“One future, many roads” is a slogan that inspired Madung Ayuba toward making a difference from his teen. Born in Jos, Plateau State to Mr. and Mrs. Ayuba Musa, a poor Nigerian civil service family, Madung started science and technology explorations from highschool, alongside Jerry Mallo, the young Nigerian innovator who recently unveiled his homemade sports car.
Driven by curiosity and passion, to understand the principles that govern the operation of machines and devices – the different applications of technology to solve human problems and the ability to optimize system operations, Madung started from collecting and reassembling discarded mechanical components of any IC engine, and sometimes attempting to dismantle and fix broken electronics at home.
He however did not have a clear picture of his calling during those days of aggressive childhood curiosity, despite unequaled support from his parents. His engineering aspirations became clearer when he was nominated alongside Jerry Mallo to represent their school – Boys Secondary School Gindi, Plateau State, in a National Science Fair/Exhibition.
This pushed him to, along with his colleague, explore practical solutions to engineering problems. The first result was an electric generator (Perpetual Motion Machine) that uses no biofuel. This project earned them a ticket to represent Nigeria in an international science and technology fair in Peru, South America.
Although funding was delayed, preventing the duo from attending the fair, their researches in this sector continued till graduation in 2012, when they designed and fabricated a prototype car (a two-seater engine-powered kart). While still awaiting their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination results, they began building a helicopter.
The helicopter project was largely limited by funding, technical precision and the time required to complete it. The prototype car however brought the duo to spotlight. Fascinated by their innovation and creativity, local media organizations started reporting about them, attracting local and international attention. While his partner, Jerry leveraged that opportunity to continue practical research and innovations regardless of his limitations, Madung had a different passion.
“Ever after those projects, my focus has been on completing my University degree. Irrespective of the passion that fueled me to commit to these projects, one thing was very clear – the need for further knowledge in the engineering field which is better achieved in an academic environment,” said Madung in an online interview.
Gracefully enough, Madung got to meet his role model who eventually became mentor and father to him, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, the current Executive Secretary, Nigerian Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND). Bogoro saw the passion in Madung and believed in his potential. He therefore independently sponsored his studies in England.
Madung now holds a Masters degree in Automotive Engineering with Motorsports from Staffordshire University, and a Bachelors degree in Engineering from Hertfordshire University, both in England. He is also an associate member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). His academic exposure has pointed him to “glaring” limitations of his childhood projects.
He has long advanced research on them, with his undergraduate and Masters research projects both focused on the optimization of energy recovery systems. “These projects have metamorphosed beyond casual garage projects, with a primary objective of solving real life problems that will positively impact the community,” said the young Engineer.
Madung is currently conducting a personal project in collaboration with academic scholars and industrial professionals from different parts of the world to develop a “sustainable” power generation system to supplement conventional systems. This is basically to solve energy problems faced by many African countries, which tend to limit production and distribution, keeping the continent perpetually dependent on imports.
His journey has barely begun, as he says. But he is stopping at nothing to reach the peak of his career. “Anything is achievable,” he said, adding, “Tough circumstances are frustrating but they can be channeled into positive driving force. Nothing will change unless you change something. If it doesn’t work the first time, adjust your strategy and try again. Persist until you get results,” he said.
Madung has always believed in the path he has taken because as he puts it, “I understood my strengths and weaknesses early enough and even though the journey has just begun, it is fulfilling to be on a path you’re most confident of.” However, he does not advise anyone to tow exactly the same path as he to succeed.
“The principles are the same as we have always heard but I will urge all to understand that there is no set template which you must follow that guarantees your success. What worked out for your uncle or mom might not work for you. Understand really what success means to you and seek God’s direction,” he said.Madung is a lover of music and a bass guitarist. He enjoys frequent visits to ‘the house of gains’ and badminton is his favorite sporting activity. However, his love for family is irreplaceable. This where his journey started and the memory of their love and support increasingly fuels his passion. “I will need a whole new session to express just how much the support from my parent inspires me. It is difficult to be supportive of a dream you don’t have the complete picture of,” he said.
His story is a challenge to parents with children who are reaching for the stars. “Parental support and guidance is the most solid foundation that children can ever ask for,” said Madung.