The Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, on Saturday said federal character principle was used in the shortlisting of candidates for the electronic Aptitude test for the overseas and local Msc scholarship schemes.
The Executive Secretary, Bello Aliyu Gusua, disclosed this to newsmen while supervising the examination at the Chams City Center in Abuja.
He said that no fewer than 4,949 candidates were shortlisted from which about one thousand, seven hundred qualified from the North Central.
“The idea of the federal character is one of the reasons why the test is being taking in different geo-political zones in the country.
“Actually, the Federal Character commission is present at every center in this ongoing aptitude test across the country.
“Normally in the process of selection, there are certain preferences for gender in oil producing communities,” he said.
Mr Gusua added that the Fund also considered where there are deficit and skill gaps in the oil and gas sector in selecting candidates
He noted that part of the essence of the scheme was to ensure candidates were trained to drive growth and development of the sector.
He added that special preference was given to physically challenged candidates and that efforts were being made fill the gap where there are deficit.
“As the sector is growing, new demands of skills are also growing, so we will keep tracking that and tailor our capacity building programmes to meet those demands,” he said.
He expressed hope that suitable candidates would emerge to fill in the gaps to help the scheme achieve its desirable height.
Mamman Alakayi, Commissioner Representing Federal Character Commission said the commission was present at the centre to ensure Federal Character compliance.
“It is a rule in federal character that you must advertise and it was done; the advert will last for six week for all candidates to apply.
“After six weeks, the commission will ensure that all applications collated will be properly screened and those shortlisted will be invited for the test,” he said.
Mr Alakayi said that test would now hold in all the zones in the country contrary to an earlier arrangement when it was conducted in three centers of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
He added that the test would go on simultaneously in the six geopolitical zones.
Chat Laah a candidate from Kaduna State told the News Agency of Nigeria that the process of shortlisting was fair.
“I just bought the form online and I wrote the essay as instructed; I was later informed through an email that I have been shortlisted for the test,” he said.
Also, Mongol Christmas from Benue State said he registered online and did all that was required and later got a mail inviting him for the test.
“I do not know anybody; my sister who was once a beneficiary told me to get the form and do all that was required.
“I did exactly as she instructed and I now, I am one of the shortlisted candidates. I hope to pass the test and be a beneficiary,” he said.