Nigerian basketball players are calling for the amendment of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF)’s constitution ahead of the federation’s elective congress.
The NBBF’s elective congress has been slated for 30th October 2021 in Benin, Edo State but the players are also expressing concerns over the sudden change of venue.
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They said the constitution, allegedly designed by the Musa Kida’s faction and has been kept away from other stakeholders, was structured to favour Kida’s ambition to remain in power.
Speaking at a protest staged by hundreds of basketball players in Abuja on Thursday, the players’ representative in the NBBF board, Stanley Gumut of Mark Mentors, said the players were fed up with the antics of the ex-factional president.
“How can an interested party be the referee of the match he is also playing in?” He queried.
Kida is the Chairman of the NBBF Interim Committee and he has indicated interest to contest the NBBF presidential election come 30th October without stepping aside for an independent body to take charge.
“We are here today to let the whole world know our stance as players and our displeasure in what is going on with basketball in Nigeria.
“We had a leader who has no regard for the Nigerian basketball players and he wants to remain in office. In the last AGM, he called us thugs and hoodlums.
“We want to call on all the stakeholders and whoever is in charge to weigh into this crisis, the crisis is not gone.
“He has sat down by himself and done a particular document to suit himself and his family to remain in that place [NBBF board].
“We want the government or whoever is in charge to look into this document and make it available for other contestants and all other leaders that we want to put in place so that we can rally around them and get our game changed.
“We, the Nigerian players, are not comfortable with that document, we are not comfortable with the process, we are not comfortable going to Benin,” he said.
Similarly, Nda Abu, a national team and Kano Pillars player, said the players have had enough and wanted Kida to leave the basketball scene right away, having done too many damages.
He said: “Let him stay aside, we will never allow him to lead us. He can not just come and kill basketball like that, no way.
“For over 3 1/2 years, no league, no nothing. He only considers the national team, bringing players from America.
“We have the league players, Division 1 players, Division 2 players and upcoming players here protesting.”
Also, Samuel Ogwuche, an ex-international player who is based in the United States, said a lot of the kids were suffering as a result of a lack of care from the NBBF.
“He [Kida] needs to go. He is not performing the way he should.
“We need a leader who will listen to the voice of these kids. We need a leader who will turn 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 are hungry as there have not been any competition for players.
“This is what we do for a living. I am playing basketball to take care of my family but you [Kida] have taken that away from me.
“I represented the country in 2017 and 2019 as a national team player and till now no payment. What type of a leader is that?”
The players, including the players’ representative in the Kida-led board, Ejike Ugboaja, matched to the Unity Fountain in the Central District before sending a representative to meet with officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to table their demands.
Earlier in the week, the D’Tigress players circulated a video on social media where they accused the Kida-led NBBF board of refusing to pay them their entitlements among other accusations.
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Consequently, the sports ministry has now summoned Kida and Tijani Umar to an emergency meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021.
Umar is an ex factional president of the NBBF and he enjoys the supports of most of the stakeholders.
The meeting is to find lasting solutions to the raging crises rocking the NBBF.