Saturday, 13th August 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Epitomic Nigerians Making Worldwide Impact

By Chinelo Eze
20 February 2022   |   5:15 am
In commemoration of the coloured skin, black history month is celebrated. It is a period of contemplative celebrations of the neglected race with a lot of focus being shed on the trials of the black race but extremely on the positives and their groundbreaking contributions and development that shaped a society that treated them otherwise.…

In commemoration of the coloured skin, black history month is celebrated. It is a period of contemplative celebrations of the neglected race with a lot of focus being shed on the trials of the black race but extremely on the positives and their groundbreaking contributions and development that shaped a society that treated them otherwise.

The emergence and migration of the black race into other parts of the world is unfortunately or otherwise hinged on the history of slavery. While that is the case, basic migration for the search of greener pastures is additionally a resulting cause of the cropping up / branching out of brown skin individuals in the world.

That said, as much as the true blacks forcefully shipped across the shores of Africa have made an immense change to American society and the world at large despite deterrents and subjugation, so have others, who migrated out of their free will to other parts of the world.

Forthwith in the celebration of black history month, here is a rundown focusing on notable achievements in the 21st century by Nigerians in Diaspora with Nigerian origins who are breaking, making and shaping the world.

Health- Sports

Beginning with medicine and how the significant CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) discovery of Bennet Omalu, a man of Nigerian descent in diaspora, spun a series of events that made a tectonic shift beginning with the NFL (National Football League) and contact sports beyond the shores of America.

What did Omalu discover? In 2002, with the lifeless body of Mike Webster, a former American football player before him, Omalu personally funded further tissue research on Webster’s brain. His research brought to light the novel facts of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and its immediate effects on the lives of NFL players and those involved in contact sports.

Omalu’s works showed how contact sports could cause a neurological breakdown in men in their early 50’s, principally those who by their profession, fall under the spectrum of sustaining traumatic blows to their heads. 

Since the CTE revelation, how trauma is treated in contact sports has changed. In the past when an athlete got a blow to the head, basic questions were asked to ascertain the level of one’s present state. In present times, before a new sports season emerges, a comprehensive neurological record is used knowing that some players might try to play down their symptoms. 

In 2008, when Sports Neurology began, the Director Dr Conidi bares in mind how there were just five posters available for publicity on sports neurology numbered but “Today, it’s more like 500.” This increase in interest emerges from the discovery and events of Omalu’s work. Following all on his works, a movie adaptation of “Concussion” in 2015 with Will Smith depicting the pathologist(Omalu) discovery was done.

Science

Oviemo Ovadje is a Brigadier General and doctor who is recognised for his invention of the AutoTransfusion System (EAT-SET). The World Health Organisation (WHO) described the EAT-SET as a cost-effective means of meeting the demands of developing countries. With a myriad of awards under his belt, Ovadje’s journey to making positive impacts dates back to 1995 when he was awarded the Organisation of African Unity/Organisation of African Unity (OAU/WIPO) Best African Scientific Invention Award, for a landmark invention that saves women from complications of Ectopic Gestation. In 1998, he created another novel work of a safety cap syringe to halt needle prick injuries. In 2000, he won the World Bank Institute Award. In the same year, he made history by being the first African to win the World Health Organisation’s Sasakawa Gold Award. 

Adding to his list in 2001, he won the Arco Gold Awards and the following year, he became a JP Morgan Chase Laurent in San Jose California, U.S.

Health- HIV/DNA

Yemi AdesokanAdesokan was born in Lagos in 1977. He grew up in Okupe Estate Maryland, Lagos. He had his primary education at Maryland Convent Private School, Lagos. Later on in 1989 he was admitted to Command Day Secondary School Ikeja for his secondary education where he graduated in 1994. Moving on he acquired his degree in Biology from the University of Houston. Remarkably, as an undergraduate, he predicted the first HIV integrase/viral DNA binding pattern. During his postdoctoral studies, he and his supervisor spearheaded, developed and implemented the Bio weather map project. This project is the vehicle that helps collect data and pass across public health information on biological threats to all living creatures. His startup company Pathogenica Inc, provides a DNA sequencing kit that makes it easy for physicians to detect and treat a series of diseases with precise results. This invention fills a gap in public health concerns as to limiting death rates resulting from poor treatment.

Omawumi Sadik is a famous chemist known for her ingenious contributions to society. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1964.  In 1985, she attained her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lagos. She furthermore attained a Master’s degree in chemistry in 1987. Then in 1994, she attained her PhD from Wollongong University in Australia. She developed the electric nose known as the microelectrode biosensors. This invention makes it possible to sense drugs, explosives and traces of foreign elements. In her list of inventions is a breakthrough biosensor that can identify the presence of HIV in minutes, minimising the days it takes for an ELISHA test result.

Besides this, her passion for the environment has seen her develop methods to remove toxins and prevent environmental waste with the use of microbial enzymes.

The director-general of the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye is the first African Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Fellow. For twenty one years she taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. She is a Senior Fulbright Scholar and Specialist. She attained her B.S from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria and her MS and PhD from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

She has several patents including an anti-retroviral fixed-dose combination for children, and “Controlled Release Pharmaceutical Preparation for Treatment of Endometriosis and Fibrocystic Breast Disease.”

Language 

Emmanuel Ikechukwu Umeonyiora has become the first official Igbo Language lecturer at the University of Oxford. This will be the first time that the Igbo language will be taught in an Ivy League school in the diaspora. This achievement is remarkable because, according to a 2006 UNESCO report, the Igbo language falls on the ‘endangered’ list and may be extinct in 50 years. Thus, the appointment of Ikechukwu Umeonyiora as the first Igbo language lecturer provides an opportunity for the preservation of this language and will spark an interest among people across the globe. 

iPhones

Ndubisi Ekekwe is an authority who has made significant contributions to major fields in technology. Among his list of inventions is his creation of an invasive medical robot purchased by the U.S Ekekwe’s invention enhances the craft of medical robots. Consequently, his invention makes the minimal surgical procedure less invasive thus making less damage to the body. 

Ekekwe also co-designed the first water level chip scale (generation accelerometer) for the inertial sensors used in iPhones and iPads.

With four Master’s degrees and two doctorates, he has gained several recognitions including the United States ERC/National Science Foundation Fellowship award, Johns Hopkins University Fellowship award, IGI Global 2010 “Book of the Year” Award, IBM Global Entrepreneur Award, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and 2010’s “Who’s Who in America”.

Health- Fetal Surgery

2016 was a historical moment in the history of medicine and particularly for Dr Olutoye Oluyinka when he did the unimaginable. Margaret Boemer went for her regular checkup as a pregnant woman which revealed a rare birth deformity- a growing tumour on the tailbone. Dr Oluyinka Olutoye and his partner led a team of 21 doctors and performed a surgery never done before. This surgery saw them remove the fetus from the womb placing it back for the period left to be delivered. After its success, he was appointed the Surgeon-In-Chief at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the U.S.

Mathematics

15-year-old Chike Ofili was 12-years old when he developed a new method of solving mathematical problems through the divisibility of the number seven.

Philip Emeagwali is another Nigerian in the diaspora doing great things and shaping his field of profession and the world. Born in 1954 in Nigeria, he grew up in the community of Onitsha  in South-Eastern Nigeria. He was a school drop out at some point due to the financial responsibility of raising  eight children. Despite that he proceeded with studying on his own. He got a general certificate of education from the University of London and at the age of 17, he was awarded a full scholarship to Oregon State University where he majored in math.

Emeagwali’s achievement resides in aiding a discovery that gave rise to the development of the internet. Often called the “Nigerian Bill Gates,” his works on calculations on connected microprocessors have earned him a series of accolades to his name including the Gordon Bell prize, also dubbed the “Nobel Prize of computing”. The early days of his inventions began with what was called the connection machine leading up to where he is. 

Clearly, with the right opportunities, the only thing that can stop Nigerians and the world they dream of, in the words of Jim Ovia, “is their courage to have the audacity to build it.”