Concerned Basketball Stakeholders in Nigeria have decried moves aimed at disrupting the NBBF Elections slated for 31st January, 2022. These individuals under the aegis of a so – called Association of Ex Players, led by Ejike Ugbuaja, an acolyte of a candidate in the NBBF Elections, yesterday stormed the Federal Ministry of Youths & Sports threatening fire and brimstone to lead protests on the streets if the Sports Ministry does not stop the elections.
At a time law abiding Nigerians are heaving a sigh of relief due to the upcoming elections that will bring the game back to normalcy for the benefits of our youths, it is disheartening to watch as these individuals plan to put a wheel in the cog of our collective progress.
Concerned Stakeholder, Hon Fubara Fibika, speaking from Portharcourt this morning has this to say; “This is an unfortunate development. Nigerian basketball is too big for a group of disgruntled individuals to hold everyone to ransome. The Honourable Minister of Sports has taken the best line of action by allowing the NBBF to conclude its Congress and Electoral Process which was put on hold, at the request of the FMY&S, after it commenced in line with the provisions of the 2019 NBBF Constitution 3 months ago.
The credentials of those involved in this anti – social behavior is suspect. Aside Ejike Ugbuaja, who played at local and International level, the other members of this group are practical unknown with no pedigree and their mission is suspect”. The question is; what is their constituency, whom are they representing and are they eligible to vote at the NBBF Elective Congress?
Akeem Busari, spokesperson for Friends of Nigerian Sports, FNS, a group of sports journalists, Stakeholders and enthusiasts States; ” Are they the only ex players in Nigeria? Calling this group “Association of Ex Players” is an afterthought because they are simply friends and followers of Igoche Mark who has declared his interest to contest in the NBBF Elections. Igoche Mark is a gentleman, who among others, is duly qualified to run for whatever position he chooses to and they should encourage him to complete a Nomination Form to join the race rather resort to a tactics of if we can’t have it then let it be damaged. Thank God the Electoral Committee in line with the authority granted to it by Congress has extended the deadline up till 27th January, 2022, for intending candidates to summit their Forms of Intent to contest any position of their choice”.
Mr Busari further advised the group to refrain from derogatory remarks and blackmail on Facebook against persons in authority which are aimed at misinformation. Again basketball is not only played or administered in Abuja where the group is based. The 36 States and FCT Basketball Associations also have stakes in this process and therefore a few individuals should be allowed to hold our country to ransom.
It is clear that the same set of people in collaboration with others instigated the Female National Team players to protest on Social Media. The same group also sponsored the Street Protests in Abuja and Makurdi towards the end of last year whereby planning for the Street protests was caught on tape. Having tried to stop the elections and failed, they have once again resorted to the only language they are comfortable with and that is engaging in protest. Their aim, which has been expressed openly for all to hear, is for FIBA to ban Nigeria if election is nor held by 31st January, 2022 . So much so from persons who claim to be Ex Players that care for the progress of Nigeria Basketball.
Other Stakeholders also call on the FMY& S to disregard the threats from the group an concentrating on the task ahead.