A total of 1,032 scholars won different categries of scholarships in different parts of the world under the sponshrship of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) who have unveiled their 2018 education day. on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, unveiled its multi-billion naira education package for 2018, and also revealed how it has so far spent N1.7Bn ($55.3m) on 79 post graduate scientists and engineers in the UK.
SPDC managing dircetor and country chair, Osagie Okunbor, said in a speech delivered on his behalf by the external relations manager, Igo Weli, that 532 scholarship slots have been awarded to secondary school bright students in th regular Shell Scholarshi scheme for colleges ; 430 went to undergraduates ; 60 went to the innovative Cradle-to-Career (C2C) scheme which lifts bright pupils to highbrow (Ivy) colleges in Port Harcourt and later to other parts of Nigeria. He also mentioned the special undergraduate scholars scheme that takes 10 Niger Delta top graduating engineers and geo-scientists to the UK.
Okunbor said : « We also showcase the SPDC JV-supported Professional Chairs in Geophysics, Centre of Excellence in Marine & Offshore Engineering ; and Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering, the Eco-Marathon ; Sabbaticals and Research Interns among others. These initiatives are all aimed at enhancing collaboration with the academia to produce industry-ready graduates ».
The MD said Shell companies in Nigeria have had a long history of supporting education in Nigeria through scholarships and other social investment initiatives and that their scholars hold leadership position in several key sectors of Nigeria economy. He agreed with Nelson Mandela in saying that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.
The change most urgented needed in the oil region, according Weli who explained in later remarks, is moving away from aggression and violence to dialogue. The GM, a son of the oil region, said the exodus of multinationals and businesses from the oil region would deny the scholars the opportunity to exercise their gifts through worthy jobs.
He mentioned the refusal of the Dangote group to built their multi-billion dollar refineries and petrochemicals in the Nigeria as a case that should prick the youth of the region into a new thinking.
He lamented the difference between the Port Harcourt of today and the one of the past where jobs were plenty and most graduates flocked to the Garden City in search of jobs and career. Now, he regretted, Trans-Amadi looks like a shadow of itself, but said a new thinking led by scholars and young intellectuals can restore hope and create a new atmosphere of peace and industialisation through dialogue and constructive engagement because, acccording to him, Shell is listening and taking corrections.
Some of the best performers in the C2C scheme who were rewarded include Zebulon Favour from Bloombreed with 4.90 average ; Jepghthah’s Awongo Johnbull with 92.2 average ; ABEC’s Praise Seimode with 89 per cent average ; and Brookstone’s Joel Iboro whose scores were not imediately disclosed.
Many previous beneficiaries of Shell’s schemes lined up to speak well of the SPDC, saying how they earlier hated Shell bu Nov 22, 2018