Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Nigerian creates vernacular Bible apps

28 April 2014, 10:01

Lagos - On the streets of Lagos and across God-fearing Nigeria, it's not uncommon to see people with a leather-bound Bible in one hand and a cellphone in the other.

But the Good Book's days could be numbered - in printed form at least - if 25-year-old Kayode Sowole's idea takes off.

The computer science student is the brains behind a series of new smartphone applications to make the word of God available in the country's four main languages at the touch of a button.

Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and even pidgin English downloads are available, catering to the masses of devout Christians in one of the world's fastest-growing mobile phone markets.

"With this innovation, you do not need the Internet to read the Bible," the University of Lagos student told AFP. "Neither do you need to bring a Bible to church.

"You have it in the local language of your choice on your phone."

Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa versions of the Bible have long been in existence and date from the time of the first missionaries to Nigeria in the 19th century.

Pidgin - the widely spoken patois heard throughout the country - is only a more recent addition.

The pidgin version of the New Testament was formally launched last year by the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Facebook inspiration

Sowole cites Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as his guiding light.

"Zuckerberg is my hero and I get my inspiration from him. I am towing his line," he added.

He set about developing the apps in April last year and by October had finished his task.

Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa versions have both the Old and New Testament, while the pidgin app only has the latter for now.

One of the most famous Bible passages, John 3:16-17, reads in English: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

In pidgin, it translates as: "Bikos God luv di pipol wey dey dis wold wel-wel, E kon send di onli pikin wey E get to us, so dat enibodi wey biliv am, nor go die, bot e go get life wey nor dey end.

"God nor send en pikin kom kondem di pipol wey dey insaid di wold, bot mak e kom save dem."

A Nigerian Bill Gates?

Sowole's effort won him the best student app category of a competition organised by MTN and a one million naira ($6,200, 4,475 euro) prize.

Certainly, the app has a ready market: Evangelical churches dominate the south and religion frames everyday life.

As of February this year, there were some 126 million mobile phone subscriptions, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The growth in telecoms this month saw the government include the sector in the country's revised gross domestic product calculations for the first time.

But Sowole does not have his eyes on profitability for now. The apps are available to download for free at wazobiabible.com

"I entered the competition to make many people know about my app project, my IT skills and my God-given talent," said the student, the son of a retired oil worker father and a trader mother.

The accolade and resulting publicity has made him a star on campus and plaudits from his lecturers.

"We were all happy for him that he won the prize," said one of his classmates, Tayo Jabar.

"He is humble and not in any way arrogant. We love him for the fact that he is still the same person even after he has acquired fame."

Sowole is now working to develop other smartphone applications to suit the Nigerian market, convinced the country could one day provide the world with the next technology tycoon.

"I believe I have not really achieved much. I believe we can have another Bill Gates and other IT giants among the Nigerian youths. I can be one," he added.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...