The recent report that five female students of the Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha, Anambra State, won the gold medal in the 2018 World Technovation Challenge is heartwarming. The Nigerian ambassadors beat the United States of America (USA), China, Spain, Turkey and others to emerge the overall winners in the competition held at Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA. In the ‘Save- A-Soul’ competition, the golden girls, Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye, developed an app called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the challenge of fake drugs in Nigeria. The girls beat 2000 applications to reach to the finals. The young girls in Junior Secondary School, who were under the tutelage of Uchenna Onwuamaegbu Ugwu, the Chief Executive Officer of Edufun Technik STEM, justified the innovation by arguing that “Nigeria has the largest market for fake drugs, and that they plan to partner with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), using the app, to tackle the challenge.” The team also explained that “Leveraging technology to save lives is our utmost priority. That is why we have decided to maximise this opportunity to solve the incessant rate of death caused by fake drugs.”
Some Nigerians have commended the girls for the great feat. In lauding the team for the achievement, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said: “These young ladies in Junior Secondary School developed the mobile application called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the problems of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.” In his comments, the Archbishop of Onitsha and The Metropolitan of the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Reverend Dr. Valerian Okeke, said the feat has drawn attention to the need for “intentional investment in education as government would do for bridges, roads and other infrastructure project.” The cleric who commended the students and their teachers for the honour to Nigeria also lauded the Anambra State government for partnering with the church and the civil society in the education of the citizens. He urged the Federal Government to invest more in education because “the students are assets for the entire society.”
Also, the Manager and Director of the school, Rev. Fr. Jerome Ezenwelu, said: “The young students who proudly raised the Nigerian flag in the USA have really brought honour to the fatherland in a public manifestation that the best materials are found in Nigeria. It is certainly a great image-maker for Nigeria and it is hoped that the Federal government will reciprocate the patriotism of our young girls and honour them.” There is the need to assist the girls get good investors for their app.
We salute the promising young girls for bringing great honour to Nigeria at a time there is so much despondency in the land. We also commend their teachers and their coach for the victory. The Anambra State government must share in this glory for returning to missions schools taken over by military regimes and for investing in education and computerization of schools in the state. We give kudos to immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, for adequately equipping the schools with Information Communication and Technological (ICT) gadgets and the incumbent Governor Chief Willie Obiano for consolidating the initiative. The feat by the young schoolgirls is a demonstration that our education system still has something to offer, despite its numerous challenges. By beating students from advanced countries, the girls have enhanced the image of this country and we recommend their dexterity to other Nigerians. Their victory is an inspiration to other Nigerian students. Their achievement is a very good testimonial for Anambra State and Nigeria. The young students should be mentored and guided rightly in the area of scientific development and tech-entrepreneurship. We have no doubt that if Nigerians are given the opportunity they can go far. They have shown that knowledge, especially technological knowledge, is not a preserve of any race or country. We urge the Federal Government to honour the girls. Honouring them will spur other students, especially girls to excel in education. In states where the girl-child education is still lagging behind, government should map out plans to prioritise the education of women and young girls. We call on the Federal and State Governments to commit more funds to education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.