When the music is professionally coordinated and the flow is smooth and flawless, the band leader is praised to the heavens.
The music lovers would think all is well and no player in the band is on a wrong key. No. It has never been so smooth. Not even with the likes of late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of blessed memory and yes, with the king of world beats, King Sunny Ade.
The coordination, rhythm, percussion, symphony and melody were all we hear and love. I wouldn’t bother you with the inside stories of the shenanigans, indiscipline, unprofessionalism and bad-blood that rocked these great bands on different occasions.
Juxtapose the happenings in those great musical bands to the happenstances rocking Nigeria Basketball Federation and the basketball community at large. What are the similarities, you might want to ask.
Like in other sports, particularly football, we don’t often times notice or seem to care about the efforts that gave the smooth and exciting melodies (victories). The newly found love and fervour for basketball in Nigeria, was made possible by the selfless and concerted efforts of the board of NBBF led by its amiable president, Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida.
A chronicle of past and recent events, actions and inactions in the NBBF can only be described as a symphony of truth that should encourage and inspire younger generation of athletes and administrators, and of course, lies, that are aimed at destroying and shredding the good pages in the history books, to satisfy some whimsical, egocentric, corrupt and greedy supposedly stakeholders.
The truth was that Musa Kida and his board were duly elected, like other federations, in Abuja in an election supervised by the sports ministry, ratified and recognized by NOC and FIBA.
Lie, was that a parallel election by a congress led by Tijani Umar that supposedly gave him a third tenure was recognized by the government and FIBA.
Truth was that when Kida came on board with his board, they faced torrid times, as they weren’t handed the paraphernalia of office and of course, monies generated and kept by the leaders of the TJ Umar’s board.
To execute some of its lofty and impactcul projects, Kida dug deep to his personal funds, resources and utilized his goodwill to keep NBBF going, and of course, get our national teams to participate in continental and global championships.
Like a professional and thorough-bred band leader, he ensured we enjoyed the smooth flow of music, whilst secretly reeking in emotional and financial pains.
It is a lie, to say, Kida and his board received the necessary supports of the ministry, when, and as at, when due. It is a lie, also to say, Kida didn’t help the growth and development of local basketballers and the game. Because the NBBF could not organise the Men’s Premier league in more than 3 years during his tenure.
It is true, that the Men’s Premier Basketball League wasn’t held in over 3 years. The truth is that TJ Umar and some of his co-travellers took Kida’s NBBF to court to stop it from organising the league, with claims that they had the sole rights to host the league. Yes, that was ostensibly to satisfy their new paymasters, Econet, owners of Kwese TV.
They made valiant and selfish efforts to stunt the careers of thousands of Nigerian youths and kill the game in the country, for over 3 years, until the law courts threw out the case in favour of Kida and his board.
It is true that the favourable court judgement gave Kida and his board a leeway to go ahead and organise the Men’s Premier Basketball league that eventually produced teams for the final 8.
It is also true that Kida became the Caretaker Chairman of the NBBF, after his board was dissolved and yet, was unfazed as he continued to lead and rightfully organized a well-attended extra-ordinary congress, Abuja. The congress had top sports ministry officials, the NOC and stakeholders in attendance.
It is a lie that some stakeholders were denied entry to the congress or harrassed by security personnel. It is a lie, too, that some basketballers and supposedly stakeholders were called thugs by Kida.
It is true that plans were made and had reached advanced stages, with FIBA officials ready to storm Benin city, Nigeria, for NBBF’s elective congress. It is true, that the extra-ordinary congress had ratified the appointment of some distinguished Nigerian sports administrators into the electoral and appeals committees.
Bigger lies starting coming with accusing fingers wrongly pointed at Musa Kida by members of D’Tigress who alleged embezzlement of the funds donated to the team, as well as, non-payment of their allowances.
It is true that the ladies were being owed. It is also true that the monies were lodged with the Central Bank by the sports ministry. It is true, that the sports ministry in a public statement accepted its faults in the failure to disbursed the monies to D’Tigress, as at when due.
It is true, that for 4 years, the sports ministry did little or nothing to fund or support the activities of NBBF, claiming lack of funds. It is true, that Kida have spent billions of naira of his personal funds to save Nigeria from global embarrassment and ensured our national teams participated and also excel at several continental and global championships.
It is also true that the complaints and accusations were aimed at distracting the public attentions and of course, putting the planned elections into a new NBBF board into disrepute.
It is true that the Sports minister, Sunday Dare, who had given his support for the elective congress to hold in respect of the subsisting and duly recognized NBBF’s constitution, suddenly turned coat.
It is a lie to say the elective congress should not hold because some faceless stakeholders are not in support of congress. It is a lie, too, that there was a need for a reconciliation committee.
It is true that the unfortunate developments and crisis bedeviling NBBF, were the handiwork of a few disgruntled members of Tijani Umar’s board who would stop at nothing to ensure Kida is not reelected for a second term.
It is true that Tijani Umar, who is a permanent secretary in the presidency is using his political clouts to intimidate and influence the actions and inactions of the sports ministry.
It is true that on leaving as the president of NBBF in 2017, Tijani Umar received the sum of $2.4m dollars from Econet for the botched Kwese Men’s Premier Basketball League on behalf of NBBF, and till now, have refused to make account of the sponsorship money or pay it into NBBF’s account.
It is true, that he is desperately turning up unfounded crisis in order to turn the public attention from the embezzlement of the Kwese money.
It is true that Musa Kida, was invited by the Senate Committee on Sports, where he answered to ranging questions on the activities and fundings of basketball in the last 4 years. It is true that the committee praised him for his selflessness and patriotism, that has seen the growth of basketball in Nigeria, having realized the truth that the government is actually owing him billions of naira he has personally spent on the activities of NBBF.
It is true, that FIBA frowned at the interference in the affairs of NBBF by the government and warned that Nigeria might be banned. It is true that it disregarded several letters written by the sports ministry instead of Kida’s led NBBF.
It is a lie that FIBA supported the blatant usurpation of NBBF duties.
It is true that Nigeria still risk a FIBA ban, in view of the government interference in the runnings and duties of NBBF.
It is true, that Musa Kida has repeatedly stated that Nigeria, comes first. And that no individual or personal agenda is greater than Nigeria.
It is true that Kida is not in the frame to blackmail or instigate for Nigeria’s ban or disqualification from any FIBA organized championship, even when his duties as the NBBF president, has been taken over by Sunday Dare and the sports ministry officials.
So much lies, but not enough to overshadow the bright lights of truth.