The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has given out award letters to 200 students for its 2016 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme.
The successful graduates from the 9 states in the Niger Delta were, in addition to collecting their letters, given pre-departure briefings and put through formal orientation at a ceremony held yesterday at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt.
Addressing the NDDC scholars, the Managing Director of the commission, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said that they represented what could be achieved through hard work, commitment and determination. “It is the story of what success can be achieved when men and women commit themselves to doing what is right at the right time,” she said.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the narrative surrounding the NDDC Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme was woven into the very fabric of the Commission. She said: “It was borne of the need to bridge the huge manpower deficit in the Niger Delta region, especially in Engineering, Science and Technology, EST, the fields that drive the oil industry. It was conceived to build a pool of professionals whose intellectual mobility will be in tandem with global trend and procure proper and adequate space for the region as the goose that lays the golden egg.
“This Scholarship Programme, which commenced in 2010, is a good story to be told. And that is why today, as the latest beneficiaries prepare to embark on their pursuit of the Golden Fleece overseas, the NDDC is proud that the Niger Delta is sending out the best and the brightest off a pool of about 3,000 applicants.”
Mrs. Semenitari noted that the competition was keen and intense and was a proof that the narrative in the Niger Delta was not only about the negatives that daily occupy greater space in the news, but that youths in the region were among the most brilliant and positively mobile.
She further said that since the inception of the scheme 6 years ago, the NDDC had trained a total of 1, 2411 scholars in the PhD and MSc levels from the 9 mandate states of the Commission, adding that 51 were for PhD, while 149 were for MSc programme.
She observed that some of them now enjoy overseas job placements with one employed as Graduate Assistant in a UK University.
The NDDC boss stated that merit was the major consideration in the selection process. She added: “We are proud to announce that each of them is a worthy beneficiary having scaled the highly competitive Computer-Based Test; performed excellently in the tasking Oral Interview, and therefore, achieved a high aggregate.
“Interestingly, the candidate with overall best result is a lady. The lesson here is that under fair environment and competition, our males and females can excel and jointly transform our region into one of our dream.”
The NDDC Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mr. Frank Eke-Spiff, 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.
Mr. Eke-Spiff, who was represented by Mr. Goshua Okejoto, deputy director in the directorate, reminded the beneficiaries that they owed the Niger Delta a duty to succeed.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr. Kingsley Amakiri, who is going to the University of Salford in Manchester for a doctorate degree in Petroleum Economics, 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.
In her own remarks, Miss Genorosa Ibe, who came out tops in the selection process, observed that education was the most profitable investment in the country today, adding that the NDDC had given them a rare opportunity to improve themselves for the benefit of the society.
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.