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Toast to Nigeria’s Technovation champions

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DESPITE occupying unenviable positions in most international human development index ratings, great things frequently happen to reassure our people that Nigeria is still one of the greatest countries in the world in term of human and natural resource potentials.

Only recently, one of Nigeria’s megastar musical talents, Ibrahim Ayodeji Balogun (popularly known as Wizkid), was reportedly honoured by Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota State in the USA by having October 6 every year dedicated as “Wizkid Day” in recognition of his achievements as “culture influencer”, though the honour has yet to be properly gazetted.

In August 2018, five students of Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha, Anambra State, who represented Nigeria at this year’s World Technovation Challenge held in the famous Silicon Valley, San Francisco, won the gold medal in the competition. The victorious students are: Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, and Vivian Okoye, chaperoned by Mrs. Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu, their mentor. They beat co-contestants from technologically-advanced countries like the hosts USA, China, Spain, Turkey and 110 others.

Each year, girls from 115 countries are invited to identify problems in their localities and develop android applications to solve them. The Nigerian girls identified the stubborn prevalence of fake drugs and created a mobile application which they named “FD Detector” to distinguish fake pharmaceuticals from genuine products.

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Fake drugs have wreaked great havoc on the health of Nigerians. A former Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, earned great popularity by waging frontal wars on it and nearly got assassinated. Long after she left the scene the problem bounced back with great venom. The “Five young Doras”, as the developers of the “FD Detector” are fondly called, have developed the technology to render the trade on fake drugs unprofitable, thus saving the lives of millions of people around the world.

We are very proud of the achievement of Nigeria’s golden girls in the heart of “technoland”, the Silicon Valley, where the imprint of the nation has been firmly planted. This is yet another testimony that Nigeria is not only about the abduction and dehumanisation of school girls, a place which now harbours more than half of the world’s out-of-school children and a country where the girl child is married off as a minor.

We commend the Presidency for specially recognising them, and Governor Willie Obiano for offering them financial incentives at a befitting reception. Let this achievement inspire our leaders to open up more space for the education of the Nigerian girl child and other young people irrespective of ethno-cultural and economic circumstances.

Many more Nigerian youths are waiting for the minimal “fertiliser” in order to bring great accolades to the nation.

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