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NBBF CRISIS: Kida, Umar and the Court Case

-By Saidu Abubakar with Agency Reports

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the two warring factions of Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) led by Musa Kida and Tijani Umar to steer clear of the activities of Nigeria’s basketball pending the determination of the substantive suit.

On Wednesday, 20th of March 2019, the lead counsel to the management of Kwese Premier League, Josiah Daniel Ebune Esq. revealed that the court had stopped both administrators from parading themselves as the head of the federation and should not organize any league in the country until the matter is properly resolved.

Tijjani Umar

However, Ebune pleaded that the game of basketball and its lovers cannot continue to suffer because of the leadership crisis and sought for an order that allows for a smooth running league and other affairs without interference from the two factions.

The Order was reported to read thus:

  1. THAT AN ORDER OF INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION is hereby made restraining the defendants by themselves, agents, privies and/or servants whosoever and however defined from going ahead with conducting any fresh Premier Basketball League for the purposes of selecting men’s representatives of the 2018/2019 African Continental Basketball Championship pursuant to the letter of invitation to 2018 NBBF Premier Basketball League contained in the letter to that effect ahead of October, 2018, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
  2. THAT AN ORDER OF INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION is hereby made restraining the defendants by themselves, agents or servants from enforcing or further enforcing or giving effect or further effect to the documents titled: RE: INVITATION TO 2018 NBBF PREMIER BASKETBALL LEAGUE and/or from imposing or further imposing any guidelines, eligibility or conditions for the purposes of selection and/or conducting any league for purpose of selecting Nigerian male Basketball Representative for African Continental Competition, any condition to that effect, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

...Musa Kida-led faction insisted on AGM

The interlocutory injunction notwithstanding, the Nigeria Basketball Federation has, however, unequivocally stated that the planned 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Federation slated for April 13 in Abuja had to go on as planned. It really did hold.

This assertion came against the backdrop of stories making the rounds on social media and published by some national dailies about the possible postponement of the AGM due to a court ruling filed by a fictitious body known as the League Management Board.

Responding to the development, a faction of the crisis-ridden NBBF, led by Engr. Musa Kida, described it as the last attempt by “drowning men” to confuse enthusiastic stakeholders ahead of the landmark event.

Kida wondered how Josiah O. Daniel Ebune, Counsel to the fictitious body not recognized by the NBBF, could be referring to another case which the body he is claiming to represent is not connected to in any way.

He said: “We find it funny that this fictitious body is referring to a case instituted by one El Hassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello in 2017 seeking to challenge the election that brought us on board which fortunately got thrown out by the court.

“It definitely shows that some people whose aim is to disrupt basketball growth in Nigeria for their selfish reasons have now joined forces and are working together to distract our board by creating artificial crisis.”

He stressed that if a fictitious body not recognized by any law or statute under the NBBF can go about waving an exparte order around, then anybody can rise up one day and challenge the existence of NBBF as the apex basketball body in Nigeria.

Kida noted that all the activities of these shenanigans are being documented by the Federation of International Basketball Association with appropriate measures to be applied at the right time. Ahead of the AGM and Stakeholders meeting, Kida said the NBBF has duly notified all relevant law enforcement apparatai as law abiding citizens to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

He advised the media which he described as the Federation’s partners in progress to always verify their reports and steer clear of sensationalism which has continued to affect basketball in Nigeria. “Since we came on board, we have continued to enjoy good working relationship with our esteemed friends in the media. We have over the months demonstrated that our board is very open, so in cases where such reports emanate from faceless people, at least they need to verify.”

…Dalung backs Kida-led faction?

Meanwhile, contrary to the declaration by the world basketball governing body FIBA, nullifying both Tijjani Umar and Musa Kida’s elections as president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), ex-Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung threw his weight behind the Kida-led faction as the duly constituted leadership of NBBF. The former minister was reacting to a judgment of the Abuja High Court which dismissed the suit filed by El Hassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello challenging the election of Musa Kida as NBBF president.

“Our attention has been drawn to the judgment of an Abuja High court striking out case Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/497/17 filed by one El Hassan Auwalu and Abdullahi Bello against the NBBF and Solomon Dalung as an individual defendant on the June 20, 2017 elections of the NBBF.

“We are also aware of a purported legal notice filed by one Josiah O. Daniel-Ebune Esq. sending a caveat to the general public to that effect that there is no duly constituted leadership in the Nigerian Basketball Federation.”

Dalung once again reiterated, for the benefit of the general public, that the “Musa Kida-led executive is in charge of the Nigerian Basketball Federation,” Dalung said in a statement by his SA Media, Nneka Ikem-Anibeze and made available in Abuja.

Dalung said the position of government is that any grievances must be ventilated within the confines of the rule of law which in the circumstance, is the Court of Arbitration for Sports CAS.

He warned that those looking to foment trouble where there is none will face the full wrath of the law.

“Adopting unconventional methods just to secure personal benefits and destroy government’s investments in sports will no longer be treated with kid gloves, therefore, I call on security agencies to be on the alert for those who have not been impressed by the remarkable progress recorded in sports development in Nigeria or will always want to portray government in bad light. Sports is critical to national development, we must emphasize, therefore that government will leave no stone unturned to tackle any obstacles that will be a cog in its wheel of progress”.

The former minister restated government’s commitment to sports development and urged all investors to take advantage of the enabling environment which is yielding positive results.