The Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) has refuted a press release shared by the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) that stated that the NBBF elective congress slated for October 30 in Benin City has been indefinitely suspended.
The press release by Ismaila Abubakar, the FMYSD permanent secretary, read: “Having reviewed the crisis around the Nigeria Basketball Federation and in consideration of the several attempts by the supervising ministry to resolve the lingering crisis and fractionalisation in the basketball family, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development hereby directs an indefinite suspension of the NBBF Elective Congress scheduled for 30 October 2021 in Benin City. All concerned Stakeholders are expected to take note and comply.
“This decision is necessary to avert further deterioration of the leadership crisis and towards finding a workable solution to the current disagreements within the federation. The rancour-free development of basketball in Nigeria is of utmost importance.
“The recent elections into the NBBF Board from the various constituencies (zones, NAWIS, Military/Paramilitary, NAPHER.SD etc) stand and those elected remain members-elect.”
In its reaction, the NBBF released a statement of its own that negated the claims made in the FMYSD press release, while stating that any such suspension amounted to “a usurpation of the powers of the NBBF Congress as enshrined in the NBBF Statutes.”
Signed by the NBBF caretaker committee chairman, Ahmadu Musa Kida, the statement, released from the official Twitter account of the NBBF as threaded tweets, reads in full: “The attention of the NBBF is drawn to an unsigned Press Release credited to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD), on several Social Media, dated 24th October 2021, stating that the NBBF Elective Congress slated for Benin City, Edo State, on the 30th of October, 2021, as approved by the NBBF Extra-Ordinary Congress of 9th October, 2021, in Abuja, which was in line with the provisions of the 2019 NBBF approved Statutes, has been postponed indefinitely.
“This purported postponement is without any legal basis and indeed a usurpation of the powers of the NBBF Congress as enshrined in the NBBF Statutes. It is also repugnant to Natural Justice, Equity and a good conscience and amounts to the arbitrary use of power after the Ministry has confirmed on several occasions to the existence of our constitution and the supremacy of the NBBF Congress to conduct its affairs as dictated by the NBBF constitution.
“We make the above statement affirming that after 2017, from the FIBA fact-finding Team’s visit to Nigeria in 2018, FIBA, supported by pronouncements by the Nigerian Courts, had put to rest who is the recognized President of the NBBF.
“The postponement of a duly approved Elective Congress under the guise of a non-existent leadership tussle is therefore meant to mislead all concerned in order to justify this ultra vires act.
“This contradicts the following, in every material particular;
“a. The FMYSD had clearly stated vide their press release dated 30th of October, 2021. that the NBBF is amongst the 6 National Sporting Federations that have their approved Constitutions and these will guide their Electoral processes.
“b. That at the request of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), FIBA wrote a letter affirming that it had approved the NBBF Constitution which shall be the document to drive the NBBF 2021 Elections.
“c. After several meetings called by the ministry and the NOC, between the Chairman, Caretaker Committee and the former NBBF President, Tijani Umar, the FMYSD released a Press Statement dated 30th September 2021, to the effect that the NBBF Constitution approved by FIBA is sacrosanct and its provisions shall be the binding document for the conduct of the 2021 NBBF Elections.
“Based on the above, and in line with the provisions of the NBBF Constitution, the Federation held an Extra-Ordinary Congress in Abuja on 9th October 2021. The Congress, inter alia, set up an Electoral and Appeals Committee and approved Benin as Venue for the Elective Congress (by 24 Yes Votes against 2 No Votes), which was also approved to take place on the 30th of October, 2021, in strict compliance to the provisions of the 2019 NBBF statues.
“It is instructive to state that the Permanent Secretary, who issued the Press Release, postponing the Elective Congress scheduled for 30th October, indefinitely, delivered the Keynote Address at the Extraordinary Congress of 9th October 2021. Also in attendance were the Representative of the NOC, Engr Tikon, who was delegated to attend by the NOC President, Engr Habu Gummel and Director FEAD at the FMYSD Dr S. Evbojaiye.
“This purported postponement by the Permanent Secretary, FMYSD, which has acknowledged that only the NBBF Congress has the powers to act, in line with the NBBF Statutes, leaves much to be desired. It is clearly an overreach to usurp the powers of the NBBF Congress since the NBBF has functional and approved statutes.
“All the delegates to the elective congress have received their letters of Invitation and are ready to attend. All these congresses at a huge cost to the federation that has a deficit treasury.
“We fully know that FIBA is aware and is vastly informed on this matter.
“In view of the full arrangements already made for the Elective Congress in Benin, on the 30th of October, 2021, We hereby wish to inform all invited delegates and Candidates that the NBBF is still going ahead with the Elective Congress as approved by the Extraordinary Congress of the 9th of October, 2021, unless it is decided otherwise by the NBBF Congress.”