72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari rescinded his government decision to suspend Nigeria’s basketball teams from all international competitions for two, factional president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Igoche Mark, has insisted that the struggle to liberate the game of basketball in the country continue.
He warned those spreading rumours that he has conceded his position as the duly elected NBBF President to Engr. Musa Kida to desist from making an already bad situation worse, saying his ultimate goal is to see the soul of Nigeria’s basketball rescued from shackles of doom.
Mark, though in a statement reacting to Thursday’s announcement which reversed Nigeria’s self-imposed ban from international basketball, welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to rescind his earlier directive withdrawing Nigeria from international basketball, but said he was saddened that the impasse in the NBBF stalled the participation of D’Tigress at the upcoming FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sidney, Australia; thus making the ladies the sacrificial lamb.
He insisted that the ladies should not be made to bear the brunt of the regressive infighting when those who had held the game down for years were responsible for the two years’ ban placed by the President.
“I must commend Mr. President for lifting the ban placed on basketball, indeed it is a great joy to all of us. I remain eternally grateful. However, I feel sad for our D’Tigress, because these ladies laboured and toiled to get the ticket but they have been replaced with Mali, and their efforts seem to have been wasted, while those that have held the game down are celebrating the President’s change of mind. Our ladies must not be the sacrificial lamb always.
“I am by this statement making a passionate appeal to all stakeholders of the game that in accordance with the mandate given to me by genuine stakeholders of Basketball on January 31, 2022, I remain the President of the NBBF. There was never a time that the Sports Ministry asked me to step down for anybody, besides, it is the responsibility of key basketball stakeholders to elect their NBBF President.
“The seat of the NBBF President is neither by appointment nor selection, those spreading the fake news that I have quit my mandate as NBBF President are either enemies of our beautiful game or mischief makers. This fight is not about Igoche Mark but it is for the liberation of basketball,” Mark declared.