The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has commenced oral interviews for over 1,050 candidates for its Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme. The interview process, spanning over eleven days, is for the candidates that were successful during a Computer-Based Test written by 5,000 applicants earlier this month.
Speaking at the venue of the interview in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, who was accompanied by the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Alabo Boma Iyaye, the Executive Director Projects, Sir Victor Antai, and the Executive Director Corporate Services, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, said that the guiding principles for the interview were equity, fairness and transparency.
He stated: “Everything is going to be done based on merit and that is what we want and the reason why we came to monitor the process is to show our support to what is going on and let people know that we did not set up a process without coming to check what was happening. We believe that the best will be selected amongst the successful candidates.
“We are sending the scholars out to represent our country. They are going to be our worthy ambassadors. The interview panel was randomly selected to ensure fairness because the 200 scholars to be selected will be our ambassadors.”
Responding to questions on why the NDDC has not increased the number of scholarship beneficiaries, the Managing Director explained that funding had been a challenge, stating: “We increased the allowance for the studies from thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) to forty Thousand Dollars, ($40,000.00) and this affected our finances, making it necessary to create a balance.
“However, from next year we hope to reduce the number of foreign scholarships because of the high foreign exchange rate, but we will introduce scholarships for undergraduate students in Nigerian universities. This will enable us to accommodate more persons in the scholarship programme.”
Taking the NDDC Executive Management through the interview process, the Commission’s Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Dr George Uzonwanne, expressed optimism that the transparent process adopted in selecting beneficiaries of the foreign scholarship scheme would continue to produce first class performers.
He said that the consultant for the Scholarship programme assembled interview panelists from different disciplines in universities across the Niger Delta region.
Providing further information, the NDDC Deputy Director, Education, Mrs. Idara Akpabio, explained that the scholarship programme covered disciplines in engineering; including Biomedical, Software, Marine, Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic and Robotic Engineering. “Others are Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Math/Sciences, Medical Sciences, Hospitality Management, Law, Architecture and Environmental Science.”
One of the candidates interviewed for the scholarship programme, Mr.Andy Imabibo, commended the NDDC for giving Niger Delta youths the opportunity of having an enriching global experience through education. He said that the selection process for the scholarship was very good and encouraging.
Another prospective scholar, Miss Kio Belema Iyala, said the examination preceding the interview was hitch free. She said: “The timing was accurate and the whole process was smooth. Then after a week, I got a message to come for this interview today. I will surely come back and apply all that I learned to the development and progress of my community and the Niger Delta region”.
Director, Corporate Affairs