From Onitsha to the world

Recently, five female secondary school students of Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha, Anambra State, won the gold medal in the 2018 World Technovation Challenge. This is not only uplifting, it is reassuring in a country that often thinks that it is not doing a lot and that its people are blighted. The Nigerian ambassadors beat top technology savvy and more developed students from countries like 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, our 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 who are still 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.”
Ngerians have eulogized the girls for the great feat. Speaking on this great feat, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo acknowledged their work by recalling their feat: “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 welcome the ingenuity and patriotism in 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 celebration for rightly returning missions schools hitherto taken over by military regimes and for investing in education and computerization of schools in the state. We equally acknowledge past administrations in the state for their investment in education which is now bearing fruits at the zenith of universal competition. The continuous equipping of the schools with Information Communication and Technological, ICT gadgets has brought honour to the land. 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 our nation and we recommend their adroitness to other Nigerians.
Their triumph is an inspiration to other Nigerian students. Their achievement is a very good testimonial for what is possible in our country is properly harnessed. 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 equal and healthy opportunity they will do well. 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 by the symbolic invitation to the State House in the shortest possible time. They should be offered scholarships to the best of their ability in any university of their choice. We also expect the National Assembly to honour them by inviting them to plenary and inaugurating them as stars of the future. . Honouring them will spur other students, especially girls to excel in education.

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