Young Nigerians rose to the challenge in Abuja on Thursday, November 28, 2019, and intellectuals worldwide could not be prouder. Nigerian dignitaries in academia, ICT and other related fields gathered in Abuja to watch history unfold when MTN Nigeria awarded a whopping six million naira to the winners of the Academic Research Development and Innovation Challenge (ARDIC).
It’s not a usual thing to hear that one of the country’s largest companies is supporting academic research in Nigeria.
Here’s what ARDIC got us thinking about:
- Nigeria Is Amazing: Forget all that talk about porting to Canada. Right here in this country is where all the gold is. The amazing minds that took us through their research works were stunning to watch and hear. Toyin Oshaniwa’s project titled Nature Cares Resource Center is an AgriTech project with emphasis on the use of technology for agricultural yield optimization, storage, and preservation. Taiwo Amoo’s Logtech focused on customer complaints modeling using new media data and NLP. The number of insights that all the finalists gathered can change the world if we allow them. It was humbling to experience.
- Tech’s The ONLY Way To Go: If you are a tech enthusiast in Nigeria and you haven’t stumbled on a talk-session with MTN Nigeria’s Chief Transformation Officer, Olubayo Adekanmbi, you need to fix that ASAP. The man knows his onions well and his in-depth understanding of the Nigerian tech space would have been intimidating if he wasn’t so relatable.
- MTN In On A Tech-Roll: There has been a pattern in the past six months – it may have been developing for a while, but I started taking notice of the pattern this year. The company is very tech-driven! That’s music to our ears. With its 5G demonstration, mobile money and a host of others, things are about to be interesting. It’s an intriguing time to be a ‘tech-ist’ in Nigeria.
- A Well-placed 1 Million Naira Can Transform The World: Do you know what a million naira can do for any researcher in Nigeria? I don’t think I need to answer that. To see Itoro Akpan show us how it was done was a proud moment. He was one of the proud winners of the challenge and his research on media optimization earned him a well-deserved prize. It would be very interesting to see what he and the others ( Zainab Ishaq Musa, Toyin Oshaniwa, Ibitoye Ayodeji, Taiwo Amoo, Angela Chika) achieve after the 6-month incubation process.
ARDIC is trying to assist young motivated researchers in Nigerian Universities to build and develop their research ideas into sustainable products and initiatives, and we can say that they may have started something!