The Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), recently organised an Essay Writing Competition for undergraduates from the Niger Delta Region of the country. The essay competition involves students of polytechnics and universities across the nine states of the Niger Delta. The event which was the first of its kind in the competition was on Essay Writing of about 1500 words. The idea was to encourage students in tertiary institutions in the Niger Delta to devote more time to their studies and research and to promote excellence among the Niger Delta students.
The 2017 edition Topic.was “Building Local Capacities For Indigenous Participation In The Oil And Gas Industry: Imperative For Industrialisation of Nigeria.” The competition saw five undergraduates emerged as winners. The ceremony which was held at the Ebis Hotels in Yenagoa the Bayelsa state capital witnessed students from various secondary and tertiary institutions across the state participating. Addressing the crowd and the beneficiaries, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, who was also the chief host/ special guest of honour, Engr. Simbi Wabote who was represented by the Director of Research, Statistics and Planning in the Board, Mr. Patrick Obah, enumerated the activities of the Board since inception and its core mandate in bringing to bear local content in the oil and gas industry. He said the essay competition was a new birth aimed at contributing to the development of the industry. Wabote expressed the belief that nobody can stop the world from moving but one need to build capacity to manage it or else one would be left behind in the ever-changing world. He said the essence of NCDMB is to acquire market and wealth through technology.
According to him, “Until we change our mind we will continue to play hide and seek games.”Engr Wabote who vigorously and creatively promoted the implementation of the Nigerian Content Development Board initiative through strategic and far-reaching programmes and projects sees the NCDMB Annual Oil And Gas Undergraduate Nigerian Content Essay Completion in the Niger Delta as a strategic initiative. Also speaking, the Bayelsa state commissioner for Education, Hon. Jonathan Oboibite, said the best legacy any government can leave behind is building a solid foundation through education for the incoming generation which he said the Bayelsa state government was doing by spending billions of naira on education alone so that the future generation that will take over will have something to leverage on. The commissioner believes that the idea of the essay completion will also tell the story of NCDMB.
“We need our people to be part of the oil and gas industry which has been occupied by foreigners for long. Today majority of the operators are among us and that also has stopped capital flight to some extent.”Oboibite believes that the people of the Niger Delta need to take over the entire oil and gas industry and run it so that they can grow with it.
He added: “If we can grow our economy ourselves, Nigeria will have nothing to fear.” In his remark, the guest of honour, Prof. B.C Nduku of INRES, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said capacity and knowledge is the key that will drive the oil and gas industry.” Company pay for skill not certificate, so go and get capacity.” He said Nigeria should be moving towards knowledge driven economy, saying the country need a radical paradigm shift from old way of doing things to a knowledge base economy. In his welcome address, the project consultant who is also the Managing Director , Mahogany 21st Century Concepts Limited, Mr. Eyinmi Omorozi, said in the capitally intensive and highly skilled oil and gas industry with its numerous opportunities, local contractors and Nigerian Companies over the past decades never had the opportunity to develop their capabilities to play significant roles in terms of local content participation until 2010 when the Nigerian Content Development and Board was established by the Nigerian government following the signing into law of the Nigerian Content Development Act to increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry as well as building local capacities and competencies to boost the industry’s contributors to the growth of Nigeria economy and its industrialisation process. He said no doubt, everybody has see the monumental gains which the NCDMB Act has brought on the nation’s economy and its industrialisation process.
“Its on the basis of the foregoing that the NCDMB Annual Oil and Gas Undergraduate Nigerian Content Essay Competition was conceptualised and developed. While the project is intended to promote academic excellence amongst university and polytechnic students, it is primarily aimed at creating awareness for Nigerians especially the youths who are the real drivers of the Nigerian content initiative to built local capacities and competencies for indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry and develop the talent to create value from that opportunity.”
Mr. Omorozi said the whole idea is institutionalized in line with the mandate of the NCDMB to partner other organisation to organise conferences, workshops, seminars, training and other public education to further the attainment of the goal of developing Nigerian content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. “Feeling so glad about the strategic partnership established between the NCDMB and Mahogany 21st Century Concepts Limited in this milestone project.” The highlight of the occasion was the award for the five finalists. The fourth runner up, Mayeroghene Obodaya who hails from Eku town in Isoko North local government Area of Delta state is a student of Delta state university Abraka studying Biology Education.
He received #50,000, the third runner up position went to Elizabeth Deshi Ezekiel from Etsako East local government area of Edo state , a student of Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma studying Medicine and Surgery. She got #50,000 and a laptop. The second runner up position went to Victory Williams from Akai in Uro in Epim-Ekpo local government area of Akwa Ibom state, a student of Federal University Otuoke studying Sociology. He got#250,000 and a laptop and the first runner up went to Ekele Eugene Augustine a native of Agbor in Ika North East of Delta State, went home with three hundred and fifty thousand naira, ( #350,000) with a laptop and a plaque, while Kingsley Osamede from Benin studying Medicine and Surgery at the University of Benin got half a million Naira, a laptop and a plaque. It should be noted that the entire five undergraduate students were all 200 level at their various universities.