The proprietor of Mark Mentor Basketball Club of Abuja, Igoche Mark, has described the alleged misappropriation of the Kwese Basketball League money by the former president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar as part of ploy by the schemers and selfish individuals to distract and derail the process of restoring normalcy to Nigeria basketball.
He said those making the frivolous and unproven allegations against the person of Tijjani Umar, it was in their stock trade to smear the name of persons at the helm of affairs in Nigeria’s basketball in the past 30 years.
He urged the scammers to look themselves in the mirror well, saying they lack moral justification to fire the first shot and ought to know that whoever comes to equity must come with clean hands.
Mark in a statement he personally signed and made available to LEADERSHIP Sports, appealed to basketball enthusiasts and serious minded stakeholders not to be distracted, saying the schemers are at work to shift focus from the ongoing efforts to restore normalcy in the Nigeria’s basketball following the new timeline given by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for the constitution of a new NBBF Board.
“First and foremost, those making these damaging unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Umar have made it their stock in trade to always smear the name of any person at the helm of affairs of basketball in the past 30 years. They have become accustomed to making frivolous and unproven allegations once it doesn’t suit them.
“For me, I see their unsavory development as a ploy and strategy to distractand derail the process of restoring normalcy to Nigeria basketball “With the new timeline given by the Ministry for the constitution of a new NBBFBoard, it is crystal clear that these schemers are also bent on shifting the focus of serious minded stakeholders, away from the unwholesome issues thattainted the turbulent reign of the past NBBF Board.
“As a matter of fact, those accusing Tijani Umar do not have any moral justification to fire the first shot, because they ought to know that whoever comes to equity, must himself come with clean hands.
“It is on record, and undisputable too, that Mr. Tijani Umar as NBBF President from 2013 to 2017 out-performed them in many spheres.
“As NBBF President, Mr. Umar blazed the trail by steering the D’Tigers to their first FIBA Afrobasket titlein 2015, while ensuring that the team qualified for the 2016 Olympicsin Rio, Brazil.
The same level of success was replicated by the D’Tigress who in addition to qualifying for the Olympics, won the first of their back-to-back FIBA Afrobasket Titles.
“On the domestic scene, the DSTV sponsored Men’s Premier League, Zenith BankWomen’s Premier League flourished, Mr. Umar attracted Kwese Sports, who committed an unprecedented amount of money to sponsorship including the much needed media exposure for the local league.
“For me these are laudable achievements, worth celebrating and need to be replicated.
“This act of trying to smear the name of Mr. Umarat a time when stakeholders and lovers of the game are much more aware, more informed and desiring for the survival of the game, comes as a huge distraction aimed at taking focus from regressive performances, more so that Nigerians are asking for accountability of the last four years especially on funds appropriated and released in those years.
“I therefore enjoin Nigerians and especially basketball stakeholders to disregard these baseless allegations, calculated to derail serious minded persons on how to restore the nation’s No.2 sport on the path of peace, growth and prosperity; both locally and internationally.
“My advice to these disenchanted persons is for them to give Mr. Tijani Umar a standing ovation for the contributions he made towards developing the game in Nigeria. He showed his love for the game and opened the horizon to greater possibilities,” Mark said.