By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Less than five days to the September 30 Sports Federation Elections ordered by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, all former Presidents of the dissolved Sports Federation are scheming to return to their posts.
This is even as political intrigues, horse-trading and blackmail have started in earnest for the candidates who are repositioning themselves to return to the exalted posts in spite of some of them failing to improve the fortunes of their various Federations the last time out.
Prompt News investigations revealed that most Presidents of Sports Federation often referred to as “A-List Federations” like Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Wrestling, Cycling, Weightlifting, etc, are bent on returning to lead their Federation even when some of these Sports Federations have been in crisis for the past four years.
For example, both the Basketball and Athletics Federations have been dogged by leadership crisis which saw the emergence of two or more factional Presidents, a situation which affected Nigeria’s overall medals haul at the just concluded Tokyo Olympic Games.
Other Sports Federation have not fared better as they are either led by none performing Presidents or torn apart by internal squabbles which have ensured that such Sports Federation have existed only in name.
Further investigations by Prompt News over the weekend have revealed that two weeks after the Ministry released the official “Time Table for Federation Elections” with a standing order that all Caretaker Committees of the affected Federations should be dissolved a week before the election, some of the presidents are still in charge.
A check at Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) showed that incumbent President, Engr. Musa Ahmed Kida is still calling the shots less than five days to the National Sports Federation Elections as announced by the Ministry two weeks ago.
Recall that Basketball Federation has been in turmoil for the past four years with two factions led by Kida and another led by Mr. Tijani Umar who was NBBF President for four years before Kida ousted him. Both have thrown their hats into the ring once again to contest for the NBBF top job.
To avoid “a bloodbath” the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare had last week ordered an emergency meeting which held on Monday evening virtually and had the top officials in the ministry in attendance.
Then Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa Anako; the Director of Federations, Simon Ebojaiye; Dr. Peter Nelson; Maria Worphili; Olumide Bamidele and the Director of Legal were in attendance from the Ministry. The NOC President, Engineer Habu Gumel was present with his Secretary General Mr. Banji Oladapo.
The two gladiators, Musa Ahmed Kida and Tijani Umar were both present also, although the meeting which lasted about two hours, and which focused or dealt with the key areas of disagreement could not be resolved.
Another meeting of stakeholders have been convened and directed to hold before the end of this month with both sides in dispute asked to come with 10 people even as one party is kicking that the incumbent President is still calling the shots in the Basketball Federation.