The delegation of Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) to Nigeria is of a view that the country has huge potential to become one of the best in the sport across the world, but interjected that the nation needs a good association to run the game.
The team arrived in Nigeria early this week to meet with all parties involved in ongoing crises rocking Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).
After making a stop at Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) for their last deliberations, FIBA is expected to take a decision on the NBBF crisis in March.
Leader of the three-man delegation to Nigeria,Alphonsus Bile said the fact-finding mission was fruitful and assured that FIBA would take a decision in the best interest of all involved in the dispute.
Bile went on to stress that Nigeria has got to a level where it needs a good national body for basketball in order to move the game forward in the country.
He, however, disclosed that the delegation had no mandate to reveal what was discussed at the meetings and assured that FIBA would come up with a decision on the matter.
“Our job is to meet all the parties involved in the crisis and send all the fact we gathered to the FIBA Central Board that will now take a decision on the matter in March,” Bile said.
The delegation earlier held meetings with the two fact ions of the country’s basketball federation, as the world body tries to resolve the lingering leadership tussle between Musa Kida and Tijani Umar.
FIBA Executive Director, Africa, Alphonse Bile; Special Advisor to FIBA Secretary-General, Mr.LubomirKotleba; and FIBA Competition Commission member Fode Amara Condemade, arrived in the country on Sunday.
They earlier held a meeting with sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung in Abuja on Monday, during which the nation’s sports leader insisted there was no crisis in Nigerian basketball.
“The position of government is that there is no crisis in basketball,” Dalung was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide NnekaAnibeze.
“We only heard and read in the papers of the allegations against government of interference in basketball election.”
The NBBF has been split into two parallel groups after double elections on June 12 and 13, 2017, installed Tijjani Umar and Musa Ahmadu-Kida respectively as presidents of the body.
FIBA had given Nigeria November 30 deadline to resolve the crisis but extended it to February 28, after both parties refused to give up.
The delegation held a closed-door meeting with Umar’s faction in Abuja on Tuesday, before meeting with Ahmadu-Kida same day in Lagos.
It was also learnt that the officials will hold a meeting with Nigeria Olympic Committee in Lagos on Wednesday to find out about their role in the electoral process.
The report of the peace meeting will form part of the agenda for FIBA’s meeting on March 10, when it would pronounce its resolution on the logjam.
“The series of meetings with the parties involved is to enable FIBA to find out government’s involvement, if there was an interference or not,” an NOC official said.
Athlete’s Representative of the Umar faction Stanley Gumut is hopeful FIBA’s visit would begin the process of reconciliation between the warring parties.
He said: “It’s a welcome development because our group has always spoken of due process, and with the coming of FIBA, that seems in the offing regardless of personal differences.
“If the other group is open and ready to put our differences aside, we are ready. Our group has always been ready for peace.”
Spokesman for Ahmadu-Kida’s NBBF, Afolabi Oni said: “The meeting with FIBA officials is still ongoing, so I can’t make any comment on the issue.”