Artificial Intelligence – The Robotic Club of FGC Rubochi got lots to offer and deserves Full Scale Support
It was parents and guardians visitation day at the Federal Government College, Rubochi – FCT Abuja on Saturday, 4th February, 2023 and perhaps across other Unity Schools across the Federation. I accompanied my Uncle’s wife to FGC Rubochi to visit my numerous cousins at the College namely Abdulwahid Aliyu, Mubarak Aliyu, Sa’ad Aliyu, Shahir Aliyu, Sa’idah Aliyu and Samah Aliyu.
Upon arriving the College at a remote but serene location few kilometres off the Abaji – Toto Federal Highway, we met an ongoing meeting of the Parents – Teachers Association (PTA) at the College hall. We had no choice than to join the meeting, considering the fact that no parent/guardian could see his/her child/ward until after the end of the PTA meeting.
The meeting was chaired by the College’s PTA Chairman, Alhaji Adoga Aliyu flanked by other PTA executive members, alongside the College Principal, Mrs. Roseline Michael Inyang and her management team. It was indeed a well attended PTA meeting, no doubt, because the meeting date coincided with the visitation day.
Few minutes down the agenda of the meeting was an item under Business of the Day tagged “Presentation by Students”. I personally was not expecting anything new other than the usual debate or cultural dance display from the students to entertain their beloved parents and guardians at the meeting.
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Behold! I was disappointed because the presentation of the students was rather an astonishing display of robotic work by members of the College’s Robotic Club. Right before our very eyes, and with the aid of a remote, the students controlled a robot from far away behind the hall down to the podium in a very spectacular manner that left everyone agape. The different movements and gesticulations of the robotic device built on four wheels like a truck captured the minds and attention of the audience, especially when their age brackets are put into perspective and the College not being the usual expensive and highbrow schools in Nigeria.
One of the lead anchor of the presentation, Master Divine Ikeun on behalf of the Coordinator of the Club and other students further took everyone by emotional surprise when he boldly called out the PTA Chairman to present a make-shift award plague of appreciation to the Principal of the College, Mrs. Roseline Michael Inyang for trusting, believing and supporting them on the project, while promising to do more and better. All parents and guardians present at the hall, including teachers and students gave the club some lengthy loud resounding claps of appreciation and praises, capable of resonating their spirit and morale to do more and better in their robotic exercises.
In her acceptance and appreciation speech, Mrs. Roseline Michael Inyang expressed great shock at the initiative of the students to present her with an award, saying that she never saw it coming at all. She used the medium to inform the audience that the Robotic Club of the College had continued to make the school proud at different robotic and artificial intelligence competition within the country. She noted that a prototype of the robotic work of the students capable of serving drinks and food at events and other hospitality centres was showcased at the Federal Ministry of Education sometime in early November, 2022.
However, the writer was baffled and inquisitive – why the Federal Ministry of Education? Could it be because it is the primary constituency of the College? In that case it may make some sense in order not to create some public service protocol glitch! Otherwise, one may thought that the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, including some of its numerous agencies such as the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) etc. would have been best to showcase this very rare technological talents among teenagers of a public Unity School such as the Federal Government College, Rubochi.
Ideally, the essence of showcasing these projects to the relevant Government Ministries and agencies is to create public awareness of the talents of the students and develop enthusiasm for support and funding amongst government ministries, agencies, parastatals, private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) etc. in enhancing capacity building, which the writer could not visibly feel any such intervention in the students and their project. This is even more worrisome when the coordinator of the Club informed the audience that the Club has lots of ongoing robotic projects such as security drones, bomb diffusing robots etc, which were capital intensive in nature.
Indeed, these ingenious young talents as showcased by the Robotic Club of FGC, Rubochi must not be allowed to die and waste like that due to lack of corporate funding, support, integration and advancement, bearing in mind that artificial intelligence is currently trending and impacting globally in all walks of life. Certainly, the Robotic Club of FGC, Rubochi and other similar talents out there must be caught and harnessed at their tender ages to form the new start ups in this world acclaimed technological innovation.
In the final analysis, the writer therefore call on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation through the Ministers and their Permanent Secretaries, including heads of relevant Agencies to rally round the students of the Robotic Club of FGC, Rubochi and other similar talents both within and outside the secondary and tertiary academic settings for full scale morale and financial support as a formidable step in creating start ups in artificial intelligence and taking the lead in the Sub-Saharan West African region in this area of technology and innovation.
Abdulhameed M. Aliyu Esq.
An Abuja Based Legal Practitioner