A group of major basketball stakeholders, Nigerian Basketball Vanguard, have unfolded their agenda to rescue Nigeria’s basketball from mediocre and strengthen the sport for the betterment of the players and the country.
The group, which comprises former players of the national teams, national league, collegiate, state basketball association’s chairmen, referees, technical commissioners, club owners and media practitioners met in Abuja to demand for fair play and equity in the forthcoming NBBF board elections, scheduled to take place on September 30th in Abuja.
While speaking on behalf of the group, former president of the NBBF, Tijjani Umar, accused the former minister of youth and sports development, Mr Solomon Dalung, of destroying the foundation and structures of Nigeria’s basketball by handing over the sport to traders.
However, he said they’re now determined to stop the institutional destruction of the game of basketball and it’s structures in the country. “I don’t know where basketball is better represented in Nigeria today than in this group. We would not hold our hands watching mediocre running Nigeria’s basketball.
“In 2017, a mediocre guy cowarded all of us, and the way he left told us that he doesn’t deserve to be there in the first place because he came and destroyed our sports. He destroyed the very ferment on which Nigeria’s sports, particularly basketball, was built.
“I’m speaking of the sacrifice and resilience that built Nigeria’s basketball and we won the African Nations Basketball title in 2015 and placed Nigeria on the pedestal that it belongs to.
“From today, the line is drawn and the major objectives of this group is to stop the institutional destruction of basketball and it’s structures in Nigeria, checkmate the corruption in the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), address the fraud and forgery in elections into the board of the NBBF and strengthen the NBBF structures. Our house is weak and has termites all over the place.
“There must be accountability and we are going to restructure Nigeria’s basketball through accountable management of resources.
We demand for open and transparent elections, accountability from the sports authority including the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) through legitimate means to ensure there is fair play, equity and inclusion in the overall conduct of NBBF elections,” Umar said.
Umar also added that: “Nigeria deserves something better than what it has today in basketball. We deserve better deals and we are going to pursue it relentlessly and work with the Nigeria Olympic Committee to ensure that there is fairness and equity in federation elections.”
According to him, the 2021 National Sports Federation elections would mark the turning point of positive change in Nigeria’s basketball and urged all the stakeholders to fully play their rules and ensure that corruption and frauds as a method of running sports in Nigeria is defeated, subdued and completely uprooted.
“The 2017 National Sports Federation elections conducted by a certain Solomon Dalung was a watershed in corruption and frauds. We have the documents, video clips, pictures and all the newspaper cuts about the frauds, charades that took place, but we didn’t do anything because we wanted the national teams to focus. We built the national teams, we own the teams and didn’t want to destroy them. But we are now back to the starting point, the elections and we will not hold our hands watching them doing another charade again.”