FEATURE ARTICLE

Yahaya BalogunMonday, February 5, 2018
[email protected]
Arizona, USA

INNOVATORS LIKE MR. FRANKLIN NJIRIBE MUST BE EMPOWERED!

ecently, a social media friend, Mr. Franklin Njiribe posted his "invention" on his Facebook page. I was moved to tears, and with goose bumps to see a potential Nigerian "inventor" languishing in a wasteland with the pregnancy of ideas. I couldn't wait to message Mr. Njiribe to get more facts about his ingenuity. If Mr. Njiribe were to be an American, he would have been sought after or sponsored by many organizations.

Unfortunately, Mr. Njiribe comes from Africa where his governments do not recognize knowledge and innovations. Even, his "best friends" would be his discouragers because of jealousy and his potential greatness. But I have a beautiful message for Mr. Njiribe: "Ships don't sink because of the water around them; Ships sink because of the water that get in them. Don't let what's happening around you to get inside you and weigh you down." Let the people's discouragement be a catalyst that will push you to your limelight! They're just postponing the celebration of your future greatness and achievement. Peruse your history, you will know that great people are envisioned and focused! Be unencumbered by the negative nuances around you. In the nearest future, believe me, this article will a referential to your achievement. My literary idol, late Professor Chinua Achebe is a readily great example. Achebe's manuscript "Things Fall Apart" was rejected by the British publishers so many times. Achebe knew his destination, he persisted. He knew the substance of his ingenuity, he kept on! Today "Things Fall Apart" has been translated into more than 50 different languages worldwide! Things Fall Apart is archived in the subconscious mind of his friends and foes; and in the libraries all around the world. Achebe's is a household name among the global literati.

There are so many potential inventors in Nigeria wasting away in a country that do not care about their future development. We are a rich nation with poor people. One thing, some of us who are privileged to write and talk must sustain is that: We must not be discouraged to talk the talk; walk the walk, and honestly message the massage through our writings and voices in any available medium.

Meanwhile, just like any other indigenous brothers and sisters from other geopolitical zones in the country, I am always fascinated by the inventiveness and ingenuity of the igbo people. Igbo descent had their industry in inventions and entrepreneurship. Any terrestrial location Igbo people emigrate, in spite of the misconceptions of mischief makers and ethnic bigots, they always turn the place to gold or financial windfall! Those who befoul this unique adroitness of Igbo people are the greedy people with the want of instant gratification. Every ethnic group in Nigeria has its atrocious and egged citizens. Bad behaviors must be compartmentalized. We should be dissuaded from collective categorization of everyone as bad people.

Sadly, had the previous Nigerian leadership wisely used the lessons of genocidal war in the East to harness the ingenuity of the Igbo people, Nigeria would've been competing with the US and China now in terms of inventions and technological-know-how. You cannot underestimate the inventiveness of the Ibo guys! More than 3 millions innocent people among whom were potential Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, Mike Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs of this world were massacred in a fratricidal and unnecessary war between 1960 to 1967 in Nigeria. Yet, we haven't learned any lesson from this dark history. We are still aping a clime dotted with the progress of not now, not in the future; unless the future is now, but now is being misused.

My talented Igbo brethren are ingenious people. They have contributed immeasurably to economic development of Nigeria. Igbo people have the propensity and capacity to siliconize the entire east and make Abakaliki or Enugu or Onitsha the California of Nigeria if not of Africa. Their entrepreneurship acumen cannot be matched by any ethnic group in any of the geopolitical zones in Nigeria. But, can one blame a misinformed section of the current Nigerian youth with misplaced priority? Nigerian youth's problem stems from the handiwork of the political class who have weaponized the youth through sentiments to further divide them.

We must not allow the collective voice of the children of anger and corruption to dwarf our patriotic clamoring for an egalitarian society. It will be disingenuous of us not to see the handwriting of mischief-makers on the wall. Nigerian youth innovators like Mr. Franklin Njiribe in Nigeria must be unearthed, encouraged and sponsored to re-invent Nigeria's ingenuity.

I implore Mr. Njiribe not to be discouraged. Great people are always morally rearmed; more determined, persevered and self-encouraged in the face of challenges. I am sure finance will be one of Njiribe's challenges, but he should remember that there's nothing impossible to do if we are more determined in the face of daunting challenges. If Njiribe has read Steve Jobs' autobiography, he will know that he and other Nigerian potential inventors are another phenomena like Steve Jobs on the way to evolve. Your voice shall be akin to by those whose imagination are in constant progression or sync with good people with good ideas. You should remain optimistic.

Nigerian future belongs to Nigerian youths. The youth group must form a formidable and serious coalition; not the motive and selfish-induced coalition, the one being proposed by men of yesterday who have mortgaged youth's future.

As Mr. Franklin Njiribe strives to use his talent to give much to his community and to the world, we hope his country encourages him through discovery and finance to unleash his innate potentials for the good of our people and mankind.

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