By Malachy Uzendu
Three weeks ago, I was at Flat 4, AMSCCO Plaza, at AMSCCO Estate, Galadimawa District, Abuja, to discuss some national issues with the late Engr. Ezekiel Izuogu. I went there in the company of r. Ezeocha Nzeh, our Group Politics Editor. We met a man who, though looking feeble and frail, unarguably exudes unparallel patriotic zeal.
Dr. Izuogu, reminded me of his efforts at securing global patent for his invention known as “Emagnetodynamics”. He said “the self sustaining machine”, when finally built, is expected to facilitate the manufacture of electric cars, power computers, television sets, fans, air-conditioners, etc. He was yet to secure the relevant patents from local and international organizations.
According to Engr. Izuogu: “It is a perpetual motion machine, an engine that is not worked by any fueling system and power. It manufactures its own fuel, and continues working for an indefinite period of time. It can work for 50 years, 100 years”.
Meeting him at his former office in Gwarimpa, Abuja, Engr. Izuogu had demonstrated how the machine works and how the invention has ruptured the law of motion and physics, which says that “something cannot stand on nothing”. He likened the invention to his ‘radio without battery’, his door bell which requires no energy to operate, as well as other scientific inventions.
He took us on a long journey of how foremost scientist, Prof. Alexander Obiefoka Enukora Animalu, a former Director-General of the National Mathematical Center (NMC), and other renowned scientists and physicists, including Prof. Johnson Ejimaya and Isaac Ake-Okoro of the University of Nigeria (UNN), put him through scientific drill before they accepted that “I made it”.
Izuogu’s “Emagnetodynamics”, has led to the proposition of two laws of magnetism. First, that: “a suspended composite magnetic pole will rotate in certain directions if placed in the vicinity of an array of magnets like poles”; Secondly, “the direction of rotation is that of the composite polarity similar to the array”.
Of course, I was bewildered. He spoke only to himself. What have I got to do with his scientific jargons? However, I knew he was up to something, but regretted, he was coming from a wrong side in the country. Izuogu had told me that former President of America, Mr. Barrack Obama, gave out $2 billion to two companies in the US to try to manufacture this machine, but they couldn’t do it. But with US patent number US20100141073A1 (United States US2010073A1), Engr. Izuogu said the “Emagnetodynamics” machine has received the US patent, but that was not sufficient, since he would still require the patent of several other bodies, which unfortunately, he didn’t have the resources to pursue.
“The equipment, if engaged, could be the solution to the constant energy crisis in Nigeria and also, earn foreign exchange when patented by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva,” he said. And never overcome this challenge before he died.
The Ideato-North LGA of Imo State-born scientist, whose dream of transforming the country through scientific inventions, never materialised, died a man of sorrows. He could be said, just like Jesus Christ, “to have died trying to save his own people”. He wanted to change the curses which seem to be retarding Nigeria’s progress, but was not given an opportunity to showcase his capabilities. His efforts ended up as still births.
Discussing with him, at Galadimawa, Izuogu lamented that his efforts to source money to perfect the patenting of his “Emagnetodynamics” machine failed. He was sad that neither the federal government, nor the Imo State government listened, nor assisted him secure the invention as it should.
He was frustrated he could not be paid court-awarded N30 million damages by the High Court of Imo State against the state government since over 20 years following an assault by government agents on his mother after the 1999 governorship election. He said that the Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s administration only paid him N20 million, following the intervention of the presidency, while the letters he sent to the incumbent Governor, Hope Uzodimma, for the remaining N10 million has remained on transit. It would have helped his company (Izuogu Motors Ltd), pay part of the $40,000 owed its partners in five countries, to retain the company’s patent agreements.
Handing over the payment approval with reference number Ref No.G4/Pl/SI/T/7, by former Gov. Ikedi Ohahim through his Principal Secretary, O. Kingsley, he said former Gov. Emeka Ihedioha promised him seven times to put the payment to effect, but reneged on all those, adding that the current Governor, Uzodimma, has not reacted positively to requests on the matter, despite “my full support to the government and being a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)”. During the last APC-NEC in Abuja, Izuogu got frustrated trying to get Gov. Uzodinma’s attention on this.
Recall that in 1997, Engr. Izuogu designed and developed the Z-600, the first African indigenous motor vehicle. Described by the BBC as “the African dream machine”, it had 90% of its parts sourced locally. At a projected sales cost of $2000, it would have taken the world by storm as the cheapest car. Equipped with a self made 1.8L four cylinder engine that got 18mpg and allowed the car to achieve a top speed of 140 km/h, it was the first Front Wheel Drive (FWD).
Inspite of this invention, Izuogu, got his first sad experience when the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha set up a 12-man panel comprising of professionals to ascertain the road worthiness and authenticity of the car. Although the committee gave the invention a clean bill of health, five years before India built their first car, Indi, the effort as mired in the usual crab-mentality Nigerian politics. The Abacha government had promised him a grant of N235 million. He is still waiting for that grant up till last Saturday, when he died!
Engr. Izuogu had told me that on Saturday, 11th of March 2006, around 2.00 am, about 12 heavily-armed men broke into his factory in Naze and carted away machines and tools, including the design history notebook of Z-600; the design file Z-MASS, containing the design history for mass production of Z-600 car, and the moulds for various parts of the car. The locally-produced timing wheel, camshaft, crankshaft, engine tappets, all 20 pieces each, 10 pieces of Z-600 engine blocks, ten pieces of pistons, four pieces of engine block mounds, four pieces of top engine block moulds, ten pieces of engine fly wheel and two pieces each of rear and front mudguard moulds, amounting to over N1 billion, were stolen by the bandits.
When news filtered in late Saturday that Engr. Izuogu had passed on, I wept bitterly. Although he looked weak, frail and sick when I visited him three weeks ago, I had no premonition that was the last time I would see the globally-renowned, but locally neglected scientist.
Humanity has lost a gem! Nigeria has lost an unsung hero! Ndigbo has lost an illustrious son! Naze town has lost an irreparable soul! Even though God surely mayhave granted him eternal repose, could the lessons from Engr. Izuogu’s travails compel drop all these quota, nepotism, crass embezzlement of public fund and stupid approach to issues by our leaders? Can we learn to get focused and move in the direction of progress? We quickly have to wake up from this terribly self-inflicted slumber. Let’s learn some lessons from Engr. Ezekiel Izuogu’s unfulfilled dreams now. Tomorrow might be too late.