The federal government has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigerian national teams from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years.
According to the minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare, the decision was sequential to the unending leadership crisis plaguing the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
The Minister, who spoke through the permanent secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, the lingering leadership crisis in NBBF crippled the development of domestic basketball in Nigeria, saying the two years withdrawal from international competition will enable the government to revamp the sport from the grassroots and resuscitate the domestic leagues which have become moribund.
The Minister while reiterating federal government commitment to the development of basketball in an atmosphere free of rancour and squabbles, said an Interim Management Committee (IMC) will be set up to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues.
He urged players, officials, fans and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as the government embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilise the game of basketball in the country.
“This will allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria. This will aid in the growth and success of the sport in the long-term interest of the country,” Dare said
Recall that the Nigerian basketball players had on Tuesday stormed the office of the Sports Minister located inside Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja to demand immediate resolution of the crises plaguing the NBBF.
The players drawn from 16 domestic clubs including Gombe Bull, Nigerian Customs, Kano Pillars, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC defenders), Kwara Falcons and others said the procession to the Minister office was part of resolutions reached at end of their meeting held inside the main bowl of the Abuja Stadium last Tuesday.
Two parallel elections were held in 2017 (in Kano and Abuja) and 2022 (in Benin and Abuja), leading to the emergence of separate boards laying claim to the leadership of NBBF to date.