RoboGen Nigeria: 7 kids who are flying the Nigerian flag high
Since January 2017, a group of seven kids had been meeting in a converted duplex in Surulere to build a robot.
In a nation like Nigeria, where opportunities are scarce and the learning environment hinders — rather than support — innovation, success stories are few and far between.
Since January 2017, a group of seven kids had been meeting in a converted duplex in Surulere to build a robot. This robot was going to be their weapon at the inaugural edition of the First Global Robotics Challenge. They had 163 other countries to beat.
Remi Willoughby, a teacher who has taught robotics for many years in the US was responsible for supervising the kids and she had her work cut out for her. She, along with other members of the teams’ advisory board, had to overcome so many basic obstacles just to make this competition.
After months of preparation and battling with epileptic power supply, amongst other things, the team made up of Seun Omotayo, Tawa Giwa, Fetisimi Adegbamigbe, Ayodeji Umar, Toluwalase Agoro, Ayomide Adetunji, and Niyi Talabi, made it toWashington D.C,USA, for the competition.
Speaking to the Tribune before the competition, team leader Toluwalase Agoro said, “I have always been interested in robots. It’s a new way of doing things; it’s a more efficient way of solving problems. All over the world, scientists have already started using robotics to build cars and other things; if we can apply that to other sectors, in Nigeria and elsewhere, it can help to make life easier. For example, if this year we are focussing on how we can use robots to solve problems related to poor access to potable water.”
This kids understands that Nigeria is not living up to its full potential. He realises that there is much more that can be done with the kind of resources that Nigeria has at its disposal. Yet, he remains enthusiastic and committed to making his country proud overseas.
That enthusiasm is evident across the team, their supervisor, and their coaches as is evident in their bio which reads, “We are Robo Teens from Nigeria! We are a team of robot enthusiasts, consisting of four boys, three girls ages 15–18, and three coaches. Our team inspiration is based on our goal to make our country great and to better understand the advantages of collaboration both within and outside of our country.”
Without support from notable entities in their country, the team built a robot, gained entry into the global competition, won the Sofia Kovalevskaya Gold Medal for International Journey, came 25th in the world, and 3rd in Africa.
All of this was accomplished without any support from government, the Minister of Communications (who is busy chasing an ICT bank/University) or any person of note in the tech community.
When is Nigeria going to start investing in the future? When will we start getting our basics right? When will we understand the true power of technology and the need to take advantage of it?
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: