*Commits to strengthen oil industry-universities linkage 16 December 2014, Sweetcrude, Owerri – The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Engr. Ernest Nwapa has been conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Management Technology, D.MT, by the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO.
Nwapa was awarded the degree at FUTO’s 2014 convocation ceremony held on Friday in recognition of his outstanding contributions and dedication to the development of Nigerian Content which supports the developmental aspirations of Nigeria.
Speaking after receiving the award from the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka, the Executive Secretary explained that the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act has generated immense benefits for the Nigerian economy and the educational system by encouraging in-country incubation of technology and establishment of facilities where lecturers of oil and gas related disciplines can demonstrate what they teach and students can practice their newly acquired knowledge.
Nwapa stressed that theoretical knowledge needed to be translated into activity and tied to real-life projects, adding that the absence of such linkages created problems for the nation’s development in the past.
According to him, “Technology is key for a country like Nigeria with our population. With our hunger for development and growth, we must continue to underpin our developmental effort with education in technology. Today, there are a lot of shop floors either in place or being built because of the Nigerian Content policy.
“A lot of Nigerians are investing in shop floors, creating places where Nigerians can work and where lecturers can see the reality of the industry they teach. The students can also have the hope and inspiration of working productively in these places after their studies. This is what the policy of Mr. President has accomplished.
The Executive Secretary commended former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Funso Kupolokun for setting up the Nigerian Content Division in the corporation in 2005, which culminated in the passage of the Nigerian Content Act and establishment of NCDMB.
He however, credited the success achieved in the implementation of the Act to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, adding that “from the day Mr. President appointed Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Act began to take life. Mr. President signed the Local Content law for the oil and gas industry knowing that there would be a revolution in other sectors. This is creating opportunities for the universities to tap into the industry.
The oil and gas sector requires a highly skilled workforce. We look up to the universities to provide this quality of people.”
The award recipient who restated his belief in the Nigerian educational system and the fact that Nigerian graduates can compete satisfactorily with their peers around the world also acknowledged the need for improvement in the system.
He further remarked that he would rally his friends to support FUTO in addressing an infrastructural gap which will stimulate linkage between the university and the oil and gas industry.
He assured that the donation which will be christened Project FUTO Plus would be sustainable because the sponsors will play a role in the governance of the institute.
The event coincided with Engr. Nwapa’s 54th birthday and drew a large attendance which included chief executive officers of international and indigenous operating companies, their counterparts from service companies, representatives of government agencies, colleagues and members of his family.