A cross-section of basketball stakeholders and officials are trading blames over the seemed reluctance of the global body, FIBA to announce dates for fresh elections into the board of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
Though both factions of the NBBF had announced their readiness to accept terms of a new election brokered by FIBA, the global body is yet to come out with details of the process, much to the chagrin of both warring parties.
However, it is now a trade of blame between them, as the two factions are in the dark over when FIBA will conduct a new election to the board of the federation.
Last month, FIBA in a letter signed by its Secretary-General, Patrick Bauman, ordered a fresh election to the NBBF board.
The verdict came after a resultant long battle for leadership ensued after June 12 and 13 polls in Kano and Abuja respectively produced Tijjani Umar and Musa Ahmadu-Kida as factional presidents of the NBBF.
Arising from its February 10 meeting in Switzerland, the world basketball body stated, “In the absence of an amicable solution between the parties, the Executive Committee (of FIBA) has decided that a new election shall be held.”
However, FIBA declined to fix a date for the election in their letter to both factions, which has generated an uneasy calm among the country’s basketball faithful.
A board member of Ahmadu-Kida’s group, Col Samuel Ahmedu (rtd) said they had not been briefed about a possible date for the election despite FIBA maintaining communication with their faction.
He insisted that the mantle to run Nigerian basketball had been given to them by FIBA before a fresh election is held.
The FIBA West Africa zone three president said: “Right now, there’s no election, it’s until a date is fixed that’s when we will contest.
“But we have been saddled with the task of running the game before then and we are doing that. If we aren’t recognised, why will FIBA say we should host the World Cup qualifiers?
“FIBA says any club we present from the league is the national champion. So, if they (Umar’s faction) play any league, they can’t play continental basketball.
“Already the major sponsors of the game have seen the signs and they have been speaking with us. There’s no cause for concern.”
Amazingly, though, FIBA officials are also reportedly not happy with the role played by Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) in the NBBF crisis.
In a letter in March, FIBA disclosed that it reserves the right to oversee parts or the entirety of the elections process, therebysidelining the NOC from the new election.
An official alleged that it was the role the NOC played during and after the 2017 elections that necessitated the change of stance by the world body.
The official pointed out: “FIBA stated categorically that their men and not NOC officials will handle the election when they fix a date.
“It means that they have cut off the NOC. It’s because they were talking from both sides of the mouth.
“How will they (NOC) say they supervised the Abuja election and it was free and fair and then later call for settlement between the two factions?”
In adding his voice to the issue, former national team, D’Tigers captain, OlumideOyedejiopined that Kida’s faction had no right to administer the sport after FIBA’s directive in March.
The former Seattle SuperSonics centre added: and vice-president of the Umar board said he is worried that all drama and confusion rocking Nigerian basketball continues.
Oyedeji reasoned: “Tijjani and Kida will continue to do their own things since no date has been fixed. This is why I’m challenging the stakeholders.
“What are they doing? FIBA hasn’t fixed a date but we can do that ourselves so that Tijjani and Kida can go to the poll to test their popularity. Or is anybody scared of the election?
“As far as FIBA is concerned, there’s no NBBF board. FIBA didn’t agree with the June 12 election because it wasn’t all-inclusive.
“It kicked against the June 13 election in Abuja because there was interference from the sports ministry. The letter says FIBA hasn’t given recognition to the Kida board.
“Why can’t we have two members from both factions, like a transition committee, and try to resolve the issue so we can have an election, so that peace can reign. It’s the players that suffer.”