Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, has offered automatic employment to 307 products of the Bayelsa State Scholarship Scheme; who have concluded their doctorate degree and master decree programmes in various disciplines in universities across the world.
Dickson’s Special Adviser, Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, yesterday, quoted the governor as having declared automatic employment for 107 PhD holders and 200 M.Sc degree holders during a meeting with beneficiaries of the scheme, in Yenagoa, the state capital, at the weekend.
The governor also announced automatic employment for all medical doctors, pharmacists and public health specialists and other beneficiaries of the State Scholarship Scheme, who studied professional courses considered critical to ongoing efforts to develop Bayelsa.
Dickson told the ecstatic audience that the 107 Ph.D holders would be deployed to the three state-owned universities –the Niger Delta University, University of Africa and the Bayelsa Medical University – as lecturers.
He stated also that other products of the scheme, who studied medicine and other professional courses at Masters degree level, would be engaged by the state government, in the various medical facilities and the civil service, respectively.
Beneficiaries of the scheme returned with Ph.Ds and M.Sc in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Agric engineering, International Relations, Pharmacy Practice, Public Health, Computing and Electronics System, Gas turbine engineering, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Law and Management, Statistics, among others.
The governor noted that the scheme, which was designed to send an army of Bayelsa scholars to universities across the globe, came with heavy sacrifice and cost to the government.
He stressed that while the cost of sending the scholars outside the country was huge, investment in education and human capacity development was the only way to wrest the state from clutches of underdevelopment, oppression and poverty.
“We should not forget to invest in education. The reason we are where we are is because of lack of education.
“The reason people take away our resources with impunity is lack of education.
“The mindless degradation of our own environment, the acts of impunity against our people and their environment, what I call environmental terrorism, is because of the backwardness in education.
“Those who woke up early and embraced education have taken over everywhere. This is our own way of equipping our people; to be able to tackle the existential challenges facing us today.
“The cost is quite huge but, no matter the cost, this is the right way to go. I don’t need to know any one of you to be given the opportunity and encouraged to study abroad.
“While it is good to build roads, hospitals, edifices, for the state, investments in human capacity is the most important. All others can collapse but, the investment in human capacity development will endure.”
“I had the intention to send out an army of scholars across the globe but the recession stalled that plan.
“Several programmes including the scheme suffered stagnation as a result of the recession, the worst in the history of our country.
“All those who have completed their Ph.Ds and about to complete, totalling 107; the over 200 who have M.Sc in some core professional courses such sas Civil Engineering, Statistics, Pharmacy, Public Health, and others, and all medical doctors are hereby given automatic employment,” Dickson said.
The governor assured beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme still in various universities within and outside the country that the state government would ensure release of funds, next week, to gradually address the issues of outstanding bills in the various host institutions.
Speaking on behalf of the Ph.D beneficiaries, Dr. Jude Cocodia, a lecturer at the Niger Delta University, commended Dickson his bold revolution in the state’s education sector.