The Bayelsan Poet Who Invented A US Presidential Campaign and Election Game By Ebi Robert



Many writers in Nigeria, particularly, in Bayelsa State, know Emmanual A. Frank Opigo for one thing: that he is Engineer cum poet. But how many Bayelsans even know him for his bunch of creativity in writing poetry and of playing board games? A few I guess. But there is more to him. He is not just a poet; he is an inventor of a board game patented in the United States of America. Are you game? Then this may be for you.

Well, by chance, I had few days ago, stumbled on his invention in the US Justia patents records online. I had searched for some name-keywords so that I might do some profiling of the poet’s work which I was fortunately reviewing at the time. In the process I sighted an abstract of his invention which is named as, “U.S. presidential campaign and election game”.


In case you don't know, Emmanuel Frank Opigo, was one-time Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Bayelsa State Chapter. Opigo had filed for the protection of the invention as per patents on October 10, 1995. A long time ago, right? The patent, dated the 29th of April, 1997, as a grant-type was numbered, ‘5624120’ and covered in Justia US. Abstract of the invention so disclosed captures a synopsis of the patent, and how the game should run. The abstract reads thus:


“The present invention entails a game and a game board apparatus. The game board apparatus comprises a game board, a pack of fifty-one playing cards and two normal six-sided dice. The game board is ruled into eighty-eight squares made up of eleven columns labelled A to K and eight rows within the confines of which fifty-one squares represent America's fifty states and the District of Columbia. The states, this term to include the District of Columbia whenever not specified, are so arranged that the boundaries approximate the map of the United States. On each of the fifty squares is written the name of the state and the state's electoral vote. The fifty-one cards have the same information as on the squares, but in addition also display the flag of the state, the letter indicating the state's location, that is any of the letters A through K, and the state's Trump Number, which is an indication of the relative ease with which that state can be won.”


Easing the gaming process for interested players is a 59-pages majority book divided into two parts. According to Opigo in the book’s preface, “this book tells you in a simple way how you can run for President of the United States.  The most effective way to learn is to play the part, hence the book also comes with a board game resource (MAJORITY) with which family and friends can play and learn. The book is in two parts.  The first part takes you through the process of becoming President, side by side with how the game MAJORITY also simulates (imitates) this.  The author takes you through the mind of the game’s inventor.  In other words, you are made to “invent” the game all over again along with the inventor.  That way you understand why it is made the way it is and can explain clearly to others. The second part takes you through the process of playing one game.  Then by playing again and again you get to be an expert in the art of running for U.S. President – and winning.”

The game has scored about two reviews from the United States of America, and can be purchased on Amazon.


Emmanuel A. Frank Opigo


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