Today’s basketball election amongst supposedly 32 and questionable 10 division three clubs has been postponed to Saturday, February 21 after over five hours of intensive meeting amongst stakeholders yesterday at the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Also, Tuesday’s congress, which was intended to discuss the annual financial report of the association, was pushed to Friday, February 20.
The deferment marked the third postponement – the first date was January 28; later to February 6 and 7, and then to February 17 and 18.
Deputy Minister for Sports Henry B. Yonton said the postponement was necessarily to tackle complaints of allegedly 14 unduly registered clubs, amongst other issues.
A ranking member of the aggrieved stakeholders’ spokesperson, Malcolm Joseph and the LBF technical committee chairman, Mr. Eric Williams argued that there are 32 active clubs, but the Rufus Anderson’s administration said though 10 clubs didn’t participate in the league, they duly registered with the federation, making them eligible to vote.
Minister Yonton told journalists in an interview held yesterday after the lengthy meeting in his office that the failure on any of the party to prove their commitment in accordance to the Resolution, the Ministry would execute a remedial decision.
He said the Liberia Basketball Federation (LBF), aggrieved stakeholders and the Ministry found a “middle ground” and have resolved in an 8-count resolution to have a successful congressional election this weekend to be observed by the Ministry and the Liberian National Olympic Committee (LNOC).
According to the 8-count Resolution, of which a copy is in our possession, the LBF must present the current bank statement and receipts of the Association to determine the legitimacy of the 14 clubs being contested on Thursday, February 18, at 11:00am to the offices’ of the Deputy Sports Minister.
The Resolution states: That all qualified teams receive package on February 18, at the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ facilities; That registration for election is open from Tuesday, February 17 to Thursday, February 19, and that registration fees for the election be paid to the election commission of the LBF constituted to oversee the election.
It further states: “That all clubs obligated to the Association must pay said money to the Secretary General of the Association or the Treasurer before the close of business on Thursday, February 19, and that the second day of the congress must be subsidized by the aggrieved party and said amount should be channeled through the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Thursday, February 19.
Mr. Ali Sylla of D-Rocks and Calvin Diggs of Flames signed on behalf of the aggrieved stakeholders as proof of commitment; while Secretary General D. Allen Goodridge and President Rufus Anderson affixed their signatures on behalf of the LBF leadership and the Deputy Minister for Sports approved the Resolution.
“Now therefore, we the officials and stakeholders of the Liberia Basketball Association under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports have affirmed to abide to the provision as stated supra, any bridge by either part the Ministry of Youth and Sports should institute necessary remedial actions as deemed appropriate in the supreme interest of basketball development in Liberia,” the Resolution said.
It may be recall that the Electoral Commission of the LBF qualified six candidates to vie for various positions which are being described by many as white ballot poll.
Electoral commission chair Jerome M. Hodge, said, in keeping with general regulations and guidelines of the LBA, the six candidates have met all necessary requirements.
Candidates in the race are: T. Rufus Anderson, vying for the presidency; Fred Ted, vice presidency; Bruce W. Quaye, vice president for operations; Abiodu Thomas, for treasurer, Jairus J. Harris, for the financial secretary post and Isaac Smith, for the chaplain position respectively.
The Rufus Anderson-led administration at the Liberia Basketball Association has been under mounting pressure from club presidents’ association for financial and administration mismanagement.
However, the legitimacy of the Chief Executive Officer of K-Delta, Abraham Samukai, as well the Proprietor and President of Dream Team 1, Jake Kabakollie are still uncertain with the constitution in full swing.
Accordingly, the administration said K-Delta proprietor isn’t eligible to contest but that was thrown out, making him eligible to run, if he desires to do so.
The Ministry of Youth & Sports, in consultations with the LBF and the LNOC agreed that all owners and presidents of basketball teams in good financial standing are eligible to run for positions in the federation, clearing the way for Abraham Samukai to make his choice.
However, Dream Team 1 has not participated in the LBF leagues in the past three years and is also financially indebted to the federation.