REENGINEERING AND REINVENTING THE NIGERIAN BASKETBALL FEDERATION
By PROF. EMMANUEL OJEME
Basketball is among the prime sports activities in Nigeria in the rank of Athletics (track & field), Football, Volleyball, Handball, Tennis, Table Tennis, Boxing, Swimming and Wrestling, amongst others. These Sports activities are governed by National Sports Federations.
They are all also affiliated to International Sports Federations. They are expected to operate with the guiding rules, regulations or constitutions which link them up with their respective International Federations. Sports Federations operate under the supervision of Nigerian sports management and Administration Agency, that is the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
On a regular basis, it is observed that most National Sports Federations are inclined to deal and relate with the international bodies to which they are affiliated, thereby miniaturizing, diminishing and disregarding the authority of the national government or the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Very Often, anarchy, personal ambitions have combined to create disorders in the management of Nigerian Sports. Some of these chaos are sometimes successfully managed and resolved.
Unfortunately, however, the Basketball Federation crisis which has festered and entrenched for more than 12 years has remained intractable and stubbornly refuses to heal. The consequence of the intractability of the Basketball Federation crisis has led to the ban and withdrawal of Nigeria from participating in international Basketball for two years, by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Furthermore, an interim committee has been put in place by the Federal government to manage the affairs of Basketball until the Basketball Federation is reconstituted and the unyielding Federation leaders, with their inability to manage themselves, personal egos and ambition, which has also created disorder, chaos, indignation and assault on the image of Nigeria is finally resolved. The hammer has descended on the Basketball Federation, for now.
Rightly, the Nigerian Basketball Federation is a Nigerian Sports organization, manned by Nigerian citizens, carrying the national emblem, anthem and flag and hence, cannot disregard the directives, authority, collaboration and symbiotic relationship with the Federal governed agency, without consequences.
This imbroglio if not quickly resolved will have negative backlash and consequences on Basketball, Nigerian Youths and Personnel involved in the game. It would affect basketball entrepreneurs and followership negatively and we all will be losers.
The purpose of this paper is to make an appeal to all stakeholders NAPHERSD, the NOC, Sports Administrators and everyone to intervene in order to resolve the basketball imbroglio. Basket ball leaders must learn to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to Rome what belongs to the Romans. Nigeria’s interest must be foremost in our dealings. If Basketball leaders respect the Nigerian flag and as its federation is denominated in the name of Nigeria, it must obey Nigerian Sports authorities irrespective of its affiliation to the International Organization. Without Nigeria, there cannot be Nigeria Basketball Federation.
Consequently all contending forces and individuals are well advised to concede and yield to the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports. Any action that is contrary to this proposition amount to blackmail of the nation before the international community. On the other hand, the national authorities should kindly be objective and dispassionate in its intervention and be guided by the principles of restoration of national dignity and promotion of the growth and development of Basketball in Nigeria. All Sports Federations in Nigeria must learn vital lessons from this Basketball imbroglio which is distasteful. It is our hope that the foregoing conversation would be useful in reengineering and reinventing the Nigerian Basketball Federation for the good of all Nigerians.