Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Sports Minister
Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Sports Minister

THE Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Sports, Godfrey Gaiya, on Monday assured the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) that funds appropriated to it in the 2014 budget would be released.
Gaiya gave the assurance at the opening ceremony of the 2015 NBBF Stakeholders and Consultative Forum/Pre-Season Seminar in Abuja.
He said the Committee would ensure that what was allocated to the NBBF was released for it to carry out its programmes.
“During the 2012 Sports Summit, it was agreed that some particular sports be given leverage due to their performances, and one of them was basketball.
“This is in recognition of basketball’s position in the country, and that position must be matched with actions by providing the needed funds and other things.
“I was surprised when I was informed that the budgeted allocation had not been released to the federation.
“But what I was made to understand was that the fourth quarter release of some ministries had not been released. But now, we are sure that this will be given.
“We are going to see to it that what is meant for basketball is given to it,’’ Gaiya said.
Speaking earlier, NBBF President, Tijani Umar, had bemoaned the fact that the federation lacks a befitting office, saying it was affecting morale and slowing down the federation’s partnership management.
Umar called on the National Sports Commission (NSC) to show the federation the plot of land allocated to it by the former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi.
“When you have a vision and plan to execute it, if you don’t have a befitting office, there is no way you can have the number of staff to execute the vision.
“You cannot bring your partners to meet with you and you cannot convince your sponsors that you are a serious federation worthy of doing business with.
“We have got a commitment from the former minister which is binding. Therefore, all we need is for the NSC to show us the land to build our office.
“Once we show the land to people who want to help us, we are sure of getting money from them to start work on the office project.
“It is all about determination, if we have the land, the Nigerian Basketball House will be built. For example, the Football House is up now and I think the house is befitting,’’ Umar said.
The NBBF president said another challenge hindering the federation’s performance was that of qualitative facilities to raise the standard of the game.
“We need a standard FIBA-approved basketball floor and scoreboard for national and international competitions.
“As a result, our chance of hosting any international tournament has reduced, while the work of bringing our national teams to camp to play and practise at home before our fans is not possible,’’ he said.
Umar said Nigerian basketball stakeholders must provide an enabling environment for investors to key into.
“The regular reference to the private sector to be the driver of growth of our sports sector is very hollow.
“Stakeholders should not abandon their responsibility of creating an enabling environment to attract investors.
“When you don’t have a good product to exchange for investment and sponsorship, no one will answer your calls,’’ he said.
The stakeholders and consultative forum/pre-season seminar which started on February1 will come to an end on February 5.
The forum has in attendance State Basketball Association Chairmen and Secretaries, and officials of clubs in the DSTV Men’s and Zenith Women Leagues.
Others were officials of clubs in the National Division One and National Division Two Leagues, board members and staff of the NBBF.
The rest of the stakeholders at the forum are referees, technical commissioners and table officials, as well as members of the Nigerian basketball media.