A group of Nigerian basketball fans under the aegis of Nigerian Sports Advancement Group (NSAG) has called on the federal government to investigate Musa Kida-led caretaker committee of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF
) over alleged corruption.
The group in a press briefing in Abuja on Monday alleged that while the FG has released money for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the federation through the national team coach opens a ‘GOFUNDME’ account where ex-basketball players who are based abroad sent in money to assist the team in Olympics participation, hence the need for proper accountability.
The chairman of the group, Barr. Charles Offiong, said the NBBF should be asked to give account of the money realized in the last four years because according to him, no single home-based basketball player was listed in the Olympics male team (D’Tigers) and the female team (D’Tigress) and wonder what have they been using the money for if not to develop players for such events.
“Our responsibility is to raise the alarm whenever things are no going well with our sports; mostly from the administrative angle to enable us find a solution.
“This is because sports in Nigeria have proven to be a unifying factor for the relative peace we enjoy in this country, notwithstanding the recent insecurity challenges in the country
“Basketball is gradually fizzling out in Nigeria because of the lack of foresight and good initiative on the part of those managing it at the moment,” he said.
Offiong noted that instead of Musa Kida led the NBBF caretaker committee looking for ways to develop the game of basketball which was competing with football in the past in the country, he is busy plotting how to stop former basketball players from contesting the forthcoming NBBF board elections.
“Let’s take for instance; the present crop of players going to Olympics, it is unfortunate to note that no single home-based player could make both the D’Tigers and the D’Tigress teams.
“Also, there are unnecessary interferences and connivance by actors in the administration, to use draconian guidelines to stop former international basketball players both in Nigeria and abroad from contesting the position of the President in the upcoming elections.
“These are individuals who are eager to give back to the nation and are fully prepared to contribute their quota by joining the leadership cadre so that they move the game from the present position to where it ought to be.
“We therefore kick against such moves by these actors and warn that if this is not checked by government, it will further sink the game in the country,” he said.
The NSAG chairman noted that the move by the Musa Kida-led NBBF board to place a ban on ex-internationals from contesting the federation’s presidency was a move against the growth of the game.
“This must be condemned in its entirety.”
He was of the opinion that certain former basketball players could be the messiah the sport in Nigeria was waiting for.
Offiong listed such ex-players to include Masai Ujiri (President, Toronto Raptors), Isa Umar (NBBF board member) and Ejike Ugboaja (Players representative at the NBBF).
“If Nigeria can have a foreign coach and foreign-based players, why not allow Nigerians in diaspora who have experience in the game of basketball and administration to be involved in the board by contesting for the NBBF Presidency?
“This is in order to take the game to the appropriate level.
“We are of the opinion that any Nigerian, home or abroad, who wishes to contest for any position in the upcoming basketball federation elections should be allowed once the statutes are not against it.
“We therefore call on the Minister of Youth and Sports Development to set up the Electoral Committee accordingly.
“While doing this, the interests of Nigerians both home and abroad should be included and taken care of, because anything short of this will be resisted by all,” he said