…Lagos State may not host any PANASA event again
By Maxwell Kumoye
The President of one of the most active and creative sporting bodies in Africa, the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA), Adekoyejo Adegbesan and it’s members Associations are happy, excited and satisfied with the sponsors, partners as well as support they got during the inaugural edition of the President’s Cup (PPC), African Youth Scrabble Championship (AYSC) which ended over the weekend in Lagos State, South West, Nigeria.
Adegbesan made this known in an exclusive interview with your authoritative news channel at the Orchid Hotel Ikota-Lekki, Lagos shortly after the elaborate, entertaining, electrifying and well attended combined closing ceremony of both Championships at the magnificent and well decorated main event center of the Orchid Hotel.
“We at the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) are extremely happy and satisfied with all the support and collaborations we received from the corporate bodies, well meaning stakeholders, partners and suppliers including our associates.” Adegbesan stated.
The twin events, that is the PANASA President’s Cup and the African Youth Scrabble Championship named after Dr. Mrs. Wilfred Awosika had over 225 players and 75 officials from 10 countries in Africa and America in attendance in the four days competition.
The participants came in from Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Uganda, United States of America and host Nigeria. Kenya’s delegation of over 40 persons was the second largest after Nigeria.
The twin event succeeded on all the fronts, record attendance, high quality participants, top notch officiating, near perfect organization, superb standard accommodation by Orchid Hotel Ikota-Lekki and Chrisland School Lekki, dependable sponsors, partners, trusted allies, a robust and excellent media coverage, a grand and spectacular closing ceremony that will linger in the hearts and minds of the passionate mind game disciples and stakeholders for a very long time to come.
The Main Organizing Committee (MOC), headed by the PANASA President Adekoyejo Adegbesan has in his fold a very dilligent and a man with an eye for details as tournament director, Crispine Okeyo of Kenya assisted by Nigeria Umar Faruq Baba-Inna, Khaleed Adedeji, Olumide Oyejide and Hakeem Olaribigbe.
Others in the team that worked round the clock to make the President’s Cup and Africa Youth Scrabble Championship a massive success story are Daniel Machanje and Evelyne Wangui of Kenya,
Elisabeth Nagasha of Uganda, Patrick Hamilton Drake from Sierra Leone, Liberia’s Joseph Avery, Joseph Loiti of Botswana and Nigeria’s trio of Ejiro Thukson, Samuel Eromosele and Adewunmi Adepoju, all members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), of the African Youth Scrabble Championship.
Tayo Ogunseye headed the media team of both events and was supported by Dotun Omisakin and Paul Gbadegeshin, who were incharge of the Third Media that is the Social Media.
The PANASA President, a tech expert who is based in Ireland, said, these illustrious sons and daughters of Africa made the scrabble fraternity worldwide proud with the handling of the events.
“They all put in the right energy, effort and ticked the right boxes for this near perfect organization to fall in place, am proud of the team and will be willing to work with them again. There are very few things we will love to do differently in the next edition.” The man fondly known as Sheikh said.
Adegbesan who is also the Chairman of Ogun State Scrabble Association (OSSA), was not just satisfied with the organization alone, he was very elated and full of gratitude for the corporate bodies and well meaning individuals that backed and supported the two-in-one event and this huge and heavyweight backing came from all parts of Africa and America.
This include, Nigeria Breweries Plc, Friesland Campina WAMCO Plc, makers of Peak Milk, Peak Choco and Peak Yoghurt Drink, Kenya Airways, Diageo Nigeria, PZ Wilmar Foods Ltd, makers of Mamador Spread and Vegetable oil, Air Peace, Winifred Awosika Foundation, Ojeyz Security based in Ghana, Ayoci Energies Ltd, Atelier Architects, which is also a Ghanaian firm, Thrive Agriculture, SocialLiga, Midas Farm, Cinq-SAA, Madoms Global Trade, Boaz Commodities Ltd, Petrichor Group of Industries, SamTimer and BradMein Nigeria Ltd among others
Well meaning stakeholders and individuals with deep pockets and kind hearts like Engineer Gbenga Ojofeitimi, Musa Olasupo, Engineer Ojior Osikhena, Samuel Anikoh, Haruna Adamu, Austin Isiekwe and SM Quartey oiled the sponsorship, partnership and support base of the PANASA President’s Cup.
PANASA marched their words with concrete action by giving all the sponsors, partners, supporters, coaches, scrabble club, officials, associates and institutions that made both competitions successful medals, plaques and cash rewards.
The President of the host Federation, Engineer Toke Aka, the President of The Gambia Scrabble Association (GSA) Dr. Abba Hydara, the President Scrabble Kenya (SK), Limo Kipkemoi, Dr. Edgar Odongkara, the President of Uganda Scrabble Association (USA) as well as their counterparts from Sierra Leone, Botswana, Cameroon and Liberia all gave the championships thumbs up.
A totally committed, very passionate and dependable stakeholder of the game of scrabble in Ghana and Africa, Samuel Mbrayeh Quartey, described the PANASA President’s Cup and the African Youth Scrabble Championship as a round breaking events as far the sport is concern in Africa and the World.
The man fondly called SM Quartey, who is also the grand patron Scrabble Association of Ghana (SAG) made this submission before the scintillating and griping closing ceremony that had in attendance the 83 year old renowned Educationist, scrabble enthusiast and founder of the prestigious Chrisland Schools Chief Dr. Mrs. Winfred Awosika and the governor of Turkana County, the largest County Province in Kenya, Jeremiah Ekamais Lomorukai Napotikan.
“I’m happy to be in Lagos to witness this tournament which I will call ground breaking. The kind of organization we saw here is taking the game of Scrabble to another level. Before the tournament and during the tournament, I have seen a kind of friendship and brotherliness among all the contestants. It’s really like coming together of one family and such environment is beautiful” Quartey said.
Samuel Mbrayeh Quartey, a renowned architect and a philanthropist is excited with the standard of organization of both the President’s Cup and the African Youth Scrabble Championship which Ghana was fully represented in.
“The organization, the set up, the ambiance, fresh customized boards for everybody, the officiating, the quality, everything associated with it, it’s the height of scrabble, it’s a spectacle and I’m happy to be here watching it. He stated.
SM Quartey, further stressed that Ghana and other African countries should build on the success story of the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) President’s Cup. “Am happy to be here in Lagos with our director from the ministry of sports in Ghana, Christie Ashley, we been taking lessons here, we will go back home and replicate what we’ve seen here.”
The soft spoken scrabble stakeholder whose architecture master piece dots most parts of ‘Mother-Land’ Ghana had some kind and nice words for the President of PANASA, Adekoyejo Adegbesan. “Adegbesan’s presidency represents a new wave for African scrabble, it’s not a surprise but I’m excited about it.”
On the issue of corporate backing and support, the Post Graduate Diploma holder in Architecture, from the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana, explained that it’s not just about getting corporate bodies to throw their weight behind the game but corporate bodies that are connected and can relate with the sport is what is needed for it to be lifted all round.
“Scrabble as a game is best supported by people who have love for the game not just corporate bodies who have no connection with the game, so some of our old enthusiasts who are concentrating on their corporate businesses, it’s about time we knock on their doors and say come and show some love and support to our common joy, which is scrabble. He stressed.
Similarly the Chairman of Lagos State Monopoly and Scrabble Association (LSMSA), Engineer Dipo Akanbi, said the inaugural edition of the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) President’s Cup (PPC) is a world class event that compares favourably with the last WESPA Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Akanbi stated that, the number, their dexterity on the board, mental strength and word power of the over 135 players from Africa and America is a clear testimony of the high standard of the President’s Cup which took place at the Rose Hall of Orchid Hotel, Ikota-Lekki in Lagos, Nigeria.
“The atmosphere is electric, friendly, the hall is near perfect, the quality of the games are sky high and the hospitality is second to non, Africa is feeling and seeing Lagos and Nigeria in a positive light.” The civil engineer said.
He went further to state that; “Africa has come of age and the game of Scrabble is growing very fast. Before now, it was all about Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana but Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon are pulling out some big bingos in the game as it flourish across the continent.“
Most of the players, including a seasoned actor, firm maker and an entrepreneur, Fred Amata, John Curtis, Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) Technical Director who completed at the President’s Cup (PPC), share Engineer Dipo Akanbi’s submission on the new baby of PANASA.
“The success story of the Pan African Scrabble Association PANASA President’s Cup (PPC), will help speed up the development of scrabble across Africa and we in Lagos State Monopoly and Scrabble Association (LSMSA), are working on a big tournament, hopefully next year.” Akanbi added.
“With more corporate backing as well as government support we get it done.”
“I enjoyed every minute, every move and action at the President’s Cup, we are yearning for more in the years to come. I surpassed my own personal expectations, as the event comes to an end.” The LSMSA Chairman concluded.
It’s noteworthy to mention that, the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) and the Pan African Scrabble Association have worked hand in hand with Nigeria’s High Commissions around Africa and Nigeria Embassy in the US in the area of issuance of visas to players and officials.
In order to make both competitions hitch free, PANASA procured 100 Pro and 20 Semi Pro customized boards, 50 timers designed and manufactured by renowned Scrabble makers, Star Boards of Pakistan used during both events.
“The boards will be deployed at PANASA organized events and other events. PANASA will support East and Central Africa Scrabble Association (ECASA), in Botswana next year with the use of these boards. The President added.
We understand that the semi Pro-boards will be donated to countries who are members Association of PANASA but still play mostly on paper boards. Some will also be deployed to countries like Lesotho and Zimbabwe where Scrabble is also starting to grow. This will be donated alongside the training materials that PANASA has been donating to member countries.
After four days of top scrabble grueling actions among players from Kenya, Liberia, Ghana, Uganda and host Nigeria, David Ojih of Team Nigeria and Prestige Archibong finished top of the U-19 and U-15 categories of the maiden Pan African Scrabble Association, (PANASA) Winifred Awosika Foundation African Youth Scrabble Championship, (AYSC).
David’s road to the top came through after 24 rounds of exchange of intensive mind game challenge, which he won 19 and lost 5 games with a cumulative score spread of plus 2022 in the U-19 category.
Joy Ola came second with 18 wins and a cumulative of plus 1097 ahead of Lateef Musa who recorded 17 victories and a cumulative points of plus 1012.
The top honour of the Pan African Scrabble Association, (PANASA) Winifred Awosika Foundation African Youth Scrabble Championship, AYSC U-15 event went to another Nigeria’s Prestige Archibong.
Prestige Archibong won 16 games with a cumulative score spread of plus 2014. Quodos Aliu end the continental Championship in the second position after he finished with 13 wins with a cumulative score spread of plus 1358.
Clinton Imode came third. 88 players from from five countries participated in the Pan African Scrabble Association, (PANASA) Winifred Awosika Foundation African Youth Scrabble Championship, AYSC.
9,000 dollars and other spot prizes like laptops, tablets and smart phones were shared to the winners of the Pan African Scrabble Association, (PANASA) Winifred Awosika Foundation African Youth Scrabble Championship, (AYSC).
In the same line, Nigeria’s Godwin Victor won the inaugural edition of the PANASA President’s Cup.
Victor achieved this feat at the expense of former World Champion Wellington Jighere 3-2 with a cumulative points of plus 101 in the final decided on Sunday at the Orchid Hotel Ikota-Lekki, Lagos.
To reach the final, Godwin Victor stopped Adeyemi Adeosun in the semi final 3-0 with 236 cumulative points while Wellington Jighere did the same to John Aiyedun with a higher margin of 512 cumulative points.
Victor smiled home with 5,000 dollars and the Gbenga Ojofeitimi trophy for his effort.
THE LOW POINTS:
X No government support, either from the Federal Government or Lagos State, financially, logistically or technical support despite the fact that the event took place in the Country and State.
X No Federal Government and Lagos State representatives before, during and after the closing ceremony.
X Lagos State under governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been paying lip service to sports development in the State but will waste the resources of Lagos hosting former Nigerians who have turned their backs on the the country and he also wasted State funds traveling to England to watch an EPL game.
As a result of the lukewarm and nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government of Nigeria, PANASA the continental body of scrabble whose Secretariat is in Lagos State have decided that Lagos will not host any of three major Pan African Scrabble Association events, the African Youth Scrabble Championship (AYSC) the African Scrabble Championship (ASC) and the President’s Cup (PPC) in the near future.
★ The Engineer Gbenga Ojofeitimi trophy won by the winner of the President’s Cup is a 44cm tall Cuchulainn Crystal Trophy and it came with a lid and polished wooden base.
★ The Dr. Mrs. Winfred Awosika U-19 African Youth Scrabble Championship Trophy is a nickel plated trophy
★ Four African icons, three men Gbenga Ojofeitimi, SM Quartey, Ojior Osikhena and a woman Dr. Mrs. Winfred Awosika were named after the top three prizes in the President’s Cup and the top prize in the African Scrabble Championship.
★ Ugandan scrabble sensation and equally jovial player, Andrew Akwanya was the first foreign star to arrive for the President’s Cup.
★ Nine African countries and America were represented at the President’s Cup and five African countries participated in the African Youth Scrabble Championship.
★ All the former and current winners of the African Scrabble Championship (ASC), were decorated with the continental badge or badges, if the player was a double winner. Current African champion Enoch Nwali, Moshood Sanni, Nsikak Etim, Moses Peter, two, two-time champions in Dennis Ikekeregor and Wellington Jighere were all decorated on the opening day of the President’s Cup.
★ Two venues, Chrisland School Lekki and Orchid Hotel Ikota-Lekki used for the two-in-one event.
★ A record attendance for any scrabble in the continent with139 players in the President’s Cup, which is higher than the last WESPA Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in July.
★ The African Youth Scrabble Championship, the first of it’s kind in the history of the game of words in Africa had 88 players in attendance.
★ The over one million US dollars spent on both competitions including the historic Dr. Mrs. Winfred Awosika African Youth Scrabble Championship Trophy Tour, came from corporate bodies and well meaning individuals with zero support from FG and Lagos State Government.
★ The historic Trophy Tour Started 30th April in Accra, Ghana and it made stop overs to Edoret and Nairobi in Kenya, Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria as well as Gulu and Kampala in Uganda.
★ Accra, Ghana will host the next edition of the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) President’s Cup PPC in 2025 while Sierra Leone will stage the 2024 African Scrabble Championship (ASC).
★ The second edition of the African Youth Scrabble Championship (AYSC), will be hosted by Kenya in 2025 in the beautiful city of Nairobi.