By Dwelleth Morountodun
Following the unending crises that have plagued and nearly crippled Basketball development in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has today approved the immediate withdrawal of Nigeria from all International Basketball Competitions for a period of two years.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare who made the statement in his Office in Abuja, disclosed that the withdrawal of Nigeria was to provide government with the opportunity to revamp the sport from the grassroots as well as revive the domestic leagues which have become moribund.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, the Minister stated that the withdrawal will also allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the domestic Basketball Leagues in Nigeria and to further address other related issues around the advancement of the game in the country.
“Government intends to utilize this period of break to address all contentious issues among stakeholders. The Terms of Reference (TOR) and membership of the Interim Management Committee will be announced in due course”, he said.
In issuing the Presidential order, the Minister reiterated government’s interest and commitment to the development of the sport of Basketball in Nigeria as well as huge talents of our youth domestically in an atmosphere that is free of rancour and squabbles.
He called on players, officials, fans, and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as government embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilize the game of Basketball for growth and success in the long term interest of the country.