By Akeem Busari
It was with untold happiness and joy that stakeholders and enthusiasts of basketball received the news of Nigeria’s return to the international basketball community, following the official announcement by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Sports, Thursday morning in Abuja.
The decision of the Federal Government through the sports ministry to unban Nigeria have equally been generating varied opinions and importantly, the views have been somewhat akin to moving from gloom to boom.
Retracing the unhealthy and induced crises that eventually led to the unfortunate ban placed by the government on international basketball would always evoke sadness in the hearts of players, officials and genuine stakeholders of the game in Nigeria and diaspora.
The ban has denied our girls who recorded a 3-peat Afrobasket title from participating in the Women’s Basketball World Cup slated for September in Australia. However, many stakeholders are willing to look beyond the unfortunate happenstances, as Nigeria’s Men’s national team can still compete against continental and global opponents for honours in forthcoming championships.
At this point we must be quick to commend the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ministry of Sports, through the Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare, for choosing to recognise the negative consequences of the ban would have on the game and of course, the millions of restive, but talented youths who are keen to eke a living from the game.
It is equally worthy to commend the embattled President of NBBF, Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida, for his thoughtfulness, selflessness, humility and uncommon patriotism throughout the basketball turbulence. The decision to make an unveiled appeal on behalf of the NBBF board to President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Ministry of Sports, is the hallmark of a great statesman.
The promise by the NBBF to make amends to contentious parts of its constitution is expected to pave ways for further betterment of the game in Nigeria.
Without a doubt, the skies are bright again for Nigeria basketball. This is a victory for all genuinely concerned stakeholders in the future fortunes of the game in Nigeria.