All those leading national sports federations hold such positions in trust for the Government and people of Nigeria under the direct supervision of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development.
Ismaila Abubakar, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, noted this in a statement yesterday in Abuja while conveying Federal Government’s latest decision on basketball.
The Federal Government, yesterday approved an immediate return of Nigeria to international basketball.
Abubakar, while announcing government’s decision, said President Muhammadu Buhari only approved the return with a note of caution to not only the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) but all other sports leaders.
“In securing this approval, of note is the caution that the laws of Nigeria cannot be subjugated to any other law, and every Nigerian entity must respect Nigerian laws and authority governing various sectors,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the failure to do this would attract sanctions, as it is with any constitutionally-bound sovereign nation.
“There is first a country before any organisation or federation that bears the Nigerian name, colours and flag in representing Nigeria,” he added.
Abubakar disclosed that, as a result of this, President Buhari has directed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to ensure the speedy implementation of the undertakings by NBBF.
He said this was because the undertakings formed a major basis of the reversal of government’s decision.
“The Ministry is to report back to President Buhari on the progress made going forward.”
The presidential withdrawal of Nigeria from international basketball competitions for two years, a number of significant developments have occurred.
One of them was the intervention by concerned stakeholders, former Nigerian international basketball players and well-meaning Nigerians to seek solutions to the issues which triggered the decision on withdrawal.
There was also a virtual meeting between the top hierarchy of FIBA and the Minister of Youth and Sports which produced common understanding in certain general areas.
This was concluded with a commitment by both FIBA and Nigeria.
This was to explore and collaborate on enhancing relationships, development of basketball and reaffirming mutual respect for the laws and Constitution of Nigeria as a sovereign state, and also FIBA .
A letter of appeal from the Musa Kida-led NBBF board dated June 17 and addressed to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development then followed.
The letter signed by Kida, among other things, apologised to President Buhari and the Minister over the embarrassment the development around basketball and some stakeholders’ conduct have brought upon Nigeria.
The letter had appealed to the Minister to use his good offices to approach President Buhari for the reversal of the two-year withdrawal of Nigeria from international basketball competitions.
The appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings.
These include: immediately setting in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Another one is the setting up of a high-powered team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family at home and abroad.
There is also the commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance and development of basketball, among other things.
Following the compliance of NBBF to the issues at stake and upon a review, the Ministry approached President Buhari and placed these developments before him.
President Buhari then considered the appeal and approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately.
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