The 6th of June, 2016 is a remarkable day in the history of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund’s Institutional Capacity Development Initiative as the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Ekowe in Bayelsa State developed by PTDF is officially handed over to the beneficiary of the project – The Federal Ministry of Education. The event was held at the conference room of the Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
Construction of the polytechnic started in 2007 in phases and could not be completed as scheduled due to the challenges of the terrain and insecurity.
In his remark, the Acting Executive Secretary of PTDF, Mr Ahmed Galadima Aminu gave a background to the transformation of what used to be a marshy wasteland, part of which housed the Government Science and Technical College, Ekowe, to a massive modern day Polytechnic of Oil and Gas “the idea of establishing the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas Ekowe, Bayelsa State was conceptualized during the Niger Delta Stakeholders meeting in 2006. PTDF was mandated to intervene in the establishment of educational institutions at Bonny Rivers State, Ekowe in Bayelsa State, Okerenkoko and Oporoza in Delta State”.
He stated that “the handover of the Polytechnic marks the beginning of a new era in education in the Niger Delta Region and the Federal Government’s commitment to education and achieving local content participation in the Oil and Gas Industry”.
The Honorable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu while handing over the project to the Hon. Minister of Education, commended the effort of PTDF in executing a project of such magnitude stating that some agencies award contracts and fail to complete them. “I am very impressed by the efforts put by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund and the ability to steward this sort of project to its completion”. The significance of the project he said lies in the fact that it was executed by a government institution, PTDF’ as part of efforts to significantly cover existing gaps in local manpower participation and technology transfer in the oil and gas industry.
He urged PTDF to also support the institution to ensure the functionality of the facilities “what makes an institution is not the fine buildings but the quality of the faculties to be achieved. I urge PTDF to support the system to ensure the facilities are put together and are up and running”. The Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum Resources also directed the management of the Polytechnic to ensure that professionals are engaged to effectively utilize the facilities and produce the required graduates.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu promised to make a case for the development of access roads to the institution by the Federal government in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government to ease transportation to the Polytechnic. Currently access to the Polytechnic is only by air or through the waterway. He further commended the effort and commitment of past administrations towards the establishment of the institution. “Government is a continuum, so I appreciate the government that started the project and more especially the government that delivered this project”
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mrs Folashade Esan, expressed the Ministry’s appreciation for the project that is being handed over to the Ministry “this is the first Polytechnic of Oil and Gas in Nigeria, we want to ensure that Nigerians take over the oil and gas industry”. She added that “access road is a major problem of the institution and we will work with the institution to ensure it has a proper road so it can attract the desired students”. She pledged that the issue of accreditation and security will also be addressed and assured that facilities put in place by PTDF will be judiciously utilized by the students and staff of the Institution.
Dr Masaudu Kazaure, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education, (NBTE) also commended PTDF for the development of the project and encouraged the Fund to conclude the installation of the equipment so as to accelerate the accreditation of programmes of the Polytechnic.