Most lovers of basketball in Nigeria acquired with shock the latest order by President Muhammadu Buhari for a right away withdrawal of the nation from worldwide basketball competitions. The minister of youth and sports activities growth, Sunday Dare, who made the announcement on behalf of the President stated that the choice was to allow the federal government to pay attention efforts on revamping the game from the grassroots in addition to revive the home leagues that had gone moribund.
Whereas calling on gamers, officers, followers, and different stakeholders to stay calm, Dare assured that the federal government would utilise the break time to handle all contentious points plaguing the game. To show this dedication, the federal authorities by the Ministry of Youth and Sports activities Improvement had since constituted an Interim Administration Committee (IMC) to supervise the affairs of basketball within the nation for the two-year break from worldwide schedules.
This growth got here amidst preparations by each the D’Tigers and D’Tigress for the upcoming occasions and has been erroneously condemned by a number of commentators. However for shut watchers of the ability tussle inside the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) within the final 5 years, the federal authorities’s choice didn’t come as a shock as a result of there have been comparable calls from completely different quarters up to now, however the authorities intentionally let issues roll by within the hope that frequent sense will prevail.
It’s pertinent to notice that the first perform of a nationwide sports activities federation is to supply alternatives for extra individuals to become involved, improve participation and assist individuals progress alongside a ‘sports activities growth continuum’.
However the gladiators within the NBBF’s squabble, for 5 years, watched as native skills wasted away and the struggle for self-benefit cripple the home leagues and deprive our native skills of alternatives to be noticed by membership scouts.
Regrettably, in our opinion, the basketball courts within the nation have been shut down whereas directors fought for the management of the game, and similar to the saying that when two elephants struggle it’s the grass that suffers. Nigeria’s basketball was hit to its lowest ebb on the house entrance.
First, the lack of the Kwese title sponsorship of a $12 million five-year deal after its first yr. The inaugural season of the Kwese League noticed Champions Kano Pillars go dwelling with N20 million and N25 million cut up at N15m and N10m for the primary and second runners-up. It was the best prize cash paid for any skilled sports activities league in Nigeria and the complete West Africa area.
The battle which has now prolonged to 5 years noticed numerous golf equipment fold up attributable to their lack of ability to maintain and generate earnings from sponsors as Zenith Financial institution additionally withdrew its sponsorship of the ladies’s basketball league and a few gamers have been left with no selection however to change into artisans to make a residing since their beloved sports activities careers and earnings supply have been taken away.
With no home season and the attendant match rustiness, the continental membership championship home windows have been slammed whereas the nationwide groups’ call-ups have been made the unique reserve for foreign-based gamers for the aforementioned causes not essentially due to a greater document of efficiency.
The coaches, referees, and different match officers additionally needed to bear the brunt of the management disaster within the NBBF that rendered the home leagues deskbound.
Whereas the NBBF deadlock continued, each direct and oblique try by the Sports activities Ministry to reconcile the warring factions landed on deaf ears and the world basketball governing physique, FIBA, rejected each authorities’s invitation to intervene within the disaster.
Within the thought of opinion of this newspaper, the choice to withdraw from worldwide competitions could also be seen as too harsh simply as now we have trigger to fret that the self-imposed two-year ban could not see a right away finish to the management disaster within the NBBF. Nonetheless, we urge Nigerians to know that the federal government can not fold its arms and watch a number of people maintain the nation to ransom.
Regardless, we’re of the opinion that as an alternative of banning the nation from all basketball worldwide capabilities, the federal authorities ought to have concentrated extra on resolving the protracted management disaster which was ignited way back to 2017 when Engineer Musa Kida and Tijani Umar each laid declare to the presidency of the NBBF.
The previous Sports activities Minister, Solomon Dalung, was alleged to have laid the inspiration for the disaster when he was accused of interfering within the electoral course of that produced the primary two factional presidents of the NBBF board.
Identical to Dalung, his successor Sunday Dare additionally did not midwife a rancor-free NBBF election. His administration has additionally produced two factional presidents. Whereas this newspaper welcomes the choice to revamp the game from the grassroots for an all-inclusive participation, we aren’t oblivious of the truth that solely a structure acceptable to all stakeholders would produce free and honest elections and save Nigeria from the useless headache of two factional NBBF presidents.