Home Sports Tijani Umar deserves standing ovation, don’t smear his name, says Igoche Mark

Tijani Umar deserves standing ovation, don’t smear his name, says Igoche Mark

My attention has been drawn to an allegation against the person of the former President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Mr. Tijani Umar, accusing him of embezzling Kwese League money.

First and foremost, those making these damaging unsubstantiated allegations against Mr. Umar have made it their stock in trade to always smear the name of any person at the helm of affairs of basketball in the past 30 years. They have become accustomed to making frivolous and unproven allegations once it doesn’t suit them. 

For me, I see their unsavory development as a ploy, a strategy to distract and derail the process of restoring  normalcy to Nigeria basketball.

With the new timeline given by the Ministry for the constitution of a new NBBF Board, it is crystal clear that these schemers are also bent on shifting the focus of serious minded stakeholders, away from the unwholesome issues that tainted the turbulent reign of the past NBBF Board.

As a matter of fact, those accusing Tijani Umar do not have any moral justification to fire the first shot, because they ought to know that whoever comes to equity, must himself come with clean hands.
It is on record, and undisputable too that Mr. Tijani Umar as NBBF President (from 2013-2017) out-performed them in many spheres.

As NBBF President, Mr. Umar blazed the trail by steering the D’Tigers to their first FIBA Afrobasket title in 2013, while ensuring that the team qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.The same level of success was replicated by the D’Tigress who in addition to qualifying for the Olympics, won the first of their back-to-back FIBA Afrobasket titles.

On the domestic scene, the DSTV sponsored Men’s Premier League, Zenith Bank Women’s Premier League flourished, Mr. Umar attracted Kwese Sports, who committed an unprecedented amount of money to sponsorship including the much needed media exposure for the local league.

For me these are laudable achievements, worth celebrating and needs to be replicated. But did the detractors bother to ask for the details of the contract?
This act of trying to smear the name of Mr. Tijani Umar at a time when stakeholders and lovers of the game are much more aware, more informed and desiring for the survival of the game, this comes as a huge distraction aimed at taking focus from regressive performances.

More so that Nigerians are asking for accountability of the last four years especially on funds appropriated and released in those years. 

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Igoche Mark

I therefore enjoin Nigerians and especially basketball stakeholders to disregard these baseless allegations, calculated to derail serious minded persons on how to restore the nation’s No.2 sport on the path of peace, growth and prosperity; both locally and internationally. Our focus must be on banishing the ghost of turbulence and inactivity that characterized basketball, in the last four years.

My advise to this disenchanted persons is for them to give Mr. Tijani Umar a standing ovation for the contributions he made towards developing the game in Nigeria.  He showed his love for the game and opened the horizon to greater possibilities.
Long Live NBBFLong Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Igoche Mark

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