President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday approved the immediate return of Nigeria to international basketball.
The approval was granted following a letter of appeal dated June 17, 2022, which was signed by Musa Kida, leader of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) board and addressed to the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports Development Chief Sunday Dare.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja.
He said the letter, among other things apologised to the President and the Minister over the embarrassment the developments around basketball and the conduct of some stakeholders has brought upon Nigeria.
Abubakar also said, “The letter appealed to the Minister to use his good offices to approach President Buhari for the reversal of the 2-year withdrawal of Nigeria from international basket ball competitions.
“The Appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings: to immediately set in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, to set up a high powered team 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.
“Flowing from the above and upon a review, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development approached and placed these developments before President Muhammadu Buhari being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed of all opportunities in sports and other endeavors considered the appeal and in the overriding spirit of national interest, love for our youth, and in order to avoid sending basket development into a long period of suspension when NBBF have now committed to resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basket ball immediately.”
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.
“Failure to do this, as with any constitutionally bound sovereign nation, will attract sanctions. There was first a country before any organization or federation that bears the Nigerian name, colours and flag us representing Nigeria.
“Secondly, that all those that lead government organizations and in this case our federations, hold such positions in trust for the Government and people of Nigeria under the direct supervision of the Minister of Youth and Sports,” he said.
He added that President Buhari has directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure the speedy implementation of the undertakings by NBBF which formed a major basis of his reversal.
“The Ministry is to report back to Mr. President on progress,” Abubakar stressed.