Have Niger Deltans truly benefitted from the PTDF scholarship?
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), going by its enabling Act is a Federal Government Agency established in the year 2000, to lay a lasting foundation for growth and development, develop indigenous human capacity and petroleum technology to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry in the country while strengthening existing technology as well as supporting infrastructural and human capacity for discoveries and inventions.
Essentially, while GbaramatuVoice will continue to support Federal Government’s vision, wisdom and celebrate the courage behind these positive purposes and initiatives such as PTDF, the newspaper is however, worried about Federal Government discriminatory style of managing its scholarship scheme – as it places some at vantage position and the rest at disadvantaged pedestal.
Specifically, it is important to state that the underlying premise behind the present commentary by GbaramatuVoice is based on the Newspaper’s believe in education and basic principles that promotes learning. Likewise, this present searchlight on PTDF was propelled by several serious problems that stem from fundamental changes in the way the Federal Government understands, executes and communicates these scholarship schemes.
As an illustration, PTDF going by a widely published report in 2022, has trained 9,659 students in different fields in different universities and specialized institutions scattered across the world.
Again, banking on the motion sponsored by Samaila Suleiman, lawmaker representing Kaduna North at the floor of the Senate on the 17th of March, 2021, PTDF spends between 50 to 60 million Naira on each student for a three to four-year course under the scholarship programme, to attain degrees programme in universities within and outside the country. clinch
Generally, GbaramatuVoice is not under any guise perturbed about the ‘volume’ of money (N50 to 60 million Naira) spent by the agency on each of the students.
GbaramatuVoice, however, considers it a disturbing development when the same Federal Government complains about a paltry N7 billion per annum, spent on over three thousand students (3,000), by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, a sister agency, on similar scholarship scheme.
The questions arising from this unjust disparity are: Is Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Scholarship Scheme truly for all Nigerians? Are Niger Deltans despite owning the region where the crude oil that funds the scholarship, truly aware of, or benefitted from the PTDF Scholarship Sheme? If yes, how many? And if no, why? Who is to blame? Can PTDF truly published the names of Niger Deltans that have benefited from the programme?
Should it be blamed on Niger Delta stakeholders? Or blame it on the inability of Niger Delta representatives at the federal level to inform their people about the existence of such opportunities? Or such failure be pushed to the people’s nonchalant attitudes towards such a scheme?
Most importantly, why is it that the Federal Government was able to manage the PTDF scholarship scheme that is larger in scale and demand more in finance for 23 years but currently laments financial fatigue over the Presidential Amnesty Programme that is smaller in scope and has spanned but for only 14years?
Even as GbramatuVoice allows the Federal Government and stakeholders from the Niger Delta region to ponder over these questions, the newspaper condemns in strongest terms the Federal Government’s imbalance allocation of these scholarship.
Regardless of what others may say, GbaramatuVoice holds the opinion that Niger Deltans have neither been favored nor benefitted from this scholarship scheme. Without doubt, this is a sin that Federal Government and representatives from the Niger Delta region must share in its guilt.
Also, the newspaper calls on Niger Delta representatives at both the senate and House of Representatives to sit up and defend the interests of Niger Deltans. It is not by any means a good narrative that they claime to represent the people, yet such golden opportunities elude youths from the region.
While it waits for such action to come alive, GbaramatuVoice will on a final note urge the Federal Government to recognize, and position Nigeria to be a society of equal citizens where opportunities are equal and personal contribution is recognized and rewarded on merit regardless of language, culture, religion or political affiliations.
If we are able to achieve this, “It will once again, announce the arrival of a brand new great nation where peace and love shall reign supreme as no nation enjoys durable peace without justice and stability, without fairness and equity.”
Finally, the newspaper calls on PTDF management to do release without delay names of Niger Deltans that have benefitted from the scholarship scheme.
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