Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Friday launched the 2018 Student Innovation Challenge at the University of Lagos, South West Nigeria, signalling governments resolve to support young Nigerians with technological and innovative turn of mind.
Speaking at the launch of the challenge, Professor Osinbajo said the best technological and innovative ideas were conceived and developed in universities.
He said the student challenge was aimed at getting and supporting the best minds to work for the development of Nigeria.
“The student challenge is to find the best of the students, the best innovations, the best technology ideas, the best creative ideas from students across Nigeria,” he said.
He announced that the number of innovators that would be selected and supported would be increased from 35 to 50, giving opportunity to more young Nigerians to develop their ideas.
He explained that the innovators would be randomly picked and might not necessarily be the best of them.
“We do it in such a way that as many of the great ideas as possible get a chance to be tested and actually get a chance to be selected. That is why we insist that they are randomly picked and might not be the best we have here today,” he said.
Osinbajo said what he sees in young Nigerians makes him think that “these are most exciting times and the best times to be alive.”
“People talk about the good old days,” he said, insisting “the best days are here, the future is right here.”
The vice president said new technology hubs would be built in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
He said the first of the hubs would be built at the University of Lagos, “using containers” and would be completed in three months.
Professor Osinbajo, an alumnus of the University of Lagos, described his presence at the event as home coming.
“For those of you who know, I was here as a student and as a lecturer before I was elected as vice president. So, UNILAG is home for me and I am really excited to be here.”
Forty students from various universities pitched for the sponsorship of their ideas at the challenge.
It was an event that showcased the ingenuity of young Nigerians who have ideas that could be developed to solve problems, create wealth and generate employment.
The young innovators presented ideas ranging from production of goods, marketing of products, tackling environmental challenges and supporting agriculture.