Bayelsa Governor Rewards African Chess Prodigy With Cash, Scholarship

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Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has rewarded nine-year-old Deborah Quickpen with a cash gift of N4 million and a scholarship to university level after her heroic achievement at the recent Africa Youth Chess Championship in Accra, Ghana.

Quickpen emerged champion in the U-10 category after winning nine of 10 games. According to the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa, Daniel Alabrah, the Bayelsa-born chess prodigy was also appointed as the the Youth Ambassador to the State.

“On behalf of the government and the good people of Bayelsa State, I welcome you home and say a big congratulations,” Governor Diri said during the reception held at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Yenagoa.

“You are a worthy daughter of this state. Having started on this beautiful note, our government will support you. I therefore appoint you an Ambassador of Bayelsa State youths. Your appointment is in academics. I hereby announce that your academics be followed up with the game you already know how to play.”

“You have to attend a school, whether in Nigeria or overseas, where you can combine academics and sports, particularly chess. For making personal sacrifice alongside your parents and coaches, I also announce a cash gift of N4 million.”

The governor used the opportunity to appreciate her parents for training her well, as “every giant begins from the home.”  Diri urged parents to follow the example of Mr. and Mrs. Quickpen to train their children in the way they should go, so that they would become assets to the society.

On his part, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Daniel Igali, said the three young Bayelsans, who represented Nigeria in three different categories at the championship, including Treasure Ebiakpo and Shine Ekpore, all made the state proud.

Igali thanked the governor for the honour done on her and other athletes in the state.

Quickpen had also represented Bayelsa at the sixth National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State, where she won three gold medals. She is the youngest Nigerian and African to win the prestigious chess championship.


Chidi Nwoke/The Guardian.