NBBF Crisis: Kwese League Director Challenges Musa Kida To Tell Nigerians The Truth
By Our Correspondent
Kwese League Director, Ajibarede Bello, has advised the Musa Kida-led Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) to tell Nigerians the truth about the court case, on how they shortchanged Gombe Bulls in the FIBA Zone 3 Club qualifiers leading to halting of the league and their roles in driving away the league sponsors (KWESE) that worth $12.5m.
Tijani Umar led NBBF had before the Federation’s Elections in 2017 secured a five-year sponsorship deal with Kwese worth $12.5m ($2.5m per annum). The world basketball governing body, FIBA, at the time rejected the two factional elections of June 12, 2017 that produced Musa Kida and Tijani Umar as Presidents. Though, in the interim, FIBA maintained to communicate through Kida faction and was mandated to handle the National Team assignments, whereas, the domestic league structure established by Tijani Umar faction (who was in charge of the League before the 2017 elections) was asked to continue with the league until the issues are resolved.
Based on this, Kwese insisted on dealing with Umar-led Board following threats from Kida-led NBBF. A year after completion of the deal, Kwese was frustrated and decided to pull out of the most lucrative sponsorship deal in African Basketball League.
Bello, in an exclusive interview with BSN Sports stated that the case wouldn’t have affected the league, had Kida or any of his Board members respected the court by appearing before it, since November 8, 2018 when the case started in Abuja.
“They should tell Nigeria the truth, they’re just bending the issue. Gombe Bulls went to court to get justice after winning the league in 2018 and were denied the right to represent Nigeria in the African Inter-club Championship. The League Board headed by me (Bello Ajibarede) has no option than to support them in this quest.
As against FIBA instructions and Court injunction, Kida-led Board in a rush, organized abridged Premier League in November, 2018. The League consisted of four teams (two clubs from each Conference), while the champions who substituted Gombe Bulls at the African inter-club championship played just two games in the League to emerge champions. This remained the only league champions in the world with two matches.
“To achieve their poorly orchestrated plan, Kida-led Board organised their separate league consisting of four teams and clubs who played two games were crowned champions and chosen to represent Nigeria in the continent. This was hurriedly carried out after court injunction and FIBA instructions. The Gombe Bulls who retained the title they won the previous year with Kwara Falcons the runners-up went to court to seek justice.”
He advised them (Kida led board) to go and appear before court to defend the case and stopped blackmailing Olumide Oyedeji for political reasons.
“To set the record straight, the plaintiff in the matter are; Chairman, Gombe Basketball Association, Alhaji Ibrahim Sa’ad, (owner of Gombe Bulls Basketball), Chairman, Kwara State Basketball Association, Dr. Adegbite Adeyemo (who later pulled out of the case) and Management Board of Kwese Premier League. These are the applicants to the case and not Olumide Oyedeji they’re targeting for political reasons. They should go and defend their case in court if they don’t have anything they’re hiding.
He explained that despite publishing court summon in the national newspaper they had never appeared in court.
“In fact, the court has to seal their office in Abuja for not coming to court despite several summons. Later, we got an order of constituted service that the invitation should be published in the national newspaper, yet, they didn’t come to court. So, for someone who has never appeared in court to defend his case, now turned around and claim that the League Board headed by me was responsible for them not to run the league. If they can hold the league in 2018 and 2019 when the case was still on, is it in 2021 that they realized that the court is stopping them? He asked rhetorically.