The three-man FIBA delegation on a fact-finding mission to the country on Tuesday held meetings with the two Nigeria Basketball Federation factions, as the world body tries to resolve the lingering leadership tussle in the country’s basketball.
FIBA Executive Director, Africa, Alphonse Bile; Special Advisor to FIBA Secretary-General, Mr. Lubomir Kotleba; and FIBA Competition Commission member Fode Amara Condemade, arrived in the country on Sunday. They held a meeting with sports minister Solomon Dalung in Abuja on Monday, with the minister insisting there was no crisis in Nigerian basketball.
“The position of government is that there is no crisis in basketball,” Dalung was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide Nneka Anibeze. “We only heard and read in the papers of the allegations against government of interference in basketball election.”
The NBBF has been split into two parallel groups after double elections on June 12 and 13, 2017, installed Tijjani Umar and Musa Ahmadu-Kida respectively as presidents of the body. FIBA had given Nigeria November 30 deadline to resolve the crisis but extended it to February 28, after both parties refused to give up.
Our correspondent learnt that the delegation held a closed-door meeting with Umar’s faction in Abuja on Tuesday, before meeting with Ahmadu-Kida same day in Lagos.
It was also learnt that the officials would hold a meeting with the Nigeria Olympic Committee in Lagos on Wednesday to find out about their role in the electoral process.
“The series of meetings with the parties involved is to enable FIBA to find out government’s involvement, if there was an interference or not,” an NOC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
Athlete’s Representative of the Umar faction Stanley Gumut is hopeful FIBA’s visit would begin the process of reconciliation between the warring parties.
He said, “It’s a welcome development because our group has always spoken of due process, and with the coming of FIBA, that seems in the offing regardless of personal differences. If the other group is open and ready to put our differences aside, we are ready. Our group has always been ready for peace.”
Spokesman for Ahmadu-Kida’s NBBF Afolabi Oni declined comments on the issue. “The meeting with FIBA officials is still ongoing (on Tuesday night), so I can’t make any comment on the issue,” Oni stated.
The report of the peace meeting will form part of the agenda for FIBA’s meeting on March 10, when it would pronounce its resolution on the logjam.
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