The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has given out award letters to 210 graduates from the Niger Delta region for its 2019 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme.
The NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, who addressed the scholarship beneficiaries, during a pre-departure briefing and orientation at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, urged them to take the opportunity with both hands and fulfill the investment of hope that the Commission put on them.
Prof Brambaifa, who was represented by the NDDC Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mr. Gochua Okejoto, said that the programme presents the scholars a new vista of opportunities to deepen their knowledge and equip them with skills to conquer the world.
He said: “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 Chief Executive Officer stressed that beyond the physical and technical infrastructures provided by the Commission to improve the living conditions of the people, “we must develop the human capital infrastructure that ensures that we offer sustainable livelihoods to Niger Deltans and equips them to creatively, effectively and proactively employ all we offer to make the Niger Delta the sum of our shared dreams.”
Brambaifa said that since the scheme started in 2010, the objectives had been 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.
He stated: “We have so far produced 1,634 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.
“For instance, five of our M.Sc students graduated with distinction from Coventry University, England and one from Aberdeen University. Mr. Ubong Peters, a Ph.D student, won the three (3) minute thesis competition in Australia, while Mr. 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, Mr. 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.”
The NDDC Assistant Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mrs. Winifred Madume, urged the beneficiaries to be worthy ambassadors of the Niger Delta and use the opportunity to develop themselves and acquire technical expertise for the benefit of the people of the region.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr. Nelson Ologhadien, who is going to the University of Dundee for a doctorate degree in Law, 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, had gone through a transparent electronic examination conducted at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, before they participated in a selection interview.