The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) on Saturday said it followed the Federal Character principle in shortlisting candidates for the electronic aptitude test for its scholarship scheme.
The Executive Secretary of the Fund, Dr Bello Gusau, disclosed this to newsmen while supervising the examination at the Chams City Centre in Abuja.
Gusau said that over 4,949 candidates sitting for the examination were shortlisted nationwide, with 1,700 of them from North Central.
“The idea of the federal character is one of the reasons why the test is taking place in the six geopolitical zones.
“The Federal Character Commission (FCC) has representatives in all the centres in this ongoing aptitude test across the country,’’ he said.
He explained that the Fund considered areas of deficit and skill gaps in the oil and gas sector in selecting candidates.
According to him, the essence of the scheme is to train the required professionals to fill the spaces that would drive growth and development of the oil industry.
The executive secretary added that special preference was given to physically challenged candidates.
“As the sector is growing, new demands for skills are also growing, so we will keep tracking that and tailor our capacity building programmes to meet those demands.’’
He expressed the hope that the outcome would help in ensuring that all qualified candidates were accommodated in the scheme.
Mr Mamman Alakayi, Commissioner representing the FCC, said the commission was present at the centres to ensure federal character compliance.
He remarked that federal character was used in the process of shortlisting candidates as required by the law.
“It is a rule in federal character that you must advertise and it was done for interested candidates to apply.
“The commission after six weeks ensured that all applications were collated screened and those shortlisted are invited for the test,’’ he said.
Alakayi said that the test usually held in three centres – Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, but “this year it is taking place in all the six zones’’.
In a chat, a candidate, Mr Mongol Christmas from Benue commended PTDF for its fairness in shortlisting candidates for the test.
“I just bought the form online and wrote the test as instructed and I was later informed through an email that I have been shortlisted for the test.
“I did not know anybody, my sister who had benefited previously just told me to get the form and I did all that was required.
“That was exactly how I got shortlisted, I hope to pass the test and be a beneficiary,’’ Christmas said.
NAN reports that 891 candidates were shortlisted for the PTDF 2016/2017 Local and Oversea Scholarship Schemes from the 1,501 who applied for the awards.
From 2001 to 2016, PTDF funded the training of 2,839 candidates for Masters degrees and 839 PhD in various fields related to the oil and gas industry under its Oversea Scholarship Scheme.
Also, 862 candidates benefited for the local scholarship award for undergraduate, MSc and PhD scholars within the same period.