Liken the scrabble milieu to the Sicilian mafia, then he would be capo di tutti capo or capo dei capi, boss of all bosses, the don, king of the pack or what is known in Latin as primus inter pares. Yes, this iconic figure has sublimated himself in the scrabble horizon that he is now sublime. Chief, Engr. Olabatoke Aka aka Jagaban, Tokzy, the pride of the family. He is an integral thread of the tapestry that is now Nigeria scrabble.
Colourfully, in extolling the lofty virtues of this rare personage, we shall be adopting a peculiar style of writing by using a medley of languages, the English language, pidgin and even vernacular just to adorn chief with the brightly coloured plumage that has made him such a pleasant person.
General Gold Eburu laid the solid foundation, Chief Toke built a renaissance structure with beautiful aesthetic that the world today is describing as state of the arts “best scrabble playing nation” and the envy of global “jammers”. Engr. Toke discover talents, nurtures and grooms them till they blossom. He is calm, cool and collected and has a one on one relationship with every scrabble player from Nigeria to Nairobi, from Uganda to South Africa, from Tanzania to Ghana, from Zambia to Malta, from UK to USA and from Malaysia to New Zealand.
Me know say riding on his back, I go dey Canada later this year. Na so, just one call naim he placed through to Michael Tang naim the Nigerian team take dey aboard again for Malaysia where them be want catch trap when them dey go Australia where Wellington Jighere for win the World Champion.
He can motivate and inspire any player to greatness. Dennis Ikekeregor come talk the story of how him take win his first ASC for Tanzania, say after day one, him dey perform poorly, naim Toke come meet him for room after the day’s game to encourage and spur him, took him out, gave him the carrot he needed even apple, just for him to come in the next day to win all his game and consequently the championship.
In a very fluent manner, I first witnessed Chief Toke oratory prowess way back in Yola at the prestigious Yola international hotel where scrabble first recorded a jut in prize money. I was awe struck by his colourful flow that I had to profile him, only to find out that he has blue blood and an egghead from the prestigious Kings College Lagos, who must have been tutored by seasoned teachers.
Tokzy, efizy master with the magic tongue, when he go fit use talk collect banana from monkey, chief I hands up for you. Once he dey yarn for Uyo, senator Akpabio belly go dey flow with honey, nor go there oo, Na so senator go dey call out dollars like say tomorrow nor dey. Chief convincing power tall reach mountain Everest, fine man with sterling taste for dressing when even Groover Washington go trip for. Na so he dey blend with every player. I remember for my homie, Bright Idahosa marriage, as chief call me say him plane don touch ground for Osubi, as I drive reach there, naim I see am walking towards me with Amaju Pinnick, the then commissioner for Sports for Delta state, bobo, I just know say chief don finish work, the only thing I hear, Na Amaju saying “it was nice talking with you” hmmmm, the Delta guys feel the impact for the rest of his stay as commissioner. Na so him passion for the game strong like Okpila rock, no where he never enter because of scrabble, even to my village, Oghara, where Dr. Henry Ofa for believe am die.
Chief e go better for you, your glory shall be as tall as the mountain yet be as grounded as the valley, just like wine, the older you get, the better it will be for you. The tree of your life shall bring forth fruits in season and out of season, your cup of blessings will always run to overflow, you shall walk and not be weary, you shall run and not faint, the blessings of the Lord that makes rich and add no sorrow to it shall be your portion.
General Gold say on behalf of the entire elders of the scrabble family, say him proclaim wellness for you. Femi Awowade say him on behalf of the diaspora players, water the garden of your life, Shegetz say him lead the full squad of Nigeria Scrabble Friends spray you with water of long life. Lukeman Owolabi say him with the entire MGI team rub you with powder of prosperity, Wellington Jighere say him use the trophy of his WSC join the back to back ASC take pronounce endless trophy for your life, Denkay say him support with his back to back ASC. In the voice of uncle Jake that is always filled with laughter, I say oyovwi ke we and in Yaso yaso voice, I say wa gbayi. E nor go loss oo, we go play our retreat for Delta oo, the boys say make you cut am come oo, say your banga go always ripe oo. As you celebrate today, I join the whole world to wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by Noble Onoshevwe