By Victor Okoye
Abuja, April 12, 2022 (NAN) The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development needs to do what is right and definite about the ongoing Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) imbroglio, Igoche Mark, the federation’s president, says.
Mark told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that the minister, Sunday Dare, as well as the ministry’s leadership needed to come clean about the seeming-endless crisis which has crippled Nigerian basketball.
“I believe the minister and the ministry have the best interest of the basketball game at heart. They know the right thing to do and I believe they will do it.
“But it is time they all come out and specifically say something and do what is right about what we have on ground now,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mark presides over the board of a faction of the Nigerian basketball family, following his election on Jan. 31 in Abuja.
But there is also another faction of the NBBF, headed by Musa Kida as president and which had its election same Jan. 31 but in Benin.
While the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has since acknowledged that two elections indeed took place, it has also stated that it was looking into all the issues involved.
“The minister has said the ministry was aware there were two elections, and that they would look into the issue and come out with a position. But I wonder why this has been taking too long.
“We have had several forms of communication with them, in terms of physical engagements and correspondences, and I think we should know where we are by now,” Mark said.
“Enough is enough. We should by now be delivering on our promise to the Nigerian basketball family, and there should be no going back and forth,” he added.
The NBBF president said he and his board members had planned that by now they should have moved far into their plans for the game and other activities for the year.
“But here we are still talking about crisis in the federation. I think we should have moved beyond this by now. And, I do believe we should all rise together to bring basketball out of the situation we are presently in.”
He stated that the basketball sport has witnessed a lamentable situation in the last four to five years in Nigeria, with decline setting into the game because of the prolonged crisis.
“It should not be about the World or African Championship or the Olympics we have been attending, but about a united home front, about the domestic game, about grassroots development and about the players.
“And this is why I am standing with the players, in their call for a crisis-free Nigerian game. They are the mainstay of our sport and they have been abandoned and neglected for long.
“They must therefore be listened to, and they are saying they want to play the game. I don’t think that is too much for them to ask,” Mark said.
He assured that NBBF under his leadership would not be distracted and would be focused on how to develop the game in the country, especially from the grass roots.
“The situation we have now is that there is a group who have nothing to offer basketball and who are trying to dismantle the good things they met on ground.
“And it is all because of personal interests and the desire to make for themselves some retirement benefits.
“But I and the members of the NBBF board will not be distracted. We will be focused and we will focus on how to move the game forward, from the grass roots up to the international level.
“The important thing is to provide the space for the players to do their thing and play the game. The local league that has not been there for about five years now should be back,” the NBBF president said.
He disclosed that the federation was already holding talks with prospective sponsors in order to “bring about a new dawn in Nigerian basketball”.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)