections holding on the 31st of January, 2022 in a correspondence that was issued and signed on the 17th of January, 2022. Up till date, we are yet to receive the electoral guidelines or the statute that will be used to conduct the election.
“Sir, to our disbelief and total dismay, Mr. Musa Kida is still being referred to in official correspondences of the Ministry as the President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation long after his official tenure has elapse and his Caretaker appointment dissolved by you. We find this disturbing and totally unacceptable as it infringes on our sensibility and the legitimacy of the dissolution of the Caretaker Committee which you did.
“Sir, we bring to your notice our strong reservations over the purported constitution for the Nigerian Basketball Federation having largely been prepared by Mr. Kida to further his inglorious stay at the helm of affairs of the federation. We know the Ministry under your care will not support this shambolic show of failure and breach of acceptable standard. The convention that was called to deliberate over the said constitution was floored with irregularities ranging across intimidation and disenfranchisement of participation of relevant stakeholders.
“Sir, it is our submission and request that, the election hurriedly slated for 31st January, 2022 be suspended immediately and the pending, unresolved issues that have triggered the crisis in the Nigerian Basketball Federation be looked critically into.
“We make bold to state without equivocation that, in the event of failure to give credence to our humble request which is in the overall interest of Basketball and Sports Development in Nigeria, we shall:
“Mobilize relevant stakeholders and supporters and stage a MEGA protest to press home our demands.
“The Nigerian basketball players home and abroad will not play if these issues are not resolved.
“We are also not oblivious of the alternative of litigation as an acceptable way to seek redress.
While graciously looking forward to your most considered action in the circumstance, please accept our warm regards.”