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Basketball Federation’s leadership crisis persists

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The protracted leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) is not about to abate as the two factions citing different authorities to claim legitimacy.

One faction is led by Mark Igoche, while the other has Musa Ahmadu-Kida as head.

Igoche told newsmen on Friday that he would obey the orders of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, while Ahmadu-Kida insisted that it is the world governing body, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that matters.

Igoche was elected NBBF president in an election believed to have been supervised by the Ministry in Abuja on 31st January.

On the same day in Benin City, the Edo State capital, incumbent NBBF president, Ahmadu-Kida was also re-elected, with FIBA’s officials in attendance.

The emergence of both boards is the latest twist in the leadership crisis that has rocked the sport in the last four years, which led to a near-collapse of basketball activities in the country.

Igoche dismissed insinuations that he was planted by some godfathers to further destabilise the basketball sector, adding that he came on board to help revive and reposition the sport.

Igoche said: ‘For anybody to think that I was planted by some people in the 21st century is wrong. Nobody pushed me when I started, why is it now’?

Responding to the alleged endorsement of the Ahmadu-Kida faction by FIBA, Igoche said: ‘There was only one election that took place and that’s the one that followed the Ministry’s guidelines. I don’t know where another (election) came from.

‘FIBA is foreign; they don’t dictate what happens in Nigeria. The Ministry is the custodian of sports in Nigeria and basketball isn’t an exception. What the Ministry says is what we will hold in Nigeria.

‘For the past years, we didn’t see FIBA in Nigeria. We’ve started the new phase of basketball and it’s like a moving train. Soon, you’ll see our efforts in moving Nigerian basketball forward’.

He further said: ‘I refuse to be distracted by a group who call themselves faction. I want to leave them to what they think or believe. Our goal is grassroots development; we don’t have anything against anybody’.

He admitted that the sport had experienced decay in Nigeria over the years and said that he was motivated to run for office to straighten things up.

‘It’s a heavy task, but it’s doable,’ he stated.

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