NATIONAL MIRROR‘S Excerpts – Determined to produce a car that will function effectively at a reduced cost of maintenance, Segun Oyeyiola, a final year student of the Electrical and Electronics Department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has developed a solar-powered car.
The final year student of the department of Electrical and Electronic, who hails from Ifetedo in Ife South Local Government of Osun State, is the third from a family of six. He is from a humble home as his parents cannot be said to be financially buoyant.
His parents were always telling him: “you better find something better to do. Your siblings have completed their first degrees and rather than you do some stupid things, it is better you face your studies.” He said that he was, at first, discouraged by people who said that no Nigerian has ever done it. “And mind you, they were saying the truth! But I was not deterred”.
But Segun is a determined person who would not relent except he achieves success. In fact, he got admission late. The last child of his parent was already a graduate while Segun is spending his ninth year in OAU campus for a five year course. He was advised by his parents to face his studies rather than waste his precious time on ‘rubbish.
“I mustered courage, knowing that I would do it. I insisted that I would do it. All the money I’ve been saving since the last 10 years was used on the project. I starved myself to buy all the equipment. “At times, I would neither eat nor buy clothes, all in the bid to get meter, set of screws etc.
When my mother later saw the car, she talked to my father on the need to help me financially. What I have just done is a prototype because to buy a new car which I could have used requires a whole lot of money.
Rather than be deterred because of the stress he encountered during the process of the project, he spent over twelve months before the car started working. One can conclude that failure motivated him when narrated how one of his lecturer met him when his first semester results came out. His results, according to him, were grossly poor compared to his colleagues who had ‘Bs’ and ‘As’.
Quoting the man, he said the man called him and said: “Segun, you are not in first class in part one, how will you make it? If care is not taken, your second class lower division may diminish to a third class. I told him that the results were the true reflection of my ability, that I couldn’t do more than that except if I will cheat”. “The lecturer, he said, “advised me to get a good grade for me to make it in Nigeria.
But if I don’t have a good grade, what will be my fate? Is that the end of life? I said to myself that I have to prove myself to people by doing something spectacular to fill the void created by my ‘educational deficiency’.
That, to me, will be equivalent to those that have first class. His father’s abandoned Volkswagen beetle which he bought in the 1960s was used for the project. He said that he would have used tricycle but decided to use a car that is in existence so that people will embrace and quickly adapt to it.
He explained that he bought the solar panel through savings from his own personal purse at the rate of N85, 000. On the importance of the car, he noted that “it will ease our movement from our house to the office, to market to church.
To be fair to all, what I’ve done is not perfect but it’s a work in progress. This car can be used in delivery purpose, especially by bakers to deliver bread to their customers. It saves fuel. Even government official can use it from one ministry to the other”.
Segun said he will not leave the country for greener pasture even if he does not get the necessary support from Nigeria and Nigerians. “I don’t have that in mind because I believe this is a Nigerian project and I designed it based on our climatic condition and economy.
It would be advantageous if Nigerians can support me. But no matter what, the work has started, it will not stop. We, the youths, are ready for change no matter the economic hardship.