Nigeria finished the year as the number one country in scrabble to end 2018 on a very high note for the sports. 

Since Delta State born Wellington Jighere won the inaugural World English-Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) Championship in 2015 in Australia to become the first African player to be crowned World Scrabble Champion, Nigeria, the English -speaking scrabble superpower has been soaring on the world stage. 

Wellington Jighere won the English-Language World Scrabble Championship in 2015
Wellington Jighere won the English-Language World Scrabble Championship in 2015

Jighere’s win put Nigeria as the number one scrabble country in the world, dislodging the United States of America who had been at the top for about a decade. 

Jighere’s rise to become a world champion encouraged many Nigerian scrabble players to aim for greatness and a couple of world beaters have since emerged. 

After winning the WESPA Championship in 2015, Wellington was beaten severally in national competitions, a testament to the scrabble talents in Nigeria.

Despite contemplating retirement, Jighere led Nigeria’s charge for scrabble glory in 2018.

In October 2018, he could only get to the quarter-finals of the Mattel World Scrabble Championship

But at the 2018 African Scrabble Championship, he came second to his compatriot and captain of Nigeria’s senior scrabble team, Moses Peter who finished first. 

The 2018 African Scrabble Championship was a good tournament for Team Nigeria whose players occupied the top three positions. 

Peter emerged champion, Jighere was the first runner up while Eta Karo finished in third as the second runner up. 

These strides ensured that Nigeria finished 2018 as the top-ranked country in world scrabble. 

Scrabble which was given official recognition as a sport in Nigeria in the 1990s still suffers some setbacks. 

Government assistance has been patchy while sponsorship from corporate bodies and individuals have been hard to come by. 

Despite the setbacks, scrabble has continued to catch on among Nigerians who hold a series of tournaments all over the country.