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Not Resting on His Oars! Nigerian MIT Grad Student Chidube Ezeozue creates App to Track & Predict PHCN Power Outages

BellaNaija.com

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At BellaNaija, we’re always proud to showcase the efforts and achievements of Nigerians. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate student Chidube Ezeozue is one of those who have shown that it is not enough to complain about a problem. Chidube graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Together with his brother, Chidube is working on an app that sources information about the power outage situation. According to the MIT journal with the app, called NepaSituation, people living in Nigeria can report outages. This data, when merged into an algorithm developed by Ezeozue, can help Nigerians predict when power outages may strike their neighborhoods, and how long those outages might last.

Keep checking BellaNaija for more information on this promising young Nigerian. We promise to bring you the exclusive scoop on the progress of this project and many others he is working on!

38 Comments

  1. Banny

    April 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Na everyday nah! Do I need any software to tell me that?

  2. HRS

    April 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Well Done Chidube!! We need that App ASAP!!! NepaSituation, oh boy! the App go full in a week, peeps will just be reporting power outage per second…lol…

  3. Cee Frank

    April 24, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Wonderful!!!

  4. Oma

    April 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Wow….<3 <3

  5. Ochuko

    April 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Nice one dube!!!!

  6. Kachi

    April 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Nice one Chidube, but like Banny said we already know there’s never stable power. Can you reverse it to Track & Predict when the power will be on as against off. Thanks.

    • OLA

      April 24, 2013 at 9:44 am

      if it can predict when power goes off then it can do the reverse 🙂

      cheers

    • Chidube Ezeozue

      April 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

      The app does some prediction already. But the quality of the predictions is only as good as the data that has been crowdsourced.

    • Vivian

      April 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Kudos to you and my sister Chika Ugboh!! web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/student-profile-chidube-ezeozue-0418.html

  7. Bex

    April 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Me thinks power outages are kinda random. While I applaud the ‘don’t just complain, do something about it’ initiative, I’m wondering how gathering data of this kind is going to help the ‘NEPA’ situation. Let’s just say we’re able to predict outages, does it mean we’re expected to sit down and do a countdown from 5,4….1? I’m not hating or anything oo, I’m just wondering how this helps in the grand scheme of things. Well done Chidube Ezeozue, this is just the start of greater things (you gotta respect a man who has developed an algorithm)

    • Chidube Ezeozue

      April 24, 2013 at 11:55 am

      I guess the usefulness of an app like this may not be immediately obvious or applicable to everyone but let me highlight a couple of use cases:

      (1) You want to bake a cake but are trying to avoid the power going out just after you stick the dough in the oven. If NepaSituation works as I hope, it should help you predict how long you can expect to have power for
      (2) You want to go and get a hair cut or watch a premiership game at your friends house. You could call to ask if there’s power…or you could check NepaSituation
      (3) You want to rent a new house and you will like to know how rough it’s been in the neighborhood and how much you can hope to spend annually on petrol, NepaSituation can provide that type of data

      I think another important use of the app is to hold the government accountable like some later commenters have said. During Prof. Nnaji’s tenure as power minister, I had a lot of friends tell me the power situation had improved but I had my doubts since electricity is a zero-sum game. You cannot get out more than you put in and electrical infrastructure hadn’t improved to the extent my friends were describing. My theory was that power had gotten really bad in some places to get really good in others. But there’s currently no nationwide view on the power situation and I hope NepaSituation fills that void.

    • Bex

      April 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      @Chidube: Love the first example (I bake so it hits close to home). Given your explanation I see where it’s usefulness lies. From your second example it seems it’s reach is not just localized to ones location but one can check other locations as well. I would love to talk about the technology but I’d rather focus on the business angle of it…..Guess the app won’t be free and we’d have to download it…

    • Chidube Ezeozue

      April 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      The app is actually free and we even have a daily airtime raffle for users :). You can use the app from your web browsers (www.nepasituation.com), or download the BlackBerry or Java ME app by accessing the same URL from your mobile device.

    • Bex

      April 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      @ Chidube: Yay! I love freebies. Would download app. I take it you’ve tested, tweaked and re-tested, does it actually work? Is there like a timetable in my local PHCN office? I always thought those heartless twits just flick and flip the switch at their discretion….. How do i enter the draw to win airtime (I’m just shameless I know)

      bexluvs2dress.blogspot.com

    • Ngum

      April 30, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Spot on! I beg bring am to Cameroon next.

  8. Lamide

    April 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

  9. francis oyedeji

    April 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    This is a nice job, I believe we can do make things, black americans invented some many stuff, we can do too

  10. Anyi Victory

    April 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Nawa ohh… Abeg bring d 1 wey go predict wen dey go bring lite..

  11. Georgia

    April 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Yayyyy, My Scooby DUBI doing great things. Welldone dear, make us proud, and do n come back make we marry, our children would be super smart. hehehehe.

  12. Linus

    April 24, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Abeg bring d 1 wey go predict wen dey go bring lite.

  13. Him

    April 24, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Ezeozues, intelligent lads. Ur rily taking this PHCN issue personal ooo. when ur done with this one invent the one that would ensure we have light 247.

  14. Berry Dakara

    April 24, 2013 at 11:36 am

    LOL @ Banny! It’s true though, there’s hardly ever power. So I would suggest using the data as a transparency tool, to shame the Nigerian Government, PHCN and their false promises 🙂

    berrydakara.blogspot.com

  15. pynk

    April 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    For starters, the app can serve as a transparency tool.

  16. dj

    April 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    loool… nice one…but na everytime nepa dey take light na… we dont really need an app for that..all we need is an app to keep d light

  17. dy

    April 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    please could you give me some information about admission into MIT, I would be graduating next year and your help would be of great help thanks

    • Partyrider

      April 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      like really? anything you want to know about MIT or any other university for that matter is on the internet. Google is your friend.

  18. Turayo Tijani

    April 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    This is really good. The app will be great as a transparency tool

  19. Temitope

    April 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Very nice! Ur value propositions are quite insightful and i was challenged by that. Thumbs up and all the best.

  20. Derrick

    April 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    While I commend the efforts and intentions, this is as open-ended and as white an elephant a project as you are gonna get, PHCN blackouts are more RANDOM than the Lottery. If it were possible to simply write an algorithm for something that random, then some bright chap somewhere would have been winning the lottery week in week out.

  21. Ojoor

    April 25, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Chidube did you happen to go grow up in Owia Aladja, DSC?….We used to have a Family friend by similar last name if not the same (but I cant spell), I have lost track for about 15years….If it is you guys, I am not surprised cos that family sabi book no be small from the first child (the girl cant remember her name ) to chidube (I think you went to Kings college) and then the smaller ones…..Kudos,

    • Greg

      April 27, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Yep. It’s the same Chidube.

  22. Funke2

    April 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Yay! I won Nepasituation’s airtime raffle 😀

  23. StephanieIj

    April 27, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Well done Dubi… You’ve always had it in you..
    The most interesting aspect of this application is its data storage ability.
    With an app like this when we eventually privatise our power sector it would only lead to more efficiency as this record-keeping app would increase competition.
    @JauneLion.

  24. Peter

    April 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    LOL! Made me laugh so hard 🙂 Great Stride! He should be encouraged, cus Data collected can never be useless(Soft Eng Student)

  25. alli

    May 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Am I the only one that think the Idea is dumb unless u wanna collect data there is already a solution GET A GENERATOR!!!!!!!

    • Ziz

      June 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

      you’re are the only one my dear. Learn to offer your opinion without undermining someone else’s

  26. Truth

    May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Chuby Duby… I cant say i’m surprised. kudos!

  27. Ocheja Patrick

    June 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Its a giant stride. Bravo geek! keep waxing strong in your pursuit. I believe in your dreams about Nigeria, and you are not alone in the quest of realization.

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