Tuesday, 17 April 2012


The engineering students of Anambra State University (ANSU), under the aegis of Nuta_Bolts Team, recently ruled the world when it beat 123 teams from across the globe to emerge winner of the 2011 Global Population Challenge Competition.

The team led by young and unassuming Ifeanyichukwu Onyenanu and ably assisted by Nwachukwu Anagu will be in England this July for the Formula Students Competition, to partake in the Silverstone Circuit race car competition. The team, Daily Sun gathered, will also be in Rio, Brazil in June at the United Nations (UN) Rio+20 Earth Summit to present their solution on the Global Population Challenge to the world body.
But the silence that shrouds the achievements of the young lads has began to irritate some people in the university community who feel that had it been some other university in the country that attained the great height, they would have been celebrated by the country and the state.

This nonchalant attitude shown by those that should have brought the team to public reckoning, including the Anambra State Government, has found expression in the inability of the students to make the Formula Students Competition, last year, owing to late arrival of their visas, occasioned by paucity of funds with which to procure them.
The Team leader, Ifeanyichukwu, and his assistant, Nwachukwu, who said they were determined to make Nigeria proud again, shared with Daily Sun the story of how they conquered the world in the UK competition. Excerpts:

Global Population Challenge Competition
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers brought up a topic in one of their conferences held at their Grand conference room at the institutions headquarters which was tagged “One planet, too many people” and the roles engineers will play in such event. The issues raised there brought about the population challenge competition, which was declared open in April 2011.
Because we partook in the Formula Students’ Competition 2011 which was still on as at last April, the Nuta_Bolts team was invited to register for the population competition.

The competition highlighted four key areas: food, water, energy and urbanization. We chose food as the most important thing to Nigerians, with a view of our population increase in 2050. For this we were asked to present some engineering solutions to the problems that will affect food sustainability in the country Nigeria.
Our team alongside nine other teams from Nigeria registered for the competition, but on the whole 123 teams from across the world registered and participated in the competition. Our team successfully ran through the first round, semi-final and the finals which was held at the Grand Committee Room of the House of Parliament, West Minster, London.

The said finals took place on Tuesday November 22, 2011 and we were the second team to make presentation. Four members of parliament (MPs) Bob Smith, Andrew Mitchell (Secretary of State for International Development) and Rogger Williams, were present and witnessed the competition, while another two, Chris White and Mark Spencer joined us, the winning team for dinner, at the Institution’s headquarters at 1 Bird Cage Walk, West Minster London.
It was a 10-minutes presentation and five minutes questions-and-answers session which were on our proffered solution. At the end of the entire presentations, the panel of five judges declared us, Nuta_Bolts team winner of the Global Population Challenge Competition.
With this prize we will be attending the United Nations (UN) Rio+20 Earth Summit by June this year in Brazil to present our solution to the world body.
Why we chose food

We found out that Nigeria has not witnessed a major crisis apart from that caused by the Civil War and that of 1972 when there was food scarcity and Gowon’s government stepped in and knitted it in the bud by providing the enabling environment and incentives to farmers. Our report featured provision of agricultural mechanization equipment, reviving and building more fertilizer plants in the six geo-political zones of the country. There is need to provide modern storage facilities, which will reduce food wastage in the country from 65 per cent down to 10 per cent From our research, we found out that Nigeria as of now produces food though not enough but 65 per cent of the production is being wasted due to lack of modern storage facility system and good transportation system to link the food producing areas.

Formula Students Competition
Yes we were unable to attend the Formula Student 2011 competition between July 14 and 17, 2011 because of the delay in securing our visa, which came two days after the end of the competition. However, we are preparing for the 2012 edition as it is an annual event. The 2012 FS competition will be held at Silverstone Circuit, Nottinghamspire UK from July 13 to July 16.

Meanwhile, we are advancing on our car design to come out the best. Some of measures we have adopted are the training of our team members at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford England, where we were trained on the basic design approach of a race engine car. This took place from October 11 to 14, 2011. We also attended the Formula Students Learn-to-win event organized by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at the Institution’s headquarters, London. We still have other trainings lined up for members of the team before the competition and our race car will run at Silverstone Circuit this July.

Our major challenge is the issue of sponsorship. Like with the case of the 2011 competition, we missed out because of late arrival of visa. But the truth is that we did not get funds on time. Before the university management could source for the money from their meagre resources, it was already too late. We feel that on our part we have made sacrifices, we have put in our best and proved that with adequate assistance and sponsorship, we will make our school, Anambra State and indeed Nigeria proud. The competition we are going into is money-consuming, but it will bring Nigeria to a greater height in terms of technology. Hence it will not be out of point if the Nigerian government took interest in it.
We talk about trainings we will need to undergo before the competition. Some of them are outside the country and we need real good money but it is not what our university management can shoulder alone.
for sunnewsonline.com

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