‘I Am Nigeria’s Technological Saviour’.

Fidelis Nwachukwu is the CEO of Final Tech Engineering. He is a secondary school dropout with a natural skill to build machinery and complex engines. The father of five who hails from Abia State speaks to Ugochukwu Iroka about his passion for machines, the challenges he faces and his plans for the future.

What compelled you to go from engine repairs to engine building?

When I realized I had a very good understanding of mechanics, I decided to use it to help my family and my country by not hiding myself in a place where my talents won’t be fully utilized. We have many talented people in this country but they hide themselves maybe out of fear or frustration and the country gains nothing from them. I am determined that my case will be different. By God’s grace and the help of the government and fellow Nigerians, I will use my gift to benefit the nation, myself and my family.

How did you acquire the knowledge for the prototypes you build?

I trained myself by learning from my mechanic master, and reading books on engineering and practising continuously. I carry out researches on many big engineering firms and try to replicate their processes. My biggest project is a fully functional model of a multipurpose earth moving machine (miniature excavator). It has taken me 12 years of study and research to come up with this.

Question: What are your plans for the future?
Answer: I want to move from building prototypes to building the actual machines. I have blueprints on many projects that I plan to execute. I hope to head a firm that will greatly reduce Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for technology. I want to be Nigeria’s technological saviour. I also want to help youths that are talented engineers. I plan to open a school where I can teach them and help them develop their talents.

Question:What are the major problems you face?
Answer: My major problem is lack of funds to execute the projects. The projects are very capital intensive and I don’t have the proper equipment. That is why I moved from Abia to Abuja where I believe I would have a better chance of being noticed. I have gone to exhibit my model at the Ministry of Science and Technology, at the office of the Presidential Standing Committee on Inventions and Innovations (PSCII). I want to appeal to the government and other well meaning Nigerians to give me a chance to prove myself. Given the right environment and tools, I will surprise Nigerians with my output.

Question: Nigeria was ranked very low in a recent survey for innovation. Why do you think this is so?
Answer: See, Nigerians are naturally innovative. The average Nigerian child makes all his toys himself from wood, plastic or paper. Therefore, it’s not an issue of lack of ingenuity. I will place the blame on the education sector; the schools do not encourage innovation. The curriculum is not practical oriented. Everything is in theory. Can you imagine chemistry students learning about titration with only textbooks? This is not good. I also believe parents should allow their children do what they want to do without trying to influence their career choices.

Question: What advice do you have for youths who are aspiring engineers and other Nigerians?

Answer: My advice is that they continue pursuing their dreams. Engineering is not something you can learn by only reading books. You must be ready to get your hands dirty. With self belief and hard work, nothing is impossible. My advice to fellow Nigerians is that they should try to support smart and innovative people so that our economy can grow like that of those big countries. That is why I keep shouting ‘na so oyinbo start.’ - Leadership.

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