26 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has announced the award of a full postgraduate scholarship to the 2016/17 best graduating student of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, announced the scholarship in a statement by NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu.
Baru, who delivered a paper at the university’s 40th Pre-Convocation Lecture in Zaria on Friday, said the recipient, Al-Amin Bugaje, would be sponsored to further his education up to PhD level in any institution anywhere in the world.
Bugaje, 23, bagged a First Class degree in Electrical Engineering with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.93 to emerge the university’s overall best graduating student.
“This gesture is in line with NNPC’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of championing educational excellence nationwide.
“We also want to encourage other students who are still in school to aspire towards achieving excellence in their academic pursuits,” Baru, himself a First-Class degree holder in Mechanical Engineering from the ABU, said.
Speaking at the 40th Pre-Convocation Lecture of the university, Baru said Nigeria must seek to diversify the portfolio of economic activities, reduce dependency on mono sector and take advantage of new opportunities advanced by technology.
The NNPC GMD, who was speaking in the lecture entitled: Oil & Gas Industry and the Nigerian State: Enduring Value, Promoting Economic Integration and Social Stability, regretted that the perennial complete dependence on oil as our main source of national income had remained a fundamental problem to the Nigerian economy.
He, however, expressed optimism that the foundation for long term economic growth through its tripod agenda of ensuring security, curbing corruption and growing the economy had been well articulated in the 2017 – 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the present administration.
The GMD listed the recipes to include investments in infrastructure which entails improving transportation network and access to power and other utilities which would reduce the cost of doing business and improving competitiveness; promoting agricultural growth because agriculture is still the sector that employs the largest share of the labour force in most developing and transiting economies, including Nigeria.
“Improving agricultural productivity and commercialization, and linking producers to markets are among some of the important measures required in this regard. Examples of Countries such as Chile and Malaysia confirmed the proposition that a healthy rural economy is necessary for industrialization because the linkages between the two are obvious,” the GMD said.
He also professed that economic diversification that embraced various sectors such as Agriculture, Mining, and Manufacturing could rescue the nation from the current economic doldrums.
He said it was this strategy that had the potential of creating jobs for the teeming unemployed population of the youths as well as boosting the foreign exchange earnings of Nigeria.