The proverbial ‘all roads’ lead to Uyo today Thursday as the 6th Godswill Akpabio International Scrabble Classics will be declared open with 15,000 dollars US as star prize in the Masters Category.
President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation Chief Toke Aka said in Uyo yesterday that over 300 participants have registered to play in the four categories listed for participation.
The categories are, Masters, Intermediate, Open and the celebrated Veterans category which is for inactive captains of industry or those above 55 years of age. Governor Akpabio is listed to play in this category.
The five star Le Meridien Hotel Uyo venue of the event was a bee hive of activities Wednesday as participants from Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK, Ghana, Uganda and USA arrived the state for the much prized event that has become an annual fixture in the calendar of International Scrabble.
This year, there is also an unprecedented rise in female participation, with about 30 female players billed to take part.
The rise in female participation may be due to the fact that this year, special prizes have been set aside for the female category.
President Aka also celebrated the inclusion of female category in the National Sports Festival this year.
“ I thank the National Sports Commission for the approval. We have always held the belief that Scrabble is one of the most successful sports in Nigeria without commensurate recognition, but now we are getting there” Chief Aka offered.
Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Scrabble Association, Pastor Umoh Bassey was all praise for Governor Godswill Akpabio for sustaining the competition these past five years.
“ His Excellency’s love for Scrabble is legendary and it is that interest and passion that has helped to drive it to international standard in so short a time.” He said.
The chairman who is also the State Attorney General for local government wants to use the top class competition to popularize the game in Akwa Ibom schools and colleges.
“ We have gone far in the plan to take scrabble to schools. We are in the process of identifying pilot schools and this will be preceded by the donation of boards and materials to help generate the interest,” he added.