Seventeen-year-old secondary school student, Ismaila Suraju, has built a planting machine and a locally-made power generator that uses water and batteries, among others. They young boy who says his next target is to build an aeroplane, also claims to have the know how to construct a gadget that can frustrate election riggers in Nigeria.
When he was younger, 17-year-old Ismaila Suraju was forced to make a pair of slippers out of a cardboard to shield his feet from the scorching soil of the farm path. The necessity of protecting his face from the sun also compelled him to produce a baseball cap, then cars, train, grinding machines, all with the same cardboard.
NE gathered that half way through his secondary education, Suraju graduated into using aluminum sheets in making not only miniature automobiles, such as fire extinguishing vans, excavators, but a large size planting machine that can be used for planting, as well.
“Anything I see, I will like to do. We went for competition. I saw some people do a motorcycle they were riding. I said I would do a planting machine in a form of a vehicle that a person can drive. I thought in our country we don’t have planting machines. Farmers are suffering. Then I took iron and aluminum sheets. I first did a small one that a small boy can enter. Then I did a bigger one. I used wheelbarrow tyres, iron from metal bed, electric motor and motorcycle gearbox to make it,” the boy said.
Suraju, who was raised by his maternal grandfather, also fabricated a miniature boat with aluminum sheets and radio motors that enable it to move forward or backward when powered by dry cell batteries. He said with better training and access to materials, he can do more.
But his problem-solving creative moves are not limited to automobiles. He fabricated a power generator that is powered by dry battery cells and water. He demonstrated how to use the generator to charge a cell phone battery as well as the standing fan he fabricated himself. But he explained that the voltage generated by the generator is not high enough to shock a human being.
According to him, he also has the solution to Nigeria’s electoral malpractices. The solution, he said, is a laptop-like device he fabricated which he calls “electronic voting system”. He showed how voting is recorded on a pair of screens that look like those of small calculators.
The “electronic voting system” has a central screen made of a translucent plastic with voting approval and disapproval written on either halves of it. When he inserts a card that has voted into the voting box, the half that disapproves of voting will be lighted from within. If the one that has not voted, but registered is inserted, the half that approves of voting will be lighted.
The young engineer, who also sees earthmovers around road construction sites near his village of Rubochi in Kwali Area Council, ended up fabricating its miniature replicas with aluminum sheets and other materials available. He used dry cell batteries to move the miniature earthmovers. But the dry cell batteries do not last long.
Asked how he is going to cope with the dry transient nature of the dry cell batteries that power most of his fabrications, Suraju showed the small turbine-like wheel he fabricated with aluminum sheets and sticks in such a way that moving water can propel it to generate power. He said he is working on how to make a small hydro-power device that can generate power for his devices.
“I want to be a mechanical engineer. I want technology to go forward in our country, Nigeria. We need to develop technology,” he said.
The boy who wants to go to a technical school for his senior secondary educations said: “I want to make a bigger excavator that human beings can enter, and it will be working. The last time we went to Brazil different countries came for the competition. We were 22 from Nigeria. Among those that went to Brazil my project was the best.”
Though he has made a miniature airplane, Suraju believes he can manufacture a big one that will carry people. He said this with the confidence of someone with absolute belief in his dream. Asked how sure his is, he replied:“If the white men can do it, why can’t we?”
Suraju’s maternal grandfather Malam Isa feels happy that his grandson has the ability to do so many thing, and always helps him with money to buy some of the things he needs.
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