Wellington Jighere, 32, made history on Sunday after he was crowned as the first African world champion in Scrabble at a weekend-long English-language championship in Perth, Australia, reported the Guardian.

He beat his opponent, Englishman Lewis MacKay, with four straight wins in an epic best-of-seven finale.

A board showing the winning game between Wellington Jighere and Lewis Mackay. Photograph: Calla Wahlquist/Guardian
A board showing the winning game between Wellington Jighere and Lewis Mackay. Photograph: Calla Wahlquist/Guardian

He expressed his gratitude on Facebook yesterday but admitted he needed to rest.

https://www.facebook.com/wellington.jighere/posts/1033794463310772?pnref=story

The champ also received a congratulatory phone call from none other than the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, Nairaland reported.

Jighere is not new to the upper echelons of world Scrabble, having paid his dues over the past decade. In 2008 he won the Africa Scrabble Championship, held in Nairobi, Kenya, and defended his title in 2010 in Accra, Ghana. He was 11th in the 2009 Worlds, being as high as 4th at one point but losing a few close games, and also won the prestigious Godswill Akpabio International Scrabble Classics that year.

Then, in late 2010, he retired due to “disagreements” with the way things were being run in the Nigeria Scrabble Federation. He decided to focus on his studies in crop studies and performed his NYSC (National Youth Service Corps).

He returned with a vengeance in 2013 and triumphed in the 2015 WSC, playing 4 nearly-flawless games.