A 17-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.
When the student was younger, he had to make a pair of slippers out of a cardboard to protect his feet from the scorching soil of the farm path.
The necessity of protecting his face from the sun also made him create a baseball cap, then cars, train, grinding machines, all with the same cardboard.
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 teenager says.
The boy has also built a miniature boat with aluminum sheets and radio motors. Thus, it can move forward or backward when powered by dry cell batteries.
However, Suraju believes that he could do more with if he had better training and access to materials.
A power generator, introduced by the young prodigy, is powered by dry battery cells and water. He showed how to use the generator to charge a cell phone battery and the standing fan he made himself.
What is more, the boy also has the solution that will help to handle Nigeria’s electoral malpractices.
The solution is a laptop-like device he fabricated which he calls “electronic voting system”. He demostrated how voting is recorded on a pair of screens that look like those of small calculators. The “electronic voting system” is equipped with 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.
Suraju has managed to embody several ideas of his and now plans to develop new projects for the benefit of the country.
“I want to be a mechanical engineer. I want technology to go forward in our country, Nigeria. We need to develop technology. I want to make a bigger excavator that human beings can enter, and it will be working,” Suraju says.
Though he has created a miniature airplane, Suraju is confident he can built a big one that will carry people.
Suraju’s maternal grandfather Malam Isa, who has raised the young talent, is proud of his grandson and always helps him with money to buy some of the things he needs.