Sports minister Solomon Dalung has blamed the International Basketball Federation for the lingering crisis in basketball in the country.
The sport was plunged into leadership crisis after the separate Nigeria Basketball Federation presidential elections in Kano and Abuja in June.
While the purported presidential poll in Kano on June 12 produced former leader of the board Tijjani Umar, the Nigeria Olympic Committee and ministry-backed presidential election in Abuja the next day was won by Musa Ahmadu-Kida.
However, FIBA nullified both elections and ordered a fresh one on the grounds that they did not meet its statutes, according to its letter dated March 15 and signed by its Secretary-General Patrick Baumann.
“In the absence of an amicable resolution between the parties (Umar and Kida factions), the Executive Committee (of FIBA) has decided that new elections should hold,” the world basketball body stated.
FIBA added that it would maintain its communication with Kida group, stressing that it “shall not be understood as a recognition by FIBA of the management elected on June 13”.
Dalung, who spoke with reporters in Lagos on Thursday, condemned FIBA’s role in the crisis, saying the situation only worsened after their ruling.
He insisted the Kida board is the one recognised by the Federal Government, describing the rival board an “illegal NBBF”.
The minister said, “We have 33 federations recognised by the government. The NBBF board recognised by the government is the one that was inaugurated after the federation elections in Abuja.”
Dalung added, “FIBA came to the country to further add to the problem. We are taking legitimate steps that will resolve the matter.
“Very soon, the names of all the federation presidents will be sent to all security agencies and any other person not on the list will be dealt with by the law.”
He lamented the budgetary allocation to the ministry over the years, saying it has been affecting sports development in the country.
The minister said, “A few years back N300m was released for the National Youth Games and we now have N9m for same event. That amount will not even be enough to pay for accommodation.
“The legislative attitude to sport has to change to developmental.”
Dalung added, “The President has been wonderful. He comes up with huge support each time we run to him. If not, Nigeria would have missed out on many major international competitions.”
He also said grassroots sport development was the only way to discover best talents that could be groomed to represent Nigeria at competitions.
The minister said, “There has been a systemic failure in our sports development, school sports is almost dead in Nigeria.
“It is only in the southern part of the country that you still have sporting activities in few schools, but in the northern part, it is almost dead.
“Unlike when we were growing up when sports participation was an important part of school curriculum, but now most schools don’t even have playing grounds.”