All right foodies, gather round, cause there’s a new invention in town. Dikanna Onuigbo, a 16-year-old SS3 student of Community Secondary School, Okpuno, just created Nigeria’s first bitter leaf processing machine!
Onuigbo was accompanied by his father to present the machine to the Deputy Governor of Anambra, Dr. Nkem Okeke. The Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, State Commissioner for Lands as well as the Executive Director of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, were also present to witness the young boy’s ingenious device.
This is great, our teenagers are on track to become famous inventors. But how useful is this invention?
Taking a walk down memory lane, do you remember those ‘precious’ days when you served as a human food processor? It was obvious what the adults wanted when it was time to prepare ‘Ofe Onugbu’, ‘Efo Elewuro’ or ‘Ukwogho Etidot’- popularly known as bitter leaf soup.
Frustration ran through your veins, as a result of the amount of kneading and twisting that had to be done, to ensure the bitter taste of the leaf didn’t mar your mother’s perfect delicacy. You had to stand for hours, muttering under your breath, cause make no mistake-you would have been ‘destroyed’ if you were heard complaining.
Regardless of the torture, the health benefits of bitter leaf are endless. With its ability to treat malaria, lower hypertension or even prevent cancer, nobody is surprised delicious variations of the soup are prepared across different regions of the country.
Fast-forward to the present, with all this talk about disruptive technology, it’s heartwarming to discover someone has arrived to ease the process. Onuigbo’s invention will help scrap, eradicate, annihilate… (basically any word that aptly summarizes ‘no more torture’) the old method.
Access to this machine will reduce the time consumed to prepare the soup. Wads of bitter leaf take an hour or more to get through by hand. Isn’t that a nightmare if you had a big family or owned a restaurant?
Luckily, Anambra’s Deputy Governor rewarded Onuigbo’s resourcefulness, by offering him a scholarship to study mechanical engineering at any university of his choice. The state government also promised to help him acquire a patent for the bitter leaf processing machine.
Onuigbo expressed his desire to secure the funding needed to commercialize his invention. Given the trauma we have to face just to eat delicious bitter leaf soup, we hope he succeeds.