IT would be in character for us to ignore the intense World Cup that is going on in Warsaw, Poland. The world is imagining, looking at the future, exhibiting skills that would improve the world through technological breaks.

The developed world imagines it can continue shaping the future of mankind. The contest in Warsaw is about different parts of the world contending for a hold on the future. Just imagine what impact Nigeria would make if it invented something, anything that a world of more than 6.8 billion people would need everyday. We are not talking about crude oil; it is about technology, brain power.

Can we imagine the billions of Dollars that Nigeria can earn from it? Have we contemplated the influence it would earn for Nigeria on the world stage? It begins with imagination, it begins with a country thinking about its place in a world that is quickly appropriating the future.

Passion, action and a great notion of the importance of the future is imperative in this imagination. It is not imagination that is left to wide dreams, contemplation and when the years are gone we have them only in circumspection.

The three students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife – Adeboye Oshinaga, Abiola Olaniran, and Akinbiyi Omole – who held the country’s flag in Warsaw deserve commendation. They imagined and emerged with the best in the world. They did not win the Imagine World Cup, but their humble beginning, if harnessed could mark the explosion of imagination across various spheres of our lives.

What gave them the boldness to present their work at a gathering of about 400 software incubators from 69 countries and regions around the world? The contest is about using technology to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

Our representatives could have lost because the teaching aid they invented may not compete in a world with better tools for impacting knowledge. We still commend their efforts, maybe their effrontery. Entries for the competition came from more than 325,000 students in high schools, colleges, and universities students in 113 countries and regions.

Young people use the opportunity of the Imagine Challenge to be practical with their imagination, their passion and their creativity. They develop new technologies that answer the challenging questions of changing world poses. It is a global competition where inventions jostle for space.

The qualifications are rigorous and span chains of competitions at local, regional and online stages to pick winners who attend the worldwide finals held annually in a different country.

Students from a Nigerian university, with all the challenge they face, produced work presentable to a global audience. Imagine what the quality of their work would have been if the authorities and businesses in Nigeria had an interest in promoting contests in science and technology.

Can we imagine what the results would have been if they had well-equipped laboratories, if their teachers were not almost always on strikes, or we did more than paying lip service to education?

There is no better time to imagine than in the 50th year of our nationhood. If we doubt about the powers of imagination, we should image the challenge the precocity of the trio from Ile-Ife has thrown to Nigeria.


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