Newly-elected president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida has called on all aggrieved members of the basketball family to return to the fold and help in rebuilding the game in the country.
Kida also encouraged sponsors and other associates of the game who pulled out of the federation’s activities in the past to retrace their steps, promising that henceforth due process would be adhered to in the management of Nigerian basketball.
Speaking after the new NBBF board’s inaugural meeting in Lagos at the weekend, Kida said, “I think we had a problem with some stakeholders in the past because of the leadership the NBBF didn’t have. We are pledging to every stakeholder that we are here to help the game grow and I will encourage everybody to come together, no matter your camp, to rebuild the house.”
He revealed that the inaugural meeting looked at key issues affecting Nigerian basketball, adding that they analysed the events of the recent past and arrived at decisions that would address the bane of the sport in the country.
Kida promised that his board will take the game back to the grassroots, lamenting, “over time, we have discovered that basketball has lost all its youth development programmes and so we want to take the game back to the people.”
He revealed that the new NBBF would give home grown players the opportunity to develop their game to qualify to play for the national team, adding, “the players of the national team will be those we can identify with and must be the best available Nigerians.
“In my acceptance speech, I made a commitment to basketball stakeholders that I want to ensure that we have professionalism in the game such that a player based in Nigeria will be able to take care of his family, is independent financially and can live like his colleagues in other countries from the earnings he makes from the game.”
Kida promised to continue with the good policies made by the past board, adding, however, that all the commitments made by the immediate past board of the federation after the dissolution of the board are null and void. He also dismissed claims by some members of the last board that they are still the right leaders of the game, saying the electorate chose basketball leaders at the elections held on July 13 in Abuja.
“Those who feel they are the right NBBF board have the right to feel so, but the guidelines that brought us to power were very clear. We had representatives of 30 states at the elections in Abuja on June 13.
“FIBA (world basketball ruling body) has not made a statement on our elections, but I can assure you that it has the authentic list of members of the NBBF board. Some of the FIBA members are here with me and I know how FIBA works.
“On the sponsorships and rights, I will say we are studying what was going on. We have not had any discussions with Kwese or any of the sponsors. We want to understand the agreements so that we will know how to approach the sponsors. But I want to remind you that we took an oath of office to avoid corrupt practices and we will adhere to that,” he said.