Goodluck visits Nigerian students
By Cecily Asson Thursday, August 2 2012
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FROM TT WITH LOVE: Minister of Tertiary Education Fazal Karim (left) presents a gift to Nigeria's President Dr Goodluck Jonathan yesterday as the latt...
NIGERIA’S President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took time out from his three-day State visit yesterday to meet with 70 students from his country who are currently studying at the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC), Point Lisas in Couva.
Nigerian nationals Danson Ikngosa and Sandra Orye were among the batch of students on hand to welcome their President.
The men and women from the Niger Delta are undergoing training in oil and gas operations.
It was Jonathan’s first visit to the centre since the signing of a training agreement between QESS Services Limited of Nigeria and NESC in December, 2011 for training of Nigerian nationals in areas such as heavy equipment operations, crane operations, metal arc welding and industrial mechanical maintenance.
Orye who has completed only one week of training told Newsday, “Our president is such a nice man, we wish he could have stayed longer with us here.” Her colleague, Ikngosa said he too was happy “to get the opportunity and the privilege to be seeing our President (Jonathan) in Trinidad and Tobago.”
He said, “I want to assure you that whoever gets the oil and gas training in Trinidad and Tobago, we will do our best to get our experience and get our certificate and go back to our country and do something better for ourselves.”
But the trainees who were dressed in their orange coveralls with the flags of Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria stuck in their left sleeve pockets had been seated in the auditorium in time for the 8.30 am arrival of President Jonathan.
He did not arrive until 10.35 am. He was attending Emancipation Day celebrations in Port-of-Spain. Jonathan and his wife Dame Patience Faka Jonathan were in Trinidad as guests of the Trinidad and Tobago government for yesterday’s Emancipation day celebrations in Port-of-Spain.
Accompanied by a large delegation including past and present Nigerian parliamentarians, Jonathan was greeted in his native language by the Nigerian students.
The Nigerian, students lustily sang their national anthem to the accompaniment of Kareem Brown on the steelpan forcing the locals into embarrassment and as hardly ever happens at functions, also sang the T&T anthem which was also played on the pan by Brown.
In his greeting, Jonathan said, “It is a great moment, a moment of joy when I came in and saw young Nigerians, men and women here, greeting me in my local language, the language we speak in Niger Delta.”
Jonathan is confident that upon their graduation, the trained Nigerians, will contribute “to the development of the sector in oil and gas for which Nigeria is known for.” Jonathan said he was happy to be part of the emancipation celebrations.
“We are here to celebrate success certainly at a time and a day when this great country is remembering the circumstances that brought some of the blacks to this country. Today we marking that emancipation and also celebrate the training of Nigerians. So it is a good occasion for us to begin to see where we are coming from and where we want to go.
“The issue of movement whether we are colonised by colonial masters or whether we are under apartheid regime or whether we are brought to some part of the country as slaves, is written in history,” Jonathan said.
Also speaking yesterday was Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim who told guests, “About a week ago I was privileged to present certificates to 57 Nigerian trainees who graduated from NESC in automotive maintenance.
“I am determined to expand our relationship in technical and vocational educational training and I will therefore like to propose what I believe is the next logical step in this regard, the creation of “Trinigeria” — the bond of Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria — where the NESC can now export the talent and skills of the energy sector to help your country to help our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.”