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FUPRE OR PTI: A CALL FOR INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP

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Since the Federal University of Petroleum Resource (FUPRE) was founded in 2007 at Effurun , Delta State to provide education, training, research, consultancy and extension services to cater to the petroleum and allied sectors, no indigenous Delta son or daughter has held the position of the Vice- chancellor of the institution. It has become a great apprehension to Delta sons and daughter who felt the state has been totally marginalized by the federal government that has the autonomy to appoint either Vice chancellor or Rector of the two higher institutions of petroleum in Delta State. It shows vividly that no Delta son or daughter is proficient enough to head such a susceptible position of educational petroleum leadership in Nigeria. The Federal University of Petroleum Resource was officially approved by the then Federal Executive Council Meeting of 14 March, 2007 of President Olusegun Obasanjo and admitted its first set of undergraduates in 2008.

The University was established under the Federal Government of Nigeria initiative to build a specialized

militants into kidnappings then which drawn the attention of the government to Amnesty programme.It is rare to see a non Hausa man or woman taken a sensitive position in the northern universities, Colleges of Education and University in the Niger Delta to produce manpower and expertise for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria and worldwide. The University operates a collegiate system. The National Universities Commission (NUC) approved sharing of facilities between the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun until it moves to its permanent site on development of its main campus at Ugbomro, Uvwie Local Government Area. The Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun, Delta State serves as the temporary campus of the University Administrative Structure. The Administrative structure of the University consists of Chancellor, Principal Officers of the University members of the Governing Council faculties. The institution has a collegiate system which to be developed in three phases in a period of six years. The college of science is the foundation college. The college of Technology in the second phase of development. The college of Management sciences has been earmarked for the third phase of development. The college of science and college of Technology have started running courses for its academic session while the college of Management sciences have started its departments and courses.

The main focus is Petroleum engineering and Technology related courses such as; Chemistry Environmental science, Industrial Chemistry, Geophysics, Geology Marine, Engineering, Mathematical science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Electrical/electronics, Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering.TheSchool moved to permanent site in 2010 and the first Vice- Chancellor of the school was non Deltan, Prof. Babatunde Alabi

Even though Professor Alhassan Lawal Bichi who is presently the Acting Vice Chancellor and the pioneer of FUPRE that does not mean, no Delta son or daughter is not qualified for such competitive position of the University. The problem of marginalization in the oil as and gas sector among Niger Delta indigenes are pronounced in this part of this world that indicates the Federal Government does not have political will or academic regard on Deltans.40 percent of Deltans are highly educated people in all field

of study, yet the Federal Government cannot appoint any indigenous person to hold such a competitive position rather than outsiders. In some of the oil companies in Niger- Delta region prefer to employ foreigners and non indigenes into key positions of this sector. This was the problem that prompted the Niger- Delta M Polytechnics. The fact remains that the Federal Government can train and retrain Deltan sons and daughters to superglue with the position of the petroleum sector.

Again, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Effurun, Delta state was established in 1973 by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a prerequisite for the membership of the Organization Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to train indigenous middle level manpower to meet the labor force demand of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and the West African Sub region. It awards National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates. PTI is an old Petroleum institution that has Polytechnic background while Federal University Petroleum Resource award degrees. Every student admitted into the FUPRE must undergo UTME and Post-UME test while PTI train young people on practical oil and gas development. Though the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) has been held by indigenous Deltans since its formation but FUPRE is still in the hands of the Federal cabals that President Goodluck Jonathan must take this into consideration to appoint indigenous Vice Chancellor than non Deltan.

PTI has trained many reputable Nigerians at the oil and gas sector at least constituting 30 percent to the economy of the country, yet Delta state is still volatile in terms of infrastructural developments. The Issue of Resource Control must come to play since Delta state is one of the deserted regions by the Federal Governments in spite of several agitations to make the state a rich one without qualms. The present Acting Rector of PTI is Engr. I.A Alkoroje. Deltans have qualified professors and Engineers in the oil and gas sector that can be positioned in these two Petroleum higher institutions of learning. Politics of leadership has viciously crept into the system making Niger Delta people to be irrelevant in the energy sector. Both FUPRE and PTI are sited in Delta State are welcome development but the Federal Government has only appointed indigenous rector to the latter while the former still having non indigene as Vice- Chancellor.

Finally, the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan must take this as a challenge to fight tooth and nail to make sure the Federal Government appoints indigenous Vice Chancellor in the institution. Even though the institution is owned by the Federal Government, that does not mean, FUPRE or PTI is inferior in academic development in Nigeria. Delta state comprises Isoko, Urhobo, Ijaw. Itsekeri. Anioma and Ukwuani . Delta state has intelligent professors and engineers like Professor Stephen Akpavie, Engr Otunba Isaac Emiyede, Engr Johnny Onozefe, Engr Solomon Okpithe, Engr Jurry Odidi that are competent to take any of the key positions in the institution if politics is not played from Aso Rock. Some of Delta state higher institutions are being held by indigenes like DELSU, Ozoro Polytechnic, College of Education, Agbor and just mention but a few. It is time for all Deltans to rise to the occasion to truncate injustice in the institution.

BY GODDAY ODIDI. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST.08058124798, 20 ORO STREET AJEGUNLE APAPA LAGOS.

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Articles by Godday Odidi