A 22-year-old graduate engineer from Utagba-Ogbe Technical College, Ndokwa West Delta State Nigeria, Ignatius Asabor, arrived Oulu, Finland, a week ago after accepting an offer to work in Radai Limited, a company specialising in drone-based environmental and geophysical measurement services.
Asabor’s interest in robotics started when he was nine years old and he started off building small cars from cardboard and other materials which he got from scrap yards until his aspirations grew and he began to design more ambitious projects.
He started making and posting videos about his drone projects in 2016 when he got his first smartphone and earned the admiration of many, but was it was the Finland-based company that offered him his first job.
“I thank God for my life today. It was like a dream to me and now I’m living that dream,” he posted on social media with a smiling emoji.
Speaking about his adjustment, he added: “It’s important you know how to cook as a Nigerian when coming to Europe, food here is not familiar at all.”
Managing Director Radi Limited Ari Saartenoja, also took to social media to welcome him to his company.
“Ignatius Asabor will strengthen Radai’s survey team in future and bring more international expertise in the field survey. Welcome Ignatius Asabor to Radai team,” Saartenoja wrote.
What caught Radai’s attention was a custom-made, fixed-wing drone designed to help local farmers with crop dusting and could also be helpful to firefighters. Ignatius built the first prototype for this drone in 2019.
Africa is the largest pool of underutilised brainpower in the world and Asabor is only one among many such talents in Nigeria whose projects have been amplified by social media in recent times.
Ikechukwu Divine, a 15-year-old who dreams to become an automobile engineer, has built many toy vehicles from waste like condemned DVD players, the latest being a replica of the 2021 Lamborghini.
Ibitoye Olajide Michael from childhood had dreamt of building his own car but was unable to secure admission in a tertiary institution to study Mechanical Engineering and had to settle for Botany.
Michael, however, did not give up on his dream and through personal development and hard work, he designed a rear-wheel drive similar to a BMW model. He hopes to secure a scholarship to study his dream course and further explore his talent.
In January, a 30-year-old Nigerian inventor Auwal Hassan unveiled self-made car with a speed capacity of 50 kilometers per hour, a five-gear transmission and six-horsepower engine speed.
Like many of his kind, Hassan has solicited the support of the Federal Government and private sector in developing their talents to grow the country’s innovation sector, as well as reduce unemployment and importation.
The Director General of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Mohammed Haruna said the car had been assessed by his agency and promised to work closely with the inventor to improve the standard and quality of the automobile.
While the Nigerian government is yet to devise a clear strategy to harness these untapped tech talents for national growth and development, many foreigners are hunting for them and helping to make their dreams come true.