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Opinion: Is NDDC 2014 Post-graduate Scholarship Scheme Scam?

It has been six months since the conclusion of the interview process in
April for the NDDC foreign postgraduate scholarship 2014/2015
session, for programmes starting September 2014. The scheme is aimed at building capacity of Niger Delta youths so as to contribute to relevant sectors like the Oil and gas industry and boost local content development.

However, the story of this scholarship scheme for 2014/2015 academic has not had a very good ending, as the hopes of young Niger Delta youths who have anticipated a glorious time studying abroad , developing their knowledge and skills and on returning joining hands to build the Niger Delta, has been dashed to pieces.

Following the transparent and swift manner in which the tests and interview process was conducted, we expected quite a lot. This year qualifying exams for the scholarship programs were taken in April and rounded up on the 5th of April, we were invited for interviews shortly in that same month and the interview process was equally rounded up on the 24th of April, one would have expected that all successful candidates would by this time be one month old in their various centres of learning across the world.

To say the least, Niger Delta youth studying within Nigeria and abroad as far Russia had to fund their trip to Nigeria, even some had to risk night journeys to Port Harcourt twice to participate in the test and subsequently interviews. Interestingly, in the face of NDDC not having an official communication channel as regarding this scholarship scheme, we as responsible intellectuals and peace loving individuals have relentlessly taken turns to visit the NDDC head office in Port Harcourt. The response has always been; “the list would be released soon”. As a matter of fact it is less than 10 weeks to the end of the year and there is still no official position as to the status of the scholarship scheme for this year.

Whilst we understand the peculiar challenges with MDAS in Nigeria, it remains unexplainable why the NDDC Management has decided to keep potential scholars in the dark especially as it is a public institution being run under a democracy? This has left scholars with the following questions that demand urgent answers:

    • What is the reason for the delay, could it be one associated with mere sabotage, corruption and political preparations for 2015 as the NDDC board has since inception been bedevilled with corruption such that the last NDDC board had to be sacked by the presidency?
    • Is NDDC any less different from other government institutions like PTDF AND NITDA who have successfully sent selected Nigerian youths to study abroad this year? Isn’t this delay one that could be attributed to a show of incapacity and mismanagement by the NDDC Board.
    • Why can’t the list of candidates invited for interview be published and also the list of successful scholars too. So the process is seen to be transparent? Why inform successful candidates through text messages and emails only? Or is there something to hide, are names smuggled in covertly in the last stages.
    • Could this delay be a deliberate attempt by the NDDC Board to include children of politicians and vested interest who were not part of the test and interview screening process?

The scholarship candidates do deserve answers to the aforementioned questions above from the NDDC management rather than the devilish silence that it has exhibited over the past few months.

If we are the leaders of tomorrow, then the Dan – Abia led NDDC Board should do more in developing the capacity of the youth than making promises of road construction and infrastructure development. Our human resource is more important than physical infrastructure. Capital infrastructure lost can be revived again, but a generation lost can hardly be restored!!!

Peter Keshi
NDDC Potential Scholar

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