Enoch Nwali, on won the 14th edition of the African scrabble championship which held in Lusaka, Zambia.
Nwali defeated Wellington Jighere, his closest rival and compatriot, in a tightly contested round 31, to win the title for the first time.
The victory came barely 24 hours after Nigeria took over the political affairs of scrabble in Africa as Adekoyejo Adegbesan was elected President of the Pan Africa Scrabble Association (PANASA) after he defeated the incumbent Muhamed Kamara.
Wellington, a dogged master of the game, trailed the young gun from day two closely expecting some slip-up from the frontrunner.
But round 31 became a threshold for both players as Jighere, who won the African title back-to-back in 2008 and 2010, knew a defeat would be fatal to his ambition of becoming the first player to win the championship three times.
Jighere further garnered some pretty points in the early stages of the game as his younger compatriot tried to catch-up.
A quickfire of premiums in three successions with the word ‘TOUSIER’, ‘YEARDING’ and ‘EANLINGS’ propelled Nwali above Jighere as both players hunted for more points in the intriguing encounter.
At the end, Nwali won the tie by a point as the final score stood at 514-513 after Jighere did some reconciliation for a possible scoring error which could have dragged the game further.
After the result was confirmed, the score pushed Nwali’s overall result to 25½ wins and 6½ losses with a monstrous 2,023 cumulative points.
He also stamped his new status as the 11th Nigerian to have his name etched in history as a winner at the championship.
In May, both players had faced each other in Nigeria at the ‘Sophomore’ Emmanuel Egbele Annual Scrabble Tournament (EEAST) where the ‘Drummer Boy’ triumphed over the former World Champion at the final stage to win the tournament.
On the overall ranking, Jighere finished second with 22 wins and 10 losses while another Nigerian Prince Omosefe came third with same score but with lesser cumulative points.
Oyende Allan of Kenya placed third while Eta Karo finished fifth as Tuoyo Mayuku won the female category.
Victory in Zambia has now extended Nigeria’s dominance on the African scene to 13 wins from the 14 editions held since 1994.
Ten countries featured at this year’s edition.
The organisers also disclosed that the the 15th edition would be hosted by Sierra Leone in 2024.