By Our Reporter
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 in their hundreds matched 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, Ejike Ugboaja lamented about the tactics employed by the Sports 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 the force someone who we don’t want on us.They are scared of FIBA Africa and FIBA International which the Sports Minister,Sunday Dare is claiming.
We as players that have played in several World Cup Tournaments,we have represented Nigeria for the past 12 years;we can boldly say that FIBA is not Nigeria and we are not scared of their ban.
As it stand today,if they force a president on us ,we going to ban ourselves from playing basketball. He(Musa Kida) will not lead us anymore.
We need Musa Kida to apologise to us(players) for calling us thugs and hoodlums,when we were the one 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, Ugboaja stated.
The newly elected Players Representative, Stanely Gumut laments about time wasted by relaying on the Sports Ministry for help,labelling the Sports Minister,Mr.Sunday Dare as a failure.
“To be honest,I am emotional right now because they(Sports Ministry)have succeeded in wasting our time,whatever they are telling us now ought to be done last year.They kept us for so long in the name of reconciliation or trying to fix things;but now telling us that they want to leave everything in our hands is unfortunate.
They should have tell us their stand,instead of us pushing and writing to the Sports Ministry.This is like a coup,throwing someone at us in the last minute,it is unfortunate and very painful.
If you are talking about ban,the domestic league has been under ban for the past four years,this is like a ban.If we can arrange and play our domestic league is better for us than these threats.
They care about national team that play twice in a year.
Whatever the Ministry’s stand,if it doesn’t capture the players’ interest,they have failed us,we hoped on them to resolve these issues,and if by now nothing has changed then Minister of Sports,Sunday Dare has failed us.We took him as a father but unfortunately nothing was done.”
The Sports Ministry has at last week,announced January 31,2022 for the NBBF election billed to take place in Abuja with Engr. Musa Kida insisting that the election must hold in Benin city,Edo state.