A former Nigerian international, Mohammed Abba ‘Jugu’ blamed the withdrawal of Nigerian basketball from all international competitions for two years on actors he called selfish. In this interview with Sports Trust, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) graduate Zaria backed the recently appointed Interim Management Committee (IMC), spoke out in favor of the ban and offered solutions to some of the issues that have continued to plague the sport. in Nigeria.
OWhere are you with the recent ban on Nigerian basketball announced by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports?
Honestly, this came as a shock to many of us. We didn’t expect that. However, the ban was inevitable due to the greedy and selfish dispositions of some stakeholders. We all know that on many occasions the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has invited the warring factions of the NBBF to peace meetings, but all the talks have stalled because the gladiators have refused to change grounds due to selfishness and self-interest. It was all about power and greed. Unfortunately, those who have run the NBBF for the past five years have completely ignored the domestic leagues as they focused on the international competitions that benefited them. Our local players, coaches and officials became redundant as it was all about D’Tigers and D’Tigress. For five years, we have done nothing. Do we continue like this? I do not think so. Therefore, the ban surprised me, but when you look at it all, I see nothing wrong with it.
But most Nigerians believe that banning is not the solution to some of the problems you listed…
This may not fix the problem immediately, but something has to be done. If the ban can wake everyone up to discuss and find lasting solutions to the issues that have divided us, so be it. The Interim Management Committee (IMC) set up by the government to revamp basketball is also a step in the right direction. This will help restore order for the good of the game.
Would you say that the committee is made up of credible members who can carry out their mission?
I can tell you for free that every member of this committee is qualified to be on it. They are all believable actors. ABU Zaria’s teacher, Adamu Ahmed is doing very well. He has been playing basketball for a very long time. Peter Nelson was once captain of the national team. He too has been there for a long time. Gombe State Officer Group Captain Rahinatu Garba has been playing basketball since his days at ABU Zaria. She was also a captain in her time. Then owner of the HotCoal basketball club, Udon Ubon Humapwa is also a major player. The coach among them, Aderemi Adewunmi, is good at grassroots basketball development. Therefore, I think if given a chance they will do a lot for Nigerian basketball.
The NBBF board led by Kida has since denounced the committee as illegal. Don’t you think Nigeria is playing with the FIBA ban?
Let me be honest with you, many of us don’t believe these circulating letters are from FIBA. The other faction only uses the FIBA name to escape certain atrocities or scare the Ministry of Sports. The letters are not authentic. They are not from the real FIBA that we all know. FIBA will not ban Nigeria once they know that the government only intervened to stop the dangerous drift of our basketball.
But have you thought about the negative impact the ban will have on the D’Tigress who qualified for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022?
You will recall that two or three months ago the players of the Women’s National Team protested in a video that went viral on social media that they wanted nothing to do with the NBBF board. led by Kida. They were fighting for their unpaid indemnities. The boys also came out two weeks ago saying the same thing. Although they had the same situation with the girls, they were pleaded not to openly protest like their female compatriots. Personally, I’m not afraid for the D’Tigresse because I doubt that the ban will last up to two years. I believe the government will lift the ban once there is the desired peace in Nigerian basketball. I am convinced that D’Tigress will participate in the World Cup.
How much do you agree with those who said the self-imposed ban could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for basketball?
I agree with those who have such views. Most people have refused to look beyond the consequences of the banning of D’Tigress who qualified for the World Cup, but some of us are looking at the devastation that the lost years have brought to Nigerian basketball. As I said before, for more than five years the national championships have not been played. So I believe this current ban will lead us to permanent solutions to some of the lingering problems.
As the IMC prepares to tackle the issues in Nigerian basketball, what advice would you give to the warring factions?
My advice is that for the sake of young people who want a career in basketball, they should stop being too proud and selfish. I don’t want to start calling names here. Some of us are close to these players and we know what they have been through for the past five years. So I want all aggrieved parties to give peace a chance. Some of us are already old, but what about the young? Those who fight for selfish reasons should reflect.
This interview was conducted ahead of FIBA’s recent decision to replace Nigeria with Mali for the 2022 Women’s World Cup in Australia