Plateau born innovator desirous to be Thomas Edison of our time
By Martha Agas, Nigeria News Agency
Like any young boy growing up, Luka Zang, winner of the 2019 Federal Government’s award for excellence in technology and innovation, at the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) Award, was fond of destroying almost every electronic device in their house, and later recouple them.
His dream of putting his name in the annals of history as an innovator was not deterred by his parents’ beatings, because of the cost implication of replacing the gadgets.
He drew his inspiration from the works of his mentors, Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, Nikolas Leslar, who designed the alternating current (AC) electricity, and Einstein whose theories and ideas continued to be relevant till today.
The 27-year old secondary school graduate started his journey in 2005, when he attempted to fabricate a recording machine for people who do not remember their dreams through visual and sound waves.
He did not succeed, but he remained resilient.
Zang realised his dream of fabricating a power bank, for which he was accorded recognition recently, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as he received award
for successes with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
According to him, the decision to fabricate the device was influenced by irregular power supply, and to boost the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
He noted that security personnel posted to the state to help curb insecurity had power supply challenge, as most of them were posted to camps outside the metropolis.
“Power instability in Nigeria and the need to have stronger and more reliable power bank for mobile devices inspired me to `invent’ this power bank from electronic waste.
“ I commenced the research in 2007 and kept trying for five years, I got it right in my fifth attempt,” he said.
The power bank was launched in 2018, alongside his sand sieving machine, which took him eight months to fabricate, at his local church, Assemblies of God Church, Gyal Nyango, Jos South Local Government Area.
Zang studied science subjects on his own, and sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate examination five times before he cleared his papers.
Zang won iHub Digital Solution innovation award for the North Central, organised by COA Media; and the 2019 MSME award winner.
He said that he trekked to school in order to save money from his `pocket money,’ which he used to buy materials for his researches.
The power bank he fabricated previously had 13,000MAH capacity, before its upgrade to 15,600MAH.
“l was given N1million by the Federal Government in August for being the best innovator, and I used the money to upgrade the power bank to international standard.
“I am still working on the automatic candle quencher, which when completed, can help control fire outbreaks caused by the use of candles in homes.
“The users will be able to set the quenchers to automatically control the period they want the candle to go off,’’ he said.
Zang said that he is currently mentoring five youths, stressing that his company, Zangtech, was committed to impacting knowledge.
“To us in Zangtech, this is a dream come true. We have toiled, researched and reviewed our `inventions’ several times to ensure we stand out in the competitive market, and meet contemporary needs of human societies.
“These recognitions mean we are getting closer to our envisaged heights,” he said.
The innovator attributed his successes to the support from both the federal and state governments and fellow innovators.
“We deeply appreciate all those who patronised, encouraged and criticised us. These include fellow innovators, whose presence in the competitive world often made us to move out of our comfort zone and do things differently.
“We wish to specifically appreciate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, for creating opportunity to showcase our potential and earn such an honour.
“We equally appreciate the Vice President, as well as the Ministry of Trade and Investment, for identifying us among millions of creative entities in the country for the award.
“We wish to assure that this confidence reposed in us will never be in vain; we will do our best to deliver even more towards adding value to life.’’
The innovator listed challenges facing the innovation sector to include lack of encouragement by parents, inadequate support by the government, among others.
“My parents wanted me to become a medical doctor, but I insisted on my career, after seeing my efforts, they had no choice but to support me.
“Parents should recognise the behavioural traits and strength of their children in order to guide them appropriately.
“Government should set aside special fund to create enabling environment for the promotion of innovation, “he said.
Zang appealed to Nigerians to patronise indigenous technological products as it would help develop the sector and provide employment for the youths.
Zang also urged individuals, corporate organisations and government to support and promote technological innovations in the country through providing enabling environment and sponsorships.
Zang is still desirous to go back to school in the nearest future to study mechanical or electrical engineering.
“ My dream for Africa is for the continent to embrace technology and change the mentality that innovation can only be successful abroad,’’ Zang said.