It was an epoch making event in the South West basketball zone as Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo came together in an unprecedented fashion to launch the South West Basketball Association.
The initiative which has been in the pipeline for a while was actualised under the leadership of former D’Tigers captain, Olumide Oyedeji- South West zonal representative on the board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The event had in attendance chairmen and vice chairmen from the six states, NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida and serious stakeholders from the zone. Those who could not come sent able representatives which is a sign of better things to come.
The official launch which took place in Lagos marks the beginning of an all inclusive journey to develop the basketball at the grassroots
Over the last few weeks, I have worked closely with Olumide while also observing him.
He is the future of basketball leadership judging by his foresight and ability to rally people to develop the game. He has an excellent DNA and always ready to consult widely with a willingness to accommodate superior arguments. The Excellence DNA often see him try to do everything by himself in the absence of ‘capable’ hands which is a plus and also a minus.
He may not be ready to throw cash around or dash people money just for the sake of being a ‘cheerful giver’, but his huge investments cannot be overlooked. In the last 2 weeks, he has spent over 2m on media equipment with more spending already budgeted for in the next few weeks.
His packaging is of global standard which will not only make the game attractive to people outside the hemisphere of basketball but also make it easily marketable.
If he continues on this path, the journey will lead the whole zone to a place where we have never been before.
It may be too early to applaud him, but going by his contribution to grassroots in the last couple of years as an individual and vice chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association and his start as the zonal representative on the NBBF board, this special recognition is in order.
In the words of the NBBF president, this latest initiative is just in line with National Sports policy where sports development is from bottom to top.
For Musa Kida, this will spur other zones to also speed up their programmes and compete in a healthy space which will be provided and sustained by the federation.
The wind of change is blowing through the South South, South East and South West. We expect that the fresh air will also get to the North Central, North West and North East very soon.
All we need now is to come together to make this a success for the sake of kids unborn as we build a lasting legacy.