“Everybody knows where the smart money is looking. We all know that the university is the best place for getting the best talents and that’s what is going to shape the future of our country. Every one of us is aware of that. And so, what the Federal Government did, is that we simply partnered with the UNDP, with BOI, with MTN, with Civic Foundation for Innovation and Access Bank, to come and do what we describe as the student challenge.”
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE STUDENT INNOVATION CHALLENGE, UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, ON FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018.
Great Akokites, first of all, let me say that I’m glad to be back home. For those of you who know, I was here as a student and as a lecturer, before I was elected as Vice President. So, the University of Lagos is home for me, and I’m really excited to be back here.
But I’m also excited to see what is going on here: the Student Innovation Challenge, the South West Regional Event.
The best examples of successful technology companies started in universities. All the best examples we know, whether it is Steve Jobs’ Apple, or Mark Zuckerberg, who came out of Harvard, as well as Bill Gates who also came out of Harvard. Here in Nigeria, Opeyemi told us about Jobberman out of Obafemi Awolowo University. Nairaland also came out of the University.
I know incredible ideas are going to come out of the University of Lagos. One of the reasons I’m so sure that is going to be the case is because, first of all, before we came here, we went to commission our new technology hub, which will be here in the University of Lagos. It is going to be built using containers and it’s going to take exactly three months to build. So, we were there earlier in the day just to take a look at it, and to see what is going on there, and I’m sure that it’s going to be a place of great creativity. Hopefully, we are going to do this in the six geo-political zones, starting here at the University of Lagos.
Everybody knows where the smart money is looking. We all know that the university is the best place for getting the best talents and that’s what is going to shape the future of our country. Every one of us is aware of that. And so, what the Federal Government did, is that we simply partnered with the UNDP, with BOI, with MTN, with Civic Foundation for Innovation and Access Bank, to come and do what we describe as the student challenge.
The student challenge is to find the best; the best innovation, the best technology ideas, the best creativity, the best creative ideas from students across Nigeria.
Now, we are going to pick 37. But I’ve spoken to my partners and they say because of what they have seen today, we’ve got to move that up. So, we are going to pick 50, we’re adding 13 more. So, there are some here today who might get, even if you don’t get into the first pack, you should be able to get into that additional one. We are definitely going to do it in such a way that as many of the great ideas as possible, get a chance to be tested commercially, they get a chance to be supported.
That’s why just listening to the six that were randomly picked, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best that were here today. They were just randomly picked. I thought those ideas were fantastic; I thought the ideas were great! And I know that there are so many other people with great ideas all over here.
That’s why I have decided that I’m going to take photograph with these 40 who are behind me here. And the simple reason is that I know that these guys are going to be famous. They are going to be rich one day and I don’t want them to forget me. So, that’s the reason I’m going to take this photograph with them.
But to everyone else, let me say that it is an absolutely exciting time to be alive, this is the best time. You know, people talk about the good old days, they keep saying Oh the good old days, but it was Obama who said, always be suspicious of people who are telling you about these good old days, the best days are here. The future is right here. And welcome to that future!
Thank you very much