By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has refuted claims by a member of the League Management Board, Ajibarede Bello that the federation frustrated Kwese out of the Men’s Premier Basketball league sponsorship.
In a statement released on Sunday, the federation described it as false and a cheap attempt to rewrite history.
The NBBF board said that the withdrawal of Kwese from the Nigerian business space in 2019 was purely business related which abruptly ended all their sponsorship deals with all Nigerian business entities.
The Board advised Ajibarede to stick to the truth in the interest of the game rather than muddle up issues which has continued to negatively affect the men’s premier league.
According to official statement released by Kwese, the organisation shut down and pulled out of Nigeria due to the shortage of foreign exchange, high cost of acquiring content and payment in foreign currency with basketball playing has no direct or indirect role in the activities of the company.
Tracing the genesis of the issue, the Board said, “As a responsible organization, when we came on board, we wrote to all our headline sponsors since the last board did not deem it fit to hand over anything to us. Kwese never replied our numerous letters which was a clear indication that they were not ready to do business with the federation, while other sponsors responded and renegotiated terms with us”.
The Board emphasized that the federation could have taken all necessary legal steps against Kwese but decided to let things be in the interest of basketball and the players.
Reacting to circumstances surrounding the 2018 Kwese Invitational Tournament in Kano, the Board stated that, “We had no issue with private leagues but expressly told teams, even before participation, that the tournament should be seen as preparatory games ahead of the new season as no other leagues apart from the one organised and certified by the federation, in line with FIBA guidelines, will serve as qualification for continental participation.
“Holding a private league and pushing your selected teams for continental slots cannot be tolerated or sanctioned by NBBF or FIBA and this did not go well with the private league organizers which led to the court case instituted in 2018 by them. This has continued to linger and stop the NBBF from organising the premier league due to the court injunction that has remained in place.
The NBBF Board believes that the former board members have no reason, whatsoever to hold on to any of the sponsorship deals they negotiated and entered into on behalf of the NBBF, when another Board comes into being, as that will be an action borne out of sheer greed and not for the love and good of the game.
“The Board assures all Nigerians that they will release all the transcripts of the court proceedings at the appropriate time, since the case is still under adjudication”.
The NBBF Board has advised Ajibarede Bello to tell Nigerians the truth of what interest he has in the Kwese sponsorship deal and the pending court case.