By Emmanuel Okogba
The Federal Government has rescinded its decision to withdraw Nigeria from all international basketball engagements – a decision that was taken following the crisis bedevilling the running of the sports in the country.
Two factions led by Musa Kida and Mark Igoche have laid claim to the leadership of the sport since the January elections that held in two different locations – Benin and Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on May 12 approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years. What this immediately meant was that Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress, who had qualified for the Women’s Basketball World Cup holding later this year in Australia would not be able to do so.
FIBA had since wielded the hammer by throwing Nigeria out and inviting Mali as replacement.
But in a statement on Thursday, the Federal Government reversed the decision as a result of a letter from the faction led by Musa Kida asking the Minister to approach the President for the reversal of the 2-year withdrawal of Nigeria from international basket ball competitions.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja said the letter also suggested that a “high powered team be set up to reconcile all contending parties in the basket ball family at home and abroad, and a commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance and development of basketball among other things.”
The Permanent Secretary, nonetheless, warned that in securing the approval, caution must be taken to ensure that the laws of Nigeria are not subjugated to any other law, and that every Nigerian entity must respect constituted authority.
The possibility of FIBA reinstating Nigeria for September’s World Cup remains unknown.