New Champions Crowned in Gov Diri National Scrabble Championship.

Ebonyi State born Enoch Nwali has emerged the new champion of the Masters category in the third edition of the Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

The player recorded 12 wins at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall with a plus 705 cumulative spread to win the trophy and N500,000 star prize and the winner’s trophy.

Last year champion Nsikak Etim came second with 11 wins and a plus 724 cumulative, Emmanuel finished third on 11 wins plus 343 cumulative while former champion Wellington Jighere could only manage 9 wins plus 580 cumulative spread.

Enoch Nwali’s victory means that three champions have emerged in the last three years of the showpiece, Oshevire Avwenagha 2021, Nsikak Etim 2022 and Enoch Nwali the latest winner.

Ojior Osikhena dethroned Jacob Jonah in the veterans category just as Clement Ijegbulem won the open category at the expense of Burogha Douglas from Bayelsa State who was champion in the event last year.

Adeleke John of the Federal Government College Odi retained his crown having taken the place of Ikoko David who won the category in the maiden edition at the Harold Dappa Biriye Conference Centre, Onopa.

Vera Zini emerged champion in the new event tagged the female category.

Declaring the championship close Bayelsa State Governor Senator Douye, said sports has become an integral part of his administration because sports engages the minds of youths.

The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, reiterated his administration’s commitment in using sports as an avenue to combat crime and criminality as well as develop the skills and talent of the youths.

The State helmsman noted that due to the landmark achievement of his administration, the prosperity government was making deliberate steps to make Bayelsa a hub of sports in Nigeria, stating that the prize money for the winner would be revisited in the next edition.

He frowned at multinational oil companies and corporate organizations’ inability to invest in sports despite the huge mineral resources extracted in the region, pointing out that the government cannot do it alone.

The governor urged the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association and Federation to work hand in glove to sustain the championship even after his administration.

Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development Chief Daniel Igali represented by the Director of Sports Bayelsa State Sports Council, Sir Braveman Wodi said he was elated to see all the nations scrabble stars converge on Yenagoa for the governor Diri championship.

President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation Chief Olubake Aka, in a remark, commended the Bayelsa State government for continuously hosting the spectacle in the state describing Bayelsa as one of the leading states in sports in Nigeria.

He urged all the scrabble stars in Nigeria that would be representing the nation in the coming days to be focused, pointing out that the governor Diri Scrabble National Championship has come to stay.

Also, chairman of the Bayelsa State Scrabble National Association, Mr Daniel Alabrah, noted that the championship underscored the attention accorded to  sports  in the last three years of the Douye Diri administration, stating that the competition has become a launchpad to discover  scrabble super stars in Nigeria.

Mr Alabrah pointed out that the success of the championship was incomplete without the governor’s undiminished love towards sports development, describing scrabble as a game that re-oriente the minds.

He particularly thanked one of his executives, Mr Mbeleokpo Aganaba for encouraging scrabble in schools especially Federal Government College Odi.

In an interview, the winner of the masters category, Enoch Nwali said he was delighted to be crowned champion among galaxies of stars across Africa.

He explained that he won the championship with a word called “Sonlier” derived from an English word called sonly which according to him was the clincher.

Credit: Hananeel Jackson

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