The Nigerian basketball women’s national team is in Mali defeating every opponent they’ve faced and chasing the ultimate prize; to be champions at the FIBA Women’s Afrobasketball 2017. The awesome talent and skills displayed, the team spirit, determination and ambition, you would think that these players represent a functional system and you would be wrong.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, is divided into 2 houses; the Tijani Umar led board and the Musa Kida led board. After the June 13 elections which saw the 2 factions conduct separate elections, Umar in Kano and Musa in Abuja, the case was then transferred to World governing body, FIBA as the ultimate body to deliver a verdict.
FIBA responded with the letter below, leaving a head scratching dilemma for most basketball lovers and a subtle but very debilitating power tussle between both boards.
Several questions arose:
1. If FIBA does not recognise either one of the elections, on what basis are they communicating with the Musa Kida led board since the Tijani Umar led board was the board in place before the June 13 elections.
2. Just because Tijani Umar is ineligible to run for a 3rd term according to FIBA statutes, does it automatically legitimise the Musa Kida led board?
3. Why didn’t FIBA order another election or pick a side as opposed to giving an ultimatum for both sides to resolve their issues seeing that it was their inability to resolve their differences that brought them before FIBA in the first place.
After sending 2 teams to a 3×3 tournament, which disqualified Nigeria from the tournament and releasing two lists of players for the Women’s championship, they settled on a system. The Umar board runs the League and the Kida board is in charge of the National teams but for how long will this go on.
FIBA taking a political stand instead of giving a straight and direct judgement may have prolonged this wasteful and unnecessary distraction but the factions that have put personal interests above basketball development are the biggest culprits. So just like the Charles Dickens book, it is the best of times and the worst of times in Nigerian basketball.