Gladiators dig in as NBBF factions elect officers
Kida, Mark elected presidents
The crisis in Nigerian basketball shows no sign of abating. Rather, it stepped up a gear, yesterday, when the warring factions went to the polls to elect separate officers, who they claim, will run Nigeria’s basketball for the next four years.
One of the factions, led by immediate past president of the federation, Musa Kida, held its election in Benin City, with representatives of the sport’s world governing body, FIBA, in attendance as observers. It elected Kida unopposed as the federation’s president.
The other faction, loyal to a former president of the body, Tijjani Umar, conducted its polls in Abuja, with representatives of the Federal Ministry of Sports in attendance, chose proprietor of the defunct Mark Mentors, Igoche Mark, as president.
Mark, who was elected and sworn in as early as 8.00 a.m., yesterday, at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, claims legitimacy because the election was conducted in line with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports’ directive.
Kida’s faction’s claim to legitimacy is hinged on the provisions of the NBBF 2019 constitution and the supervisory role of FIBA representatives in the event.
Elected as Mark’s vice president is Osita Nwachukwu, whose claim that he represents the South East is being disputed by stakeholders from the zone.
At the Abuja elections, Mark, representing North Central, polled 11 votes to emerge winner, just as Nwachukwu also got 11 votes to become vice president.
Other zonal representatives on the board are Mohammed Lawal Na’Allah (North West), Ibrahim Gimba (North East), Kingsley Aigbonaga (South South) and Josiah Amedu (South West).
Chairman of the electoral committee, Suleman Muhammed, who is also the vice chairman of the FCT Basketball Association, said, “I am very happy to see that the election was conducted in line with Sports Ministry’s directive. The election was very free and fair. ”
In his acceptance speech, shortly after he was sworn in, Mark thanked “stakeholders for rejecting an attempt to impose leaders on the federation.
“For me, it is exciting because for the first time, stakeholders came together to take the bull by the horns… they have resisted every attempt at imposition. This is time to build the game of basketball. I want all to come together and join in building basketball.”
Other members on his NBBF board are Stanley Gumut (players representative), Tope Oluwosulu (paramilitary representative) and Scot Nnaji (Technical/Coaches representative).
In Benin, Kida was elected unopposed with 37 votes out of the same number cast to affirm his re-election as NBBF president.
The electoral congress, which was declared open by Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, also saw Babatunde Ogunade returning as vice president, while former D’Tigers’ captain, Olumide Oyedeji, joined the board as South West representative.
Ogunade had earlier stepped down as South West representative on the floor of the election to pave way for Oyedeji, who got the mandate of the six states in the zone.
In the race for the Vice Presidency, Ogunade garnered 30 votes, while Oyedeji got seven votes with 28 states out of 37 states present at the congress monitored by FIBA’s Ahmed Elhariri (President of FIBA Zone 5 and member, FIBA Central Board) and Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), represented by its second Vice President, Ishaku Tikon.
Anambra State Basketball Association Chairman, Ugo Udezue, was voted in as the South East representative on the board, while Alhaji Abba Kaka got the nod of the North East zone representatives. Surajo Yusuff was elected as the North West representative, while Adamu Jalong got the backing of the North West delegates.
In his acceptance speech, Kida thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, which is a challenge to do more after a successful first term in office.
“I thank you for the confidence reposed in me by your vote and my acceptance to continue to serve, I am in no doubt that the task ahead will be simple. However, no task is insurmountable if we put our minds to it and forge ahead together.”
He seized the opportunity to call on all stakeholders to join hands with the new NBBF board to move the game to greater heights.
Others sworn into Kida’s board are Victor Okoro (Military/Paramilitary), Col Samuel Ahmedu (International Representative), Prof. Musa Yakassai (NapherSD).
Amongst dignitaries present at the Elective Congress were Mrs. Sebina Chikere (Senior Special Assistant to the Edo State Deputy Governor), who represented the Edo State Government, Ibrahim Adam Iman (Taraba State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development) and Goni Nukar Lawan (Yobe State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development).
As at yesterday, the ministry of youth and sports development was yet to declare its stance on the polls, but a source in the ministry said that the Federal Government was in concert with the Mark election, citing the presence of some of the ministry’s staff at the election as proof