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Tech trio wins University of Sussex-sponsored education prize at Future Awards Africa

Adam Tickell (centre), the Vice-Chancellor, awards the University of Sussex-sponsored 2017 Future Awards Africa Prize for Education to Oluyemi Imole (left) and Akanji Gideon (right)

A trio, whose app has helped millions of young Nigerians practice for important exams, has won the Future Awards Africa Prize for Education, sponsored by the University of Sussex. 

Oluyemi Imole, Akanji Gideon and the late Samson Abioye were named winners at a ceremony on Saturday (9 December) in Lagos, Nigeria. 

The winners founded a pioneering tech company called pass.ng, a self-testing online platform that helps students practice for computer-based exams. 

Over 80 million tests have been taken on the platform by a whole generation of young Nigerians who had been lacking in computer literacy and had felt alienated from the exam process. 

Co-founder Samson Abioye’s death in July 2017 was described by Pulse Nigeria as one that “shocked the sphere of technology in Nigeria". 

His fellow founders and winners Akanji Gideon and Oluyemi Imole accepted the award on Saturday. 

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo, delivered the keynote address on ‘Nigeria’s New Tribe’ and met Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex, who said:  “We are delighted to partner again with the Future Awards Africa and in particular to support the education prize. 

“Celebrating and nurturing talent and potential is at the heart of our educational mission at Sussex and, just like this year’s remarkable winners, we value enterprise, progressive thought and innovation. 

“We have long enjoyed a close relationship with Africa and we are proud to work closely with our partners in Nigeria and across Africa to develop students’ potential and promote global citizenship and youth empowerment.” 

Adebola Williams, co-founder of the Future Awards Africa, in his speech said that, for millennials who make up Nigeria’s New Tribe, talent is the new currency, which they back up with hard work. 

Forbes has described the Future Awards Africa as the “most important awards for outstanding young Africans.” 

With the mandate to celebrate and accelerate innovation among young Nigerians aged 18 – 31, the awards acknowledge inspiring young people making a difference through social enterprise, social good, and creativity. 

Entertainer Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, and British-born professional boxer, Anthony Joshua, are among the others who bagged awards on Saturday night. 

The Future Awards Africa was one highlight for the University of Sussex in a week of engagement activities in Nigeria, which also included visits to Sussex partners, the University of Lagos, National Universities Commission, a hugely successful alumni reunion, and a forum on ‘Transformative Education and Sustainable Partnership” with the British Council and Nile University, Abuja. 

The trip was co-ordinated by Tosin Adebisi, Senior International Officer, and Professor Richard Follett, Director of International Recruitment and Development.

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By: James Hakner
Last updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017