Some 210 university graduates from member-states of oil-rich Niger Delta region have received scholarships from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to proceed abroad for higher degrees.
They received their award letters from the NDDC acting managing director, Nelson Brambaifa, a professor, as part of the Federal Government’s quango’s 2019 post-graduate foreign scholarship programme.
Brambaifa addressed the scholarship beneficiaries during a pre-departure briefing and orientation in Port Harcourt, urging them to take the opportunity with both hands and fulfil the investment of hope put on them by the commission.
He was represented by Gochua Okejoto, the director for education, health and social services at NDDC, saying that the programme presents the scholars a new vista of opportunities to deepen their knowledge; and equip them with skills to conquer the world.
“You are the new generation of well-trained professionals who will help take the Niger Delta to the next level. You are the future of the Niger Delta, the people whose professional competences and exposure will fill the gaps in the oil and gas industry; as well as in infrastructure development, information technology, agriculture and aquaculture, in order to facilitate sustainable livelihoods which is key to creating wealth and abolishing regional poverty,” the NDDC boss said.
He stressed that beyond the physical and technical infrastructures provided by the commission to improve the living conditions of the people, it must develop the human capital infrastructure that ensures that it offers sustainable livelihoods to Niger Deltans and equip them to creatively, effectively and proactively employ all it offers to make the oil region the sum of our shared dreams.
The NDDC foreign scholarship scheme started in 2010, with the objectives to bridge the gap in the management cadre of the oil and gas sector of the Niger Delta region; address the dearth of professional human capital and capacity among the youths and prepare them for leadership and management positions in the oil and gas sector; and produce professionally enhanced and skilled post graduate beneficiaries who could match international standards and take over the leadership of the oil and gas sector in the nearest future.
Till date, some 1,634 youths have been trained under the scheme, who are described by Brambaifa as “competent and better qualified youths who are bringing their new learning to bear in different sectors of the Niger Delta economy. And there are many heart-warming stories, outlining the excellent Niger Delta spirit, which have emerged, and continue to emerge, from this very important intervention.”
Brambaifa reeled out what he called heart-warming stories from the scholarship scheme: “Five of our M.Sc students graduated with distinction from Coventry University, England, and one from Aberdeen University. Ubong Peters, a Ph.D student, won the three minute thesis competition in Australia, while Augustine Osarogiagbon of Memorial University completed his Ph.D in less than the stipulated time. He was offered a dual Ph.D programme with two graduate assistants to work with him, as well as a post-doctoral fellowship. Also, Charles Igwe, as a Ph.D student in Construction Engineering at Concordia University, Canada, saved the Montreal Area Municipality over $1 billion by redesigning the Turcot Interchange Road construction project costing $3.67 billion.”
Nelson Ologhadien, who is going to the University of Dundee for a doctorate degree in Law, spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries; thanked the NDDC for making the selection process fair and transparent. He promised that they would put in their best to be good ambassadors for the region.
The beneficiaries of this year’s post-graduate foreign scholarship programme went through an electronic examination conducted at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, before they participated in oral selection interview.