Nigerian basketball players are calling for changes to the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) statutes ahead of the federation’s elective congress.
The NBBF elective congress is scheduled for October 30, 2021 in Benin, Edo state, but players are also voicing concerns about the sudden change of venue.
They said the constitution, allegedly designed by Musa Kida’s faction and kept apart from other stakeholders, was structured to further Kida’s ambition to stay in power.
Speaking at a protest by hundreds of basketball players in Abuja on Thursday, player representative on the NBBF board of directors Stanley Gumut of Mark Mentors said the players were fed up with the antics of the former faction chairman.
“How can an interested party be the referee of the match in which he is also playing?” he inquired.
Kida is the chairman of the NBBF interim committee and he has expressed interest in running for the NBBF presidential election on October 30 without stepping down for an independent body to take over.
âWe are here today to let the world know about our position as players and our dissatisfaction with what is happening with basketball in Nigeria.
âWe had a leader who has no respect for Nigerian basketball players and he wants to stay in power. At the last AGM, he called us thugs and thugs.
âWe want to call on all stakeholders and whoever is in charge to weigh in on this crisis, the crisis is not over.
“He sat down on his own and wrote a special document for himself and his family to stay in this place. [NBBF board].
“We want the government or whoever is in charge of reviewing this document and making it available to other candidates and any other leaders that we want to put in place so that we can rally around them and do change our game.
“We Nigerian players are not comfortable with this document, we are not comfortable with the process, we are not comfortable going to Benin,” he said. declared.
Likewise, Nda Abu, a national team and Kano Pillars player, said the players had had enough and wanted Kida to leave the basketball scene immediately, having done too much damage.
He said, “Let him stay away, we’ll never let him lead us.” He can’t come and kill basketball like that, no way.
âFor more than 3 and a half years, no league, nothing. He only considers the national team, bringing players from America.
“We have the league players, the Division 1 players, the Division 2 players and the players to come here protesting.”
Additionally, Samuel Ogwuche, a former US-based international player, said many children are suffering from the NBBF’s lack of care.
“He [Kida] must leave. It doesn’t work the way it should.
âWe need a leader who will listen to the voices of these children. We need a leader who will show up on the basketball court and watch these kids play and interact with them. We don’t have that right now.
Anaswem Josette of the Customs basketball team, known as JJ Anas, said the players were hungry because there had been no competition for the players.
âThis is what we do for a living. I play basketball to take care of my family but you [Kida] took that away from me.
âI represented the country in 2017 and 2019 as a national team player and so far no payment. What type of leader is he?
The players, including the player representative on the Kida-led board, Ejike Ugboaja, partnered at the Unity Fountain in the Central District before sending a representative to meet with officials from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to submit their requests.
Earlier in the week, D’Tigress players posted a video on social media in which they accused the Kida-led NBBF board of refusing to pay them their fees, among other charges.
Therefore, the Sports Ministry summoned Kida and Tijani Umar to an emergency meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021.
Umar is a former president of the NBBF and enjoys the support of most stakeholders.
The meeting aims to find lasting solutions to the raging crises that shake the NBBF.