Former Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Tijanni Umar has blamed former Sports minister, Solomon Dalung for the leadership crisis that has rocked the federation following the 2017 sports federation elections, The SportsBay.com reports.
According to him, Nigeria may have made appreciable progress in international basketball while calling on the current leadership to ensure that procedures for a more transparent approach in line with regulations of the world governing body of each of the various sports.
It will be recalled that two years after several attempts to resolve the NBBF leadership crisis, which occurred in the aftermath of the 2017 National Sports Federations election, ended in a deadlock.
It will be recalled that the Ministry of Sports had mandated that all elections into sports federations must be held on June 13, 2017, at the National Stadium in Abuja.
The election which was sanctioned by Dalung threw up Tijani Yusuf was held on the 12th in Kano while the one that brought forth Musa Kida held on the 13th, but away from the National Stadium in Abuja.
He claimed that the leadership of the federal ministry of sports led by Dalung then had compromised the guidelines of the election to suit personal interest according to AIT.
“We were been governed by the International Olympic Committee charter and the provisions of FIBA regarding how you run federations but it wasn’t what that individual understood or wanted to do.
“He was more interested in what to get from the federations; who is heading the federations; is he our person; can we actually control him; can we put things under him; can we expect returns from him; this is something I would never do,” he said.
It will also be recalled that in 2017 before the elections, the NBBF had concluded arrangements for the signing of a sponsorship deal worth a staggering sum of $12 million dollars which was to run for five years.
“When we demonstrated the possibilities that basketball can get to in Nigeria, all those things that we can achieve and attain in early 2017 by bringing in resources about two million dollar; of course they thought that we had all the money in our account, so hell was let lose all they wanted was how we were going to share the money with them.
“I believe from day 1 and I still believe that why Nigeria basketball grew to the height we attained was that we maximised resources,” he said.
Umar however insists that his love for the sport will see him participate in the next elections into the board of the NBBF.
‘I am an interested party in the elections, I am waiting for the elections, I am consulting, widely as usual, and we love basketball,” he said.
Despite the lack of competitive games in the domestic league particularly the men’s top tier league the country’s men and women team qualified for the now postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, an unprecedented achievement which Umar says is the proceeds of the pathway his board put in place.
However Umar now a federal permanent secretary wants the sports ministry to ensure that the welfare of team Nigeria athletes to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are priortised unlike what happened in Rio 2016.