President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Alhaji Tijani Umar, has described as retrogressive the continuous challenges which various sporting federations face in their day-to-day activities due to lack of adequate manpower and non-availability of facilities as well as funds.
Speaking to Blueprint Sport in Abuja, Alhaji Umar, who was visibly disturbed by the inability of the his federation to access funds to execute its programmes and activities in line with its mandate, stated that the current NBBF board had to go cap in hand to get things done.
According to the NBBF boss, “We have three NSC officials in the basketball federation and three persons only cannot run a federation. We are under-staffed, under-equipped and under-funded. And because of these three reasons, no matter how much effort a president or secretariat put, it will just be a drop of water in the ocean.
On the availability of resources, Umar maintained: “Again, if we are to run the federation the way it is in other climes, board members are supposed to be fully engaged and paid. They will be given money which they require to execute many responsibilities. But here it is not what is obtainable. Rather, we run the federation by taking money from our pockets. There is no way we can achieve success because we are constrained.
On the plans to get a befitting structure for the federation, Alhaji Umar said: “At the moment, we are beginning to take steps that will enable us to have our permanent office here in the National Stadium and our expectation is to get the building ready by 2016 so that we can commission it by the time we come back from the Olympics. We at the NBBF are under pressure to do things correctly.
“Most importantly, we will build a youth and women development department to enable us to begin a development programme that will make those coming after us to work in a more conducive environment.
Let me also say this: the system is shortchanging us and it is unfair. There must be budget for national teams. The National Sports Commission has not been fair to us. As I am talking to you, we are still indebted to the tune of millions of naira from the last Afrobasket as well Afrobasket in 2011. We can’t move forward like this.”