The Niger Delta Development Commission has commenced oral interviews for over 1,050 candidates for its $40,000 Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship Programme.
The NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, who disclosed this at the venue of the interview in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the process, spanning over 11 days, was for the candidates that were successful during a computer-based test written by 5,000 applicants earlier this month.
Ogbuku, who was accompanied by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Alabo Iyaye, the Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, and the Executive Director, Corporate Services, Ifedayo Abegunde, said the guiding principles for the interview were equity, fairness and transparency.
He said, “Everything is going to be done based on merit and that is what we want. The reason we came to monitor the process is to show our support for 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 among 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.”
The NDDC boss explained the number of scholarship beneficiaries had yet to increase due to lack of funding.
He said, “We increased the allowance for the studies from $30,000 to $40,000 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.”