Nigeria’s Got Brains

Success has different meanings and can be measured with different yardsticks. In the era of Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, success was measured by value and the impact made in people’s lives. Then, dignity was not measured based on university degrees, political position, or bank accounts balances but by impact!

For Nigeria, with a population of over 180 million citizens and blessed not only with minerals but human capital resources, success can either be subjective or objective.

The greatest success from Nigeria is not just with the mineral resources that have brought about foreign earnings which have bred corruption and widened the poverty gap, but exportation of brains (professionals) that are helping to develop other parts of the world.

Such brains that have come out of Nigeria are innumerable and could have been of use better than our abundant mineral resources. These brains are not the celebrities produced from Naija’s Got Talents but the intellectuals and innovators transforming the world while Nigeria languishes from a harsh environment that discourage such great brains.

Imagine what would have become of Nigeria if the likes of Saheed Adepoju (co-founder of Encipher Limited), Seyi Oyesola (co-invention of CompactOR), Jelani Aliyu (credited with designing General Motors’ leading auto brand, Chevrolet Volt), Ndubuisi Ekekwe (credited with developing microchips used in minimally invasive surgical robots), Col. Oviemo Ovadje (Rtd) (credited with the invention of the Emergency Auto Transfusion System (EAT-SET)), Cyprian Emeka Uzoh (who holds more than 126 United States issued patents and over 160 patents worldwide), Kunle Olukotun (who developed one of the first chip multiprocessors), Sebastine Chinonye Omeh (known for using wind-propelled turbines to generate electricity), Shehu Saleh Balami (credited with designing a solid-fuel rocket), Yemi Adesokan (whose discovery work on drug-resistant infections is groundbreaking), Ume Ifeanyi Charles (credited with five inventions), Aloysius Anaebonam (who holds about 12 U.S. patents), Mohammed Bah Abbah (credited with a refrigerating device that does not use electricity), Olu Atanda (credited with the co-invention of a self-lubricating layer for a data-storage device and disk), Brino Gilbert (credited with the invention of the Counter Collision Gadget (CCG)), Emeka Nchekwube (credited with various co-inventions), among several others.

Just imagine they were in Nigeria and allowed to thrive... Just imagine...

With the expectation of a few Nigerians who choose to remain, endure the economic and political challenges, and confront the environmental demons to birth new ideas even when the survival of such ideas is dicey. Heroes are not just people who can succeed in a good environment but people we have stood the test of time to birth solutions and innovations that can help the nation to immensely advance.

Thinking of some names already? Well, anyone can be like Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga Jnr., Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Fola Adeola, Atiku Abubakar, TY Danjuma and co. All you need apart from the business courage are political and financial connections, family inheritance, and belonging to certain caucus (such as Ikoyi Club, Yoruba Tennis Club & etc). Beyond all these people you term “successful”, the real guys are those who can still innovate without access to those factors and have been able to rebrand this nation.

Several of those guys with guts that have stood the test of time without “connections” and have helped to end national disgrace include the Late Mrs. Florence Seriki (founder of Omatek computer – the first factory to locally assemble computers), Sim Shagaya (founder and C.E.O of one of West Africa's largest electronic commerce website, Konga.com), Chude Jideonwo & Adebola Williams (co-founders of Red Media Africa), Late Dr. Yombo Awojobi (renowned leading rural surgeon) and lest I forget, John Obaro (a man that has helped to change the course of public sector finance in Nigeria).

Who is John Obaro? He is a man who took the bold steps 25 years ago when others were taking to their heels seeking greener pastures abroad. He refused to give up in the face of several challenges including those that caused other businesses to park up. He is the founder of SystemSpecs, owners of Remita, the electronic payment solution connected to multiple electronic payment channels (including Internet Banking, POS, Bank Branches, ATM Cards, Direct Debit/Standing Order, Mobile, etc.) and has transformed finance management in Nigeria.

Today, the use of Remita for the facilitation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government of Nigeria has solved Nigeria’s prolonged cash management and revenue leakages challenges. Obaro’s company, SystemSpecs, an indigenous organisation with 100% Nigerian workforce has won several laurels, in and outside Nigeria, for its accomplishments.

Acccording to the Mr Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation (AGF): “If not because TSA is in place, now that recession is here, only God knows what would have happened. A monthly drain of over N4 billion and yet no revenue coming in and leakages [would have] continued.”

It is such men as John Tanimola Obaro who should be celebrated and encouraged to continue to promote the image of this nation for the world to know that indeed Nigeria has got brains, and that many good things can come out of Nigeria.

Oluwaseun Adesanya