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Prof. Awojobi showed what young Nigerian talent can achieve if properly applied – Abdulhameed Obileye

Abdulhameed Obileye is the chairman of the Professor Awojobi Design Competition (PAADC) organized by University of Lagos. He spoke to Isqil Najim on the competition and other issues. Enjoy

Can we meet you?

My name is Abdulhameed Obileye, a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. I am passionate about problem solving, youth engagement andnation building. Currently, I function as the Planning Committee Chairman for Professor Ayodele Awojobi Design Competition (PAADC).

How has Prof. Awojobi inspired young engineers despite the fact that he is long gone?

Late Prof. Awojobi showed young Nigerians that there is no excuse not to innovate. He showed us the potential of what young Nigerian talent can achieve, if only this talent is properly applied.In his short time on earth, he distinguished himself as a Nigerian academic, author, inventor, social crusader and activist.This legacy is a source of inspiration to many young engineers that it is indeed possible to make impact, regardless of circumstances or background.

Late Prof. Awojobi and one of his inventions at UNILAG

Motivation behind the competition, how and when did it start?

PAADC was borne out of the need to spark ingenuity in the minds of Nigerian undergraduates, to encourage them to be solution oriented. This vision came from the University of Lagos Engineering Society(ULES) as part of its long-term commitment towards the progress of science and technology efforts in Nigeria. However it was never executed until January 2017 when the pioneer Chairman, Abah Anthony Abah and the then ULES President, Adejumo Oluwasegun drew out plans to bring this competition to life. They came up with what has become Nigeria’s largest student-initiated design competition and can only continue to grow.

How was PAADC 1.0?

The planning of the first edition of PAADC lasted seven months, and the grand finale held on Friday 14th of July, 2017. It featured innovative entries from all over the country, with close competition between the brilliant applicants.

Below are comments from some of the finalists about the first edition of PAADC.

“The knowledge and experience we garnered from the event is unquantifiable. For some of us, it was our first time addressing a crowd of seasoned intellectuals and peers. That experience taught us a few things about self-improvement. We also got to rub minds with some of the most creative undergraduates in Nigeria. This greatly broadened our scope of engineering and showed us how innovative Nigerians can be. PAADC 1.0 taught us about resilience and believing in oneself. From the pre-qualification stage, the competition was keen. So many teams were competing from different parts of the country that I didn’t nurse thoughts of making it to the final round. With hard work, my team scaled through.”

-Team MUFASA, 1st place winners of PAADC 1.0

It was (and still is) basically a bunch of students running around trying to make impact. A lot of mistakes had to be made, a lot of lessons had to be learnt and we are better for it.

PAADC 2.0. What are our expectations?

30 schools. 10 companies. 5 panelists. 5 judges. 2000 people in attendance. It is going to be the event of the year. In doubt? Come see for yourself.

Who are the panel of judges?

Mr. Nna Chimaobi; Energy Entrepreneur and Senior Researcher at Energy Commission of Nigeria, Professor Wellington Oyibo; Director of Research and Innovation for University of Lagos, Mr Akin Oyebode; Executive Secretary of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Mrs. Toyin Anjous-Ademuyiwa; Lagos State Director for Innovation, Prof Musa Aibinu; HOD Mechatronics Engineering at Federal University of Technology Minna are some of our confirmed panelists and judges.

Are there other universities involved and how soon will they be?

In the planning? No. PAADC is solely planned by the University of Lagos. However, we have partnered with 30 federal, state and private universities across the country to ensure that we got the very best designs, and that it is a truly national event.

What is the future of PAADC?

The future of PAADC is to be the vehicle through which impactful Nigerian innovations are borne, and sustainable businesses are launched. In 20 years, we want PAADC to be the remembered as the initial spark that brought about the chain reaction of a new Nigeria.

Do you have corporate sponsor?

Nigerian Bottling Company is the Platinum sponsor for this project, and SIEMENS Nigeria Limited is our Gold sponsor. They have both contributed largely to the success of this event. Specifically, we are indebted to Mr. Tolulope Mosuro, Mr Nasir Giwa,Mr Franklin Umole and Mr. Bambo Ibidapo-Obe for timely support on the sponsorship journey.

In addition, we formed vital partnerships with Primero Travels, Kraks TV, Uraga Power Solutions Limited, LEADS Initiative, Gate Academy and Wenovation Hub. We also received support from Mrs. Toyin Sanni (United Capital) and other private individuals, too numerous to mention.

What was your motivation as Chairman to put all of this together?

It was never my motivation to be honest. I was given an offer to lead the 2018 team, and it was too good to refuse. I had the opportunity to work with some absolutely brilliant and very selfless individuals who dedicated many long hours towards a vision for which they had nothing to gain. PAADC is the collaborative effort of a 20-man committee as well as a network of 150 volunteers. The work could not have been done by just an individual. I would like to especially appreciate Abdussamad Yisau, Fasasi Omoniyi, Bakare Emmanuel and Abdulrahman Sholanke for all the back-end work that never got to the limelight.

Words of encouragement to Engineers out there.

Dear Engineers, please continue to dream, please continue to act, and never settle for your current predicaments. Kindly take inspiration from the following quote by Malala Yousafzai,

“Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.”

Thank you.

PAADC 2.0 planning Committee

Picture of the Dean and lecturers in faculty of engineeirng at PAADC 1.0
PAADC 1.0 second runner up, TEAM PPG from LAUTECH, Dean faculty of engineering and ULES president
winners of PAADC 1.0 TEAM MUFASA from LAUTECH and Dean faculty of engineering
Group picture of volunteers at the publicity walk for the first edition of the competition, tagged PAADC 1.0
Some members of PAADC 2.0 Organisng Committee at LASU engineering Summit 2018. L-R- Hassana Awodipe, Fedora Regwa, Adedayo Aruwajoye and Abdul Hameed Obileye

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