The crisis rocking basketball administration in Nigeria has not abated with the latest happening yesterday as two presidential elections were held in the country seeing two winners emerge.
The two warring factions spearheaded by current president Engr. Musa Kida and former president Tijani Umar conducted their elections on Monday, 31st January in Edo and Abuja respectively.
The Tijani Umar-led faction’s election saw the founder of the defunct Basketball club Mark Mentors Mark Igoche declared the winner while the Musa Kida-led faction elections that took place in Edo saw Musa Kida poll 37 votes to win unanimously.
The first election was the one which was held in Abuja that saw Mark Igoche declared winner. The former basketball player was elected and sworn in as early as 8:00 am at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja. This election is claimed by the faction to be legitimate because it was conducted with respect to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports’ directive as well as the NBBF directive through its Secretary General which a portion of it states:
“The Executive Congress to hold in the National Stadium, Package ‘A’ in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory at the same venue where the 29 National Sports Federations in Nigeria held their Elective Congresses; towards ensuring the safety and security of the Delegates.”
A delighted Igoche took to his Twitter page to announce his victory saying:
“Nigerians have adopted the new face of Basketball and I am pleased that this new direction will open up the luxury of talents in the game to global audience.”
Mark Igoche was elected unopposed as president of the NBBF at an Elective Congress of the federation with Osita Nwachukwu, representing South East Zone also pulled 11 votes to emerge as Vice President. The other zonal representatives elected yesterday were Mohammed Lawal Na’Allah (North West), Ibrahim Gimba (North East), Kinglsely Aigbonaga (South South) and Josiah Amedu (South West).
According to Sports News Africa, “Igoche, who also emerged representative of the North Central zone garnered 11 votes with three voided in the Abuja election presided over by a Chairman of the electoral committee and vice chairman of the FCT Basketball Association, Suleman Muhammed. Others on the NBBF Board are; Stanley Gumut (Players’ Representative), Tope Oluwosulu (Paramilitary Representative) and Scot Nnaji (Technical/Coaches Representative).”
The Kida faction elections followed in Edo State. According to reports from Edo, Kida pollee 37 votes in his unanimous victory. Ogunade also got 30 votes from the 37 delegates present to win the Vice President role and his South West challenger and former NBA star Olumide Oyedeji got seven at the venue of the Congress called based on the NBBF constitution as amended in 2019. Ogunade as it was reported stepped down for Olumide Oyedeji for the latter to head the South-West zone.
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.
The election was held in the presence of representatives of FIBA as well as being in line with the 2019 NBBF constitution.
It should be recalled that Igoche was one of the supporters of the Ahmadu Kida-led administration:
“Before he came on board, and when we were moving together, our plan was grassroots basketball development. Our plan was to raise the standard of Nigerian basketball, we planned to create a platform for the young boys and girls at home to showcase their talents and to help achieve their basketball dreams. But when he (Ahmadu-Kida) got there, everything changed and I told him this wasn’t our plan because how won’t we, for a whole year, organise one proper league.”
Igoche had told Punch in an interview.
The elections should have been held in October last year but it was suspended on the directive of the Sports Ministry the reason being so as to reconcile the warring factions.
A committee of which Babs Ogunade who is now elected into Kida’s cabinet was established to see to it, but the details of the reconcilation which obviously failed wasn’t made public, this prompted the other faction who were previously part of Musa Kida’s board during his first stint go to Abuja to conduct elections.
FIBA who had extended the deadline to November 30 last year and later to January 31 this year are now expected to affirm which of the boards it will recognize and work with going forward although the handwriting is partly clear having chosen to supervise the exercise in Benin City.