A group of basketball players in Nigeria, on Wednesday, staged a peaceful protest to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development over the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF.
The players matched in their hundreds peacefully with the former players representative in the Musa Kida-led NBBF board and NBA star, Ejike Ugboaja, leading the protest.
Speaking to journalists shortly after meeting with officials of the sports ministry, Ugboaja lamented the tactics employed by the ministry to install Engr.Musa Kida as NBBF president, insisting that the players have long rejected him.
“They (sports ministry) don’t want to conduct an election, all they want to do is force someone who we don’t want on us.They are scared of FIBA Africa and FIBA International which the sports ninister, Sunday Dare, is claiming.
“We as players that have played in several World Cup tournaments, have represented Nigeria for the past 12 years, can boldly say that FIBA is not Nigeria and we are not scared of their ban. As it stands today, if they force a president on us, we going to ban ourselves from playing basketball.”
The basketball star insisted that “Musa Kida will not lead us anymore. We need him to apologise to us (players) for calling us thugs and hoodlums when we are the ones who made him. We play and sweat in the floor for 2 hours.We have cried to the minister and if he refuses to listen to us, we are going to make a big statement to Nigerians. I am emotional right now because they are taking us for granted.”
The newly elected players representative, Stanely Gumut, lamented the time wasted by relying on the sports ministry for help, labelling the sports minister, Mr.Sunday Dare, as a failure.The ministry, last week, announced January 31, 2022 for the NBBF election billed to take place in Abuja with Engr. Musa Kida insisting that the election would hold in Benin city, Edo state.