Col. Samuel Ahmedu is the President of Dodan Warriors Basketball Project and memberÂ of FIBA-Africa Marketing committee. He spoke with WALE JOSEPH about the allegationÂ levelled against him by the countryâ€™s basketball governing body, Nigeria BasketballÂ Federation, NBBF over the age controversy involving Moses Godfrey, a member of theÂ National under 18 team to the just concludedÂ FIBA-Africa U-18 championship inÂ Rwanda
How will you react to the allegation that you exposed Moses Godfrey to FIBA-AfricaÂ for being over aged at the last FIBA-Africa U-18 championship in Rwanda?
Let me start by saying that the Tijani Umar-led board of the NBBF is only chasingÂ shadows. If not they wonâ€™t be pointing an accusing finger at me. Itâ€™s high time weÂ allow people who run our sports realise that they are responsible to the country.Â They should stop doing things that will tarnish the image ofÂ the country. Was I theÂ one that also reported the Congolese player to FIBA?
You were in Kigali, Rwanda during the championship, what happened?
I was in Kigali as a match commissioner. I didnâ€™t report any player to FIBA.Â Information about the player was on the club (Royal Hoopers)â€™s official website andÂ when the issue was raised, I rallied round the Nigerian team to get the country outÂ of the mess, but we could not get the President and the Secretary General of theÂ federation for three days. Some people who were with the team can testify to this.Â NBBF failed in its responsibility and now the officials are pointing an accusingÂ finger at me to cover up their shortcomings. I was surprised that the president,Â Tijani Umar, could go to the press accusing me of what I did not do. Anyway, theÂ case is still under investigation.
Can you explain what informed this accusation?
The truth is that NBBF is being run like a personal investment of Umar. I stillÂ donâ€™t understand why the officials of NBBF think I was the one who reported the boyÂ when the information on his passport is different from whatâ€™s on the clubâ€™s website.Â Immediately the incident happened, the NBBF didnâ€™t respond for over three days.Â Even, the leader of Nigerian delegation, Col. Ola Olutoye and the assistantÂ secretary that travelled with the team did not know what to do. My response was veryÂ clear when the incident happened. FIBA-Africa has warned its affiliates to avoid ageÂ cheat for years.
Why accuse the President of the federation that he is running the body as hisÂ personal estate, when itâ€™s the board that took the decision to probe you on theÂ allegation?
I know what Iâ€™m talking about. You can even investigate my claim. Itâ€™s Umar andÂ Malone that run the federation, other members are not being carried along. How manyÂ of them were in Port Harcourt for the end of the season Final 8 Play-off ?
Why were you singled out then?
Itâ€™s in Nigeria that I see that when somebody is given a job to do and he fails,Â instead of admitting failure, he will want to shift the blame to someone else. I wasÂ not the one that put the information of the boy on his clubâ€™s website. I was not theÂ one that processed his passport. I made an effort to get the Team Manager of theÂ club to respond to the allegation on time to save the country from theÂ embarrassment. I was there as a match commissioner, who should not show support forÂ any country, even to my country. But I still went ahead to help out, only for theÂ NBBF to turn around and accuse me of wrong doing. We shall soon see who is guilty. IÂ will only implore the federation to come out with its findings so that NigeriansÂ will know who brought the countryâ€™s name into disrepute.