The protracted crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) is far from over as players across the country have unanimously kicked the choice of Benin, Edo State, as venue for October 30th elective congress.
The players who stage a peaceful protest on Thursday in Abuja to press home their demand, the choice of Benin was orchestrated attempt to impose embattled former president of the NBBF, Musa Kida, on the suffering Nigerian basketball players, technical officials and other stakeholders who are for the past four years of Kida-led leadership of NBBF have not had food on their table due to the dead of basketball leagues in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the players, newly elected players-representative, Stanley Gumut, has called on the Presidency, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and Nigeria Olympic Committee to intervene, saying the players who are actors and real owners of the games basketball would not have a voice if the elections are allow to hold in Benin.
He said the former president Kida has no regard for the players he wants to govern and should be prevented from contesting the elections.
“The former president of the NBBF has no regard for the players and called them thugs at the last AGM.
“We’re calling on the Presidency, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Nigeria Olympic Committee and whoever is in authority in the country to see that Nigeria’s basketball players are suffering and it was evident in the video on the social media that our female team that have been winning laurels for us have not been paid.
If I turn around and show the group of gentlemen and ladies that for the last four years have had food on their table, simply because there are no basketball leagues in Nigeria.
“Going forward in the forthcoming elections, they are comfortable with the people that have forged documents to be able to return themselves to power.
We are calling on the government to intervene and get us an alternative venue to be able to elect the best leaders for ourselves. We don’t want a situation whereby they would force a leader who has in the last four years killed our local leagues and basketball in the country. We are calling on the Minister and NOC to call for an all-inclusive congress that will find a lasting solution to the crisis,” Gumut said.
In the same vein, the proprietor of Mark Mentor Basketball Club, Igoche Mark, advocated for a new leadership that pays attention to the welfare of the basketball players in Nigeria.
“It is funny that we now have an association that doesn’t care about the players, technical officials and nothing but themselves.
“For me, enough is enough, it is either we want to develop basketball or otherwise we quit basketball, but that is not the best option. But if you look at the crowd here, players here, imaging them not doing anything and of the truth for the past four as they said, there has not been any local league here. Since I started playing basketball, year in year out there have been local leagues. if there is no local, what is the motivation?
“I saw a video from the former president of the NBBF saying the local players are not good enough to play in the national team and that was the reason why they were not invited into the national team.
For me, that is unfortunate. If I’m not good today, the best thing is to encourage me to work hard, but the fact is that they are not given the opportunity.
“Also, how can anybody explain that the female basketball team that have been winning laurels, back to back African champions for three times, have not been paid.”