The Federal Government of Nigeria has decided to make a U-turn on its statement released in May to withdraw Nigeria from International Basketball competitions for two years.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar on June 23, 2022, it read: “Following the Presidential approval withdrawing Nigeria from International Basketball competitions for two years, a number of significant developments have occurred, the most significant being the following:
“Intervention by concerned stakeholders, former Nigerian international basketball players and well meaning Nigerians to seek for solutions to the issues that triggered the decision.
“The Video conference meeting between the top hierarchy of FIBA and the Minister of Youth and Sports which produced common understanding in certain general areas, concluding with a commitment by both FIBA and Nigeria to explore and collaborate on enhancing relationships, development of basketball and reaffirming mutual respect for the laws and constitution of Nigeria as a sovereign state, and also FIBA.
“A letter of Appeal from the NBBF Board signed by Musa Kida and dated June 17th, 2022, addressed to the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports Development Hon. Sunday Dare. The letter of Appeal among other things apologized to Mr. President and the Minister over the embarrassment the developments around basketball and the conduct of some stakeholders has brought upon Nigeria.
The letter appealed to the Minister to use his good office to approach President Buhari for the reversal of the two-year withdrawal of Nigeria from international basketball competitions.
“The Appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings: to immediately set in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; to set up a high powered team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family at home and abroad, and a commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance and development of basketball among other things. Above all, the compliance of NBBF to the issues at stake made this possible.
“The FMYSD approached Mr. President and placed these developments before him. President Muhammadu Buhari, being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed of all opportunities in sports and other endeavors considered the appeal.
“In the overriding spirit of national interest, love for our youth, and in order to avoid sending basketball development into a long period of suspension when NBBF have now committed to, resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately.
“In securing this approval, of note is the caution that the laws of Nigeria cannot be subjugated to any other law, and every Nigerian entity must respect Nigerian laws and authority governing various sectors. Failure to do this, as with any constitutionally bound sovereign nation will attract sanctions. There was first a country before any organization or federation that bears the Nigerian name, colours and flag in representing Nigeria.
“Secondly, that all those who lead government organizations and in this case our federations, hold such positions in trust for the Government and people of Nigeria under the direct supervision of the Minister of Youth and Sports.
“The President has directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure the speedy implementation of the undertakings by NBBF which formed a major basis of his reversal. The Ministry is to report back to Mr. President on progress.”