Officials of the Nigeria Basketball Federation and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development are in a race against time to beat the January 31 deadline given to them by the world basketball governing body, FIBA, to conduct elections into the federation’s executive board.
A leadership crisis over who takes charge of the federation’s activities has rocked the basketball body, after elections failed to hold as scheduled on October 30, 2021.
But FIBA, in a letter dated November 19, 2021, communicated their stance on the election to the sports ministry, stating that only the approved NBBF constitution previously approved by the congress will be used for the election instead of a guideline.
“FIBA will not recognise any changes to the NBBF’s statutes prior to the celebration of the Electoral Congress,” the world body stated.
It gave the extension of the date to accommodate the “peace and reconciliation move of the Federal Government” whose report had been submitted to the sports minister in December.
However, with 17 days to the deadline, neither the sports ministry nor the NBBF has announced a new date or venue for the elections.
A former board member of the federation, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said they were still waiting on the ministry’s go-ahead before the congress could call for election.
“The ball is in the court of the sports ministry and we are waiting for them to give us the go-ahead to conduct the election because we can’t bypass them.
“The minister has received the report of the reconciliation committee since December and we had expected that by now, machinery would have been in place to host the elections but there’s nothing yet.
“We all know the repercussion of not having the elections; we may be sanctioned by FIBA, which I’m certain Nigerians will not want to happen.”
When our correspondent reached out to the secretary-general of the federation, Afolabi-Oluwayemi Olabisi, for an update on the election, she stated that there was none, with less than three weeks to the January 31 deadline.
“Nothing, I don’t have any information (about the election) for now. I don’t even have any update yet. When the time comes we will carry you guys along,” she stated.
The sports ministry had postponed the NBBF election slated for October 30, 2021 in Benin City, Edo State over leadership crisis in the federation, before setting up a task force to run the affairs of the body.