Bobai Ephraim Kato has an inspiring story to tell. He is a high achiever who is neither moved by the disappointments he faces nor ruffled by the challenges on his way. He considers himself a self-directed learner who is willing to experiment with new things; with a high level of contextual and technological insight. While in secondary school, Kato loved computing and technology, and that gave him several opportunities to represent his school in computer competitions. He made good grades in Chemistry, Physics and Biology, and was also appointed the health prefect in final year. All of this boosted his dream of pursuing a medical career, and he imagined all was set for him to take the world.
Well, the road wasn’t as smooth as he envisaged. Kato received the first blow after his secondary education in 2009, when he failed the University Matriculations Exams (UME) twice and couldn’t get admission into Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria to study medicine.
He then applied to the Kaduna State University (KASU) where he was eventually admitted to study medicine, but was later rejected at the point of registration when it was discovered that he didn’t have a credit in English language. Kato could have decided to give up and quit trying at this point, but he didn’t. Instead he kept hope and continued pushing, and exploring every option till he got another opportunity to study at KASU’s Remedial School. While in KASU, he got information about NIIT (National Institute of Information Technology) scholarship exams, which he took and emerged the second highest.
With the scholarship, Kato studied Software Engineering for a year after which his cousin helped him get admission into Sri Lanka Institute of Technology (SLIIT).
In Sri Lanka, Kato started University again and completed after a year. He went onto Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) which was affiliated to University of Westminster UK, where he studied Software Engineering for two years, before proceeding to ICBT in 2014 to complete his degree in software Engineering.
For his final project, Kato came up with a random artificial intelligence idea. His first work with Artificial Intelligence was “Wine Quality Test”, a piece of software which uses artificial intelligence to determine the quality of wine. When the instruction came to his class to create a software that uses Artificial Intelligence for predictions and solutions, he couldn’t think of anything. It was not until he did some research that the idea of a robot, which could solve puzzles hit him.
Kato personally built and developed the algorithm that enabled the robot to solve a Rubik’s Cube in a matter of minutes – a feat he admits to have never achieved himself. He created 16 different algorithms which served a set of skills for the robot. With these sets of skills, he used an artificial intelligence language called ‘R’ to develop a pattern for the robot to choose the best skills to solve the puzzle. He also had a database where the new skills were saved. So the more the robot solves the cube the more intelligent it becomes.
For Kato, the road to success was full of torns, and even though he got several pricks with every step; the 24 year old achiever kept at it, with his eyes set on the laurel on the hill.
He devoted two nights building the robot and after completing the construction, he then installed the software which serves as the brain into a memory card for testing. But then again he was struck with another disappointment.
“My first 5 tests were a failure. The robot always shot a scanning error, and this was a week to my final submission. All I could do was pray. I didn’t know what to do again. I was confused and restless. I kept grinding and it finally started working. At that stage, the robot wasn’t intelligent enough and I had to train it to solve many puzzles to get more skills to save in the database.”
Kato hails from the Atyap tribe in Kaduna and hopes to return to Nigeria to create solutions and bring an end to the security challenges that have consistently plagued the nation. He shares his vision in an interview with Student Pulse.
“My focus now is on Forensic computing, Cyber Security and Digital Investigation. This is the path I will love to follow for my career and education. I’m happy to return back to Nigeria as a Cyber Security and Digital forensic Tech. If anything, that’s what Nigeria needs more. We need people who are savvy and sincere in Digital Investigation, Cyber Security and Forensic computing. The world today is bent on technology, the corruption in the world today is bent on it too.
I don’t get how a country will say they can’t locate the terrorist living in the country, and I don’t get how a country will say they don’t know the sponsors on this terrorist group. They make calls, they send emails, they use the internet for many reasons, they upload videos etc. Just one amongst this list is enough to get whoever is responsible. We only need savvy and honest people to do this.”
- Kato encountered several challenges and disappointments in his journey, but he never lost sight of his goal. He had a vision, and he kept at it with courage. Today he is making headlines in the same country, where he made efforts and failed.
Lesson- Make efforts! even if you fail, never stop trying.
- Kato’s ultimate goal is to return to his country and create solutions.
“I’m happy to return back to Nigeria as a Cyber Security and Digital forensic Tech. If anything, that’s what Nigeria needs more. We need people who are savvy and sincere in Digital Investigation, Cyber Security and Forensic computing.”
Lesson- Always seek to create solutions. Look around you, what challenges anger you the most? Find solutions to them.
What other lessons can you find in Kato’s story? Do well to share with us in the comment section below.