• There are lessons for virtually everyone from this adventurous teenager
For 16-year-old John Oseni from Ogun State, providence has been kind to him. At 15 years old in 2021, he made his first million through the use of technology. However, there was no instant miracle to his early success. A cocktail of events ‘conspired’ to lead him to what now appears like divine providence. His story is as paradoxical as it is intriguing.
His present success with computer programming was not a deliberately choreographed affair. There seems to have been some element of the proverbial phoenix narrative to his little journey to success. A company, Green Garage, had before the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown organised a computer competition for about 80 students and Oseni and another girl had come first. They expected their prizes which never came, so he decided to get to the company himself.
A visit to the company revealed not his prize but a pile of dusty computers that inspired him to action. He pleaded with the management for a chance to use one of their old computers to practice his passion, coding. They agreed, he did and his knowledge and hunger for more programming knowledge blossomed and he ended up learning and teaching others in the same company.
For the teenage tech guru, the lockdown period had its blessings; he was able to deviate from his childhood dream of joining the military having attended Command Secondary School, Akure, Ondo State, for his high school. He got more interested in programming and today he is making headlines as a teenage millionaire who works for more than a dozen start-up companies across the globe.
A comic angle to his blossoming tech life is the fact that his professor of biochemistry father and a retired civil servant mother initially thought their young son was possessed by some evil spirit. They are however very excited today at his progress and bourgeoning fame and fortune.
We commend the Green Garage company, the parents and the teenage wiz kid himself for the encouragement and dedication that brought the boy to the global limelight. His success brings pride and hopes to not only his family but Nigeria as a country. It is the miracle of technology that despite the lack of deliberate policy direction to stir Nigerian students to the science and technology world, individuals and corporate bodies are investing in the field and the young people are changing the narrative in the field of technology despite all odds.
It is encouraging to know that the young boy is not carried away by the sudden fame as he is known not to be jumping into offers from across the globe. He seems to be focused on expanding his knowledge through education which he says might be strictly online to allow him do his work. It is good that he values education. He says he wants to multitask and possibly get a Ph.D. in Engineering.
It is equally commendable that despite his age, John has also been invited to different global events as a guest speaker and has also won numerous awards to his name. We hope Nigeria puts as much value to his talent as the global community as a way of encouraging other young people.
His beautiful dream of a future powered by nature is very enchanting and should be supported. He said he plans to use nature to power cars, phones and other things. In a world battling the serious effects of climate change and global warming, he might just be the answer to a confused world.
John’s success has many lessons for both governments and parents. Governments must invest more in education and parents must be careful not to insist on their career choices for their children. It is always good to allow children to make their choices based on their interests. Success must not always be about pure academics and the acquisition of certificates. Ironically, many of global billionaires do not bandy strings of certificates. Late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg , Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc. are either college dropouts or just managed to get one degree. Ideas and technology rule the world and those who understand would always progress. Nigerian governments must see the value in education and fund it adequately to encourage the young ones to reach their full potential and help the country prosper.
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