17-Year-Old David Opateyibo Builds Nigeria’s First Drone, Ready to build an aircraft!

David Opateyibo and team

When I tell you that our people are talented, resourceful and intelligent beyond belief, and the only thing holding us back is this Nigeria that simply doesn’t work! It is so heartening to hear, however, that universities are trying to curb the disparity between our students and their Western counterparts by revamping the curriculum to include practical technological projects that empower our youth and make them job-ready for this next phase of digital technology.

David Opateyibo was 17 years old when he built Nigeria’s first locally-made drone in Lagos with his team of Lagos State Polytechnic students. The drone is a high breed mix of existing drone components and locally fabricated materials and I understand Lagos State authorities hope to deploy models of it for security surveillance.

David Opateyibo, 17-year-old Nigerian built Nigeria’s first locally made drone
David Opateyibo, the 17-year-old Nigerian built Nigeria’s first locally made drone

“Aside from using drones for aerial surveillance, you can also use them for aerial photography and videography, or for broadcasting, incidence control or pipeline and power line inspection. You can also use drones in agriculture, to analyse farm produce,” Opateyibo said in an interview.

This is the kind of news that cheers my heart: global innovation for solving local problems. Yes, we know that Amazon is working with drones to deliver shopping in other countries, but look. We need help with even the most basic things like agriculture and infrastructure, so if this sort of advancements can be used to help solve our issues, I’m here for it!

Not content with this achievement, the young man and his team have set their sights on building an aircraft, being one of the associate instructors chosen to participate in building  the first aircraft, STOL CH750 at Zenith Aircraft Company’s facility in Missouri, US and Mexico. The plane is due to be shipped back to Nigeria and put it into use as both a training tool and a functional aeroplane.

He’s just 17. He’s already achieved so much and still has his entire life ahead of him. At 17, I was watching AIT Lunch Break with Jumobi Adegbesan! If I hear “peem”!

Do you remember what you were doing at 17?

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