The avoidable leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) is telling on the federation’s sponsorship portfolio, according to Musa Kida, NBBF president.
Kida stated this in his welcome address at the 2019 NBBF Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Stakeholders’ Forum on Saturday in Abuja.
The NBBF president said the development was the fallout of the bad blood in the federation following the 2017 elections into its board.
“Against the background of the acrimonious election in 2017, this is indeed a time for sober reflection concerning the state of basketball in the country.
“Our sponsorship portfolio has taken a hit occasioned by the artificial NBBF crisis. However, we continue to make appreciable progress in this area,” Kida said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saturday’s AGM was the first since the 2017 elections into the board of the NBBF.
Two parallel elections were held in Kano and Abuja, leading to the factionalisation of the federation.
Kida, whose faction claims legitimacy, however, reiterated his willingness to work with all basketball stakeholders for the good of the game.
“I wish to state categorically that the present NBBF board is willing to work with each and every basketball stakeholder in Nigeria devoid of any sentiments.
“There is no ‘us’ or ‘them’ and we will continue to do all it takes to carry everyone along,” Kida said.
Kida may be referring to the Tijanni Umar-led NBBF faction, which has refused to recognise the Kida-led board.
Kida, a former Rivers State Basketball Association Chairman, however, urged basketball stakeholders in Nigeria to join hands to enable the game attain its desired height in Nigeria.
He also used the opportunity to enumerate the achievements of NBBF since he took over as head of the board.
He said Nigeria participated in and won the 2017 Afrobasket Women tournament in Mali.
The national women’s basketball team, the D’Tigress, went ahead to become the first African side to reach the quarter-finals of the FIBA Women’s Wold Cup in Spain.
He also stated that Nigeria became the first country to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The national men’s basketball team, the D’Tigers, also reached the final of the 2017 Afrobasket Men.
In his Goodwill message, Habu Gumel, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said the present NBBF board has ushered in the dawn of a new era in Nigeria’s basketball.
Represented by Francis Orbih, a vice president of the NOC, Gumel commended the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, for engineering the democratisation of sports federations.
“The minister led the democratisation of Nigeria’s sports federations, which has led to the achievements of the NBBF we are celebrating today.
“NBBF’s achievements have made other federations strive for success by desiring to fall in line with the minister’s democratisation,” Gumel said.
He also commended the NBBF for passing a new constitution which he said would be adopted at the AGM by delegates.
Hisham Elhariry, representative of world basketball governing body (FIBA) at the event, described Nigeria as a basketball powerhouse.
“Nigeria is one of the greatest basketball countries in all categories of the game. Nigeria has achieved great success in basketball, especially in the past two years,” he said.
He also congratulated the country for being the first to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The NBBF 2019 AGM and Stakeholders’ Forum, attended by delegates from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, is expected to officially kick start a new basketball season.
It is also expected that delegates will ratify a new constitution for the federation in line with FIBA’s Statute.(NAN)
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