A Legal Practitioner from the Warri branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, John Aikpokpo Martins has reacted to the notice issued by the NBA Secretariat calling for expression of interest by NBA branches for the Annual General Conference Football Tournament.

According to him, the Onitsha branch of the NBA won the football tournament last year, of which they are entitled to the championship prize of 1 million naira, however, unfortunately that obligation appears not to have been fully redeemed.

John Aikpokpo Martins also drew the attention of Kunle Edun, to the fact that the competition used to be freely entered, but the last administration introduced a fee of N50,000. He also stated that this year, strangely, expression of interest fees have been fixed for N100,000.

“The NBA football competition at conferences started in 2006 Port Harcourt if I can recall clearly. The 1st official match was between the Port Harcourt branch and Warri branch, and I played for the Warri branch team, I went in to play in the said competition from then till 2017 when I finally retired. Some of the known names that played from inception and made friends with in the course of playing against each other are Emeka Obegolu and late Olowokure, etc., Warri branch have won this competition once and as runner-up twice.

“The only reason I enjoy conferences is because of the football component of the conference. It is therefore very dear to some of us. This competition used to be freely entered by the interested branches, until sometime last year when registration fees of N50,000 was introduced (Hope I got it right). This year, strangely, expression of interest fees (not even registration) have been fixed to be N100,000.

Speaking further, he said that the said amount is not fair, as from his experience, it takes up to N2,000,000 for a team to participate. He thus added that the price is very high. According to him, if open marketing is done, sponsors can be gotten.

Speaking with the Chairman of NBA Onitsha branch, Ozoemena Erinne, he confirmed to TheNigerialawyer that NBA is yet to pay for the competition amount. However, he said that not less than two weeks ago, the branch wrote to the NBA Secretariat informing them of the payment yet to be paid. He also emphasized that the current administration is not really under any obligation to pay; that it is the failure of the past administration. He is, however, confident that the current administration will give them a listening ear.

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