Governor Godswill Akpabio
The highlight of the 6th Godswill Akpabio International Scrabble Championship just concluded in Uyo was world champion, Pakong Nemitramansuk from Thailand, winning the star prize of $15,000.
After three unsuccessful attempts, it was time for the versatile player to say hurray and with it came the increased prize money. The Uyo championship is the highest paying prize money in the world in scrabble and is sought after by top players around the globe. It is next to the Scrabble World Championship.
In an elaborate and colourful closing ceremony of an event that was attended by representatives from eight other countries, The Pillar of Scrabble in Africa, Chief Godswill Akpabio, urged all present to learn from the Pakong example of steadfastness until glory is attained.
He traced the history of Nigeria’s failure at the Olympics to the lack of sports at the grassroots and announced that he was at the point of returning sports to schools.
While promising that next year’s competition scheduled for between September 26 and 29 2013 will be bigger and better. A visibly happy Governor Akpabio went ahead to reward all the 27 female participants with a cash donation of N100,000 each.
The gesture came after the Chairperson of the occasion, Senator Helen Esuene called for more women participation, saying to have only 27 of them out of a total of over 300 was not encouraging enough.
There were other winners in the N13m total prize money including Ogbakpa Rex who came second in the Masters category carting home N1.2m. Third position went to Paul Sodge.
Okoridem Bob won the Veterans category while Saidu Ayorinde champion in the Open category. The Intermediate crown was carted away by Idahosa Bright while Afolayan Bukunmi won the Ladies game.
Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Scrabble Association, Pastor Umoh Bassey, introduced an 11-year-old participant, Master Emmanuel Salem, who won 10 games. Two students of Queens College Lagos also participated in the event.
He said his association has finalised plans to introduce scrabble to schools in Akwa Ibom and that 100 boards ordered from abroad had arrived.
For his steadfastness in the sponsoring of the competition, Governor Akpabio was presented with a steel board, the fifth of its kind in the world.