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Basil Okpara Jnr: A computer game trailblazer

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Basil Okpara Jnr is a 10-year-old technology whiz kid. He developed interest in crafts at the age of four, when he began using hard papers or anything he could lay his hands on to construct different things.

Noticing his interest, his parents got him a Samsung Galaxy Tab, when he was four and he started using it to play games, including Subway Surf, Candy Crush and Temple Run.

Okpara was always engrossed in these games, so much so that his dad, in anger, told him that the games he was playing were built by someone. So, he should consider building his own games to enable others play.

Rather than the admonishment constituting a setback, it spurred him to starting thinking of how to build a game. His parents gave him all the support he needed, while making sure he balanced schoolwork with house chores and then his desktop computer, which they got for him, when he was eight years old.

In April 2019, he was enrolled at a Coding Boot-camp, organised by Codefest International and he excelled. With this feat, the computer whiz kid began building games on his laptop. So far, he has built over 35 games, including Frog Attacker, Falling Apples, Dragon Attack, 44 and Math Quiz, among others. He builds games using Scratch 3.0 and Construct 2 Premium apps.

His first game on Google Playstore and AppStore is called Mosquito Mash, and can be easily downloaded and played. Mosquito Mash raises awareness on the different diseases caused by mosquitoes and also shows some of the ways the insect could be usually killed.

Okpara came tops in the Visa Nigeria organised #VisaUnstoppableStories competition. Winning the competition availed him the opportunity to travel on an all- expense paid trip to watch the African Nations Cup matches in Egypt and also participated in the Visa Escort Programme tagged, AFCON Football Championship held in Cairo, Egypt.

The Pan African Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (PALEDEC) recently honoured him with the African Child Award for Innovation and Technology at a summit held in Accra, Ghana.

The whiz kid has been featured on CNN International, CNN Africa, Kidpreneur Africa Ambassador, TVContinental, LoveWorld Plus, Reuters News Agency and Channels Television, among other local and international news media.

Okpara is the youngest Nigerian and the second youngest person to develop and build mobile game in the world.He is also one of the 10 winners of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit (NYEES), organised by Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government.His outfit, BJR Technologies NG, owners of the BJRGames, is posed to launch its second game on the AppStore and PlayStore.

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Basil Okpara Jnr
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