This burning desire pushed them to engage in some tedious menial jobs to raise N125,000 seed capital to source raw materials locally to invent a bitterleaf washing machine they called Oganiihu E².
The two actually started working on this project while they were in Secondary School.
Currently, Atikpo is a 200-level Polymer and Textile Engineering Undergraduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, while the brother, Ubaka is a school leaver who is presently seeking admission into the University.
However, the two brothers wanted a perfect solution to Nigeria’s farmers’ plights during the processing of the biter leaf for export.
This machine, the inventors told the media, will help in easy processing of the food item; getting them ready for both local consumption and export.
Botanically, bitterleaf is called Vernonia amygdalina Delile and from the family of Asteraceae or Compositae.
The plant is consumed locally as food and serves important ethnomedicinal uses.
It grows throughout tropical Africa to a height of about 1– 5 metres and it is indigenous to many West African Countries.
According to studies, parts of the plants are used locally for the treatment of fever, Stomach disorder, jaundice, worm infestation, constipation, malaria, hiccups, kidney problems, amoebic dysentery, schistosomiasis, cough, wounds, diabetes, laxative, veneral diseases and other bacterial and protozoal infection.
Atikpo and Ubaka explain:
“This is an improved mechanized bitterleaf machine whose Nigerian name we gave to be (Oganiihu E²) which means success/Forward ever.
“This machine is first of its kind in the world i.e Nigerian invention.
“This is a machine that washes bitterleaf and it doesn’t stop at washing, it also uses the bitterleaf by-products like bitterleaf juice into the production or conversion of useful substances such as: fertilizer; methanol and a new type of tea which is similar to Lipton tea (Vernonia tea”, Atikpo said.
The Media learnt the portable types of the bitterleaf washing machine can be exported.
“We welcome investors including government, to work with us on this project that will lead to the creation of bitterleaf plantations and industries in many parts of Nigeria.
“Already our dear State- is exporting bitter lead. But with our invention, we believe it will lead to massive production of bitterleaf that can even be exported out of the country”; Ubaka.
Now at its prototype stage, the hardware can become a time-saving tool many if developed to a finished product.