Thursday, July 7, 2044
The yearly IQ competition, World Smartest, designed to test the intelligence of high school students in the world has gained much popularity since it produced another record breaking youngest inventor in the world 12 years ago.
For decades, it seemed like the birthright of Asian countries (Singapore, South Korea, Japan etc) and some European countries (Finland, Estonia). The jinx was, however, broken in this year’s edition as an unexpected participant, Nigeria’s Onome Okon, took the world by surprise.
Given the relatively lower quality of education in Nigeria and Africa, and the low level of competition in the continent, Onome was perceived by fellow competitors as opportunistic to have made it to the finals of the competition.
He however began to prove himself when he made his way to the quarter final. At this stage, he was 100% better than the 7 other candidates in all areas – including timeliness, accuracy, and articulacy. The semi-final was the most difficult for him as he had to compete against the defending champion - Japan’s Akio Yamaha. The final stage was less difficult as he got an early lead, to which his German opponent reacted with anger borne out of his racist arrogance.
Onome attributed his victory to the mentoring and coaching he gets from his teacher. He said, “I couldn’t have achieved this if not for the kind of teacher I have. He took interest in us and showed us things we are not taught in school. He taught me how to use Google effectively. Most people don’t know how to use Google effectively – even most adults.
“Instead of spending time looking for trending news and latest videos on the internet, I focus on studying just about anything good I can study. I also network with other intelligent people across the world. That is what I use my own social media for,” said Onome.
His teacher, Mohammed Idris, is a 22-year-old graduate of Statistics whose goal in life is to nurture and mentor the smartest kids in the world. Two years after his Youth Service, he founded his company, Astute Brains, and began to go round schools to recruit students for his programme.
“After finishing my master’s programme from Obafemi Awolowo University, I spent approximately 12 hours a day for 2 years doing more studying, planning and teaching – sometimes pro bono - to get myself ready for the task. Up until my SSS 2, I was one of the poorest in my class. I believe that if I could eventually graduate as the best in my class, then most students are smarter than they think they are. This is my motivation; and this is what I live for. I’m glad that in less than 10 years, an Onome has emerged, and that I make money from doing what I see as passion and leisure,” said Idris.
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