When Microsoft decided to use me as an example for those who do not buy original software, I saw it as an opportunity to visit Ibom Plaza to fix the problem while meeting with the pros at Carl Care in Ikot Ekpene Road. I will tell you my experience at Carl Care. But then, a call came and I checked just-in-time to see the information officer for the Ministry of Science and Technology’s phone number scrolling across the screen of the fairly charged machine. “Hello, Info”. I stuttered. “Hello, Ubong” she replied. “Where have you been?” She queried. “What’s wrong with your phone?” she added without waiting for an answer for the first question.
I went on to explain what happened to my new itel phone and the disappointment I had earlier faced. The invitation was apt and I went to see for myself what was happening at the Ibom e-library. The previous day I had received some information that Halliburton was putting finishing touches to the commencement of the Oil and Gas training centre in Uyo. Surely the call will not be unconnected with the latest events. So I head down the routes that leads to the library.
The team was conducted round the facility by a man I was told is the Country Manager, Halliburton/ Landmark, Mr. Tomide Togun assisted by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Deaconess Affiong Okpo who represented the Hon Commissioner, Prof. Nse Udo Essien. Engr. Iwhiwhu Maurice, the leader of the delegation and manager, Human Capacity Development of the Board came with Mr. Yague Tubikumo and Ikiogha Ayimovie. They were at the facility for an inspection of the centre to ascertain the preparedness for the takeoff of the Oil and Gas training Centre, powered by Halliburton.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) was established by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan following the signing into law of the NC act on 22nd April, 2010. Engr. Maurice noted that “the demand for years of experience by Oil Companies as prerequisite for employment into the Organization has informed their choice of bringing in the youths into the training to bridge the unemployment gap in the industry.” “We are actively involved in the training of not only fresh graduates but the already employed, from both private and the public sector.” He added.
Engr. Maurice however promised to send the report to Halliburton as soon as it was ready, and expressed optimism of a positive outcome. Though the Country Manager Halliburton/ Landmark, Mr. Tomide Togun said the essence of the training was to create expertise for fresh graduates within and outside Akwa Ibom, it is of great essence that such centres should be established to aid young people within the country’s oil and gas producing zone get advantage of the training. Certificates will be issued to trainees as “the Akwa Ibom Oil and Gas Training Center will run the same curriculum with Halliburton global,” the country manager asserted.
Unemployment has been on the rise in recent times in Nigeria. The upsurge in crime and dirty politics is perceived to be a result of this single vice. It is therefore believed that with the training centre in the heart of Uyo, youths within the Niger Delta zone will seize the opportunity to acquire more skills that will help them gain meaningful employment into the oil and gas industry.
As the tech community continues to expand in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It is believed that the State government will revisit the Ibom Science Park idea so as to create an alternative incubation/skill acquisition centre for techies in the state. It must be recalled that during the inauguration of the oil and gas training centre, the member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency and Chairman House Committee on Local Content, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon suggested that the Ibom e-library be converted and renamed “Oil and Gas training Centre.”
With the existing relationship between tech communities in Akwa Ibom State and the current leadership in the Ministry of Science and Technology led by Prof. Nse Essien, it is believed that serious issues affecting techies in the state will soon be addressed by the government. Surely, we are confident that gradually, there seems to be a promising future for Nigerian youths in tech as well as oil and Gas sector in the country. Of course, Akwa Ibom State takes the lead in this recent development.