Black Excellence: The Nigerian Student Who Broke Japan’s Academic Record By Solving A 30-Year-Old Math Equation

by Duke Magazine

Ufot Ekong went to Japan in pursuance of his undergraduate degree at Tokai University and in his first semester, he solved a mathematical equation that could not be solved 30 years ago.

 Born in 1990 in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom native had joggle with odd jobs to see himself through his education since he did not have any private or governmental sponsorship.

He studied Japanese for a year and a half to improve his fluency before the start of his course, electrical and electronics engineering. In 2015, he graduated with first-class honors and was the best graduating student in Engineering.

Ekong received the most prestigious award, the President’s Award, and became the first African in the school’s history to receive that honor in addition to graduating with the best GPA the school had seen in five decades.

In furtherance, Ekong received the Overall Best graduating student award. In all, he graduated with six awards for academic excellence from the school including the president’s prestigious award.

Not only does he speak Japanese, but he also speaks English, Yoruba, French. His native language is Ibibio. Ekong even won himself the Japanese language award for foreigners. 

Tokai University is a reputable private university based in the Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Founded in 1924, the school focuses on the sciences and technology. 

While in school, Ekong was a senior member of a couple of research teams that made several patents and even manufactured their own electric car that goes as fast as 128kmph.

He went on to pursue a master’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a doctorate in Power Electronics and Motor drives all at Tokai University.

Ekong became an engineer at Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation (TMEIC) based in Japan. He is the co-founder of a retail and accessories shop in Japan called Strictly African Japan. The witty Nigerian is therefore among the scores of Africans who have set up shops in Japan to share a piece of African culture with the Japanese.

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