Professor David-West, former minister of Petroleum Resources and a consultant Virologist of national and international standing and lecturer at the University of Ibadan for decades, is dead.
He died on Monday at age 83.
David-West was Petroleum minister when Buhari was a military head of state between 1984 and 1985, at a time oil prices slumped to about $10 a barrel.
David-West and his boss came up with a policy of ‘counter-trade’, to sell Nigeria’s oil.
David-West was born in Buguma, Kalabari, in what is now Rivers State.
He received his higher education at the University of Ibadan (1956–1958) and earned a BSc degree at Michigan State University (1958–1960), an MSc degree at Yale University (1960–1962), and a PhD degree at McGill University.
The Kalabari-born Professor served in Nigerian government as commissioner of education and a member of the Executive Council of Rivers State (1975–1979), as a member of the fifty-person Constitution Drafting Committee for the Federal Military Government of General Murtala Muhammed (1979), as federal minister of petroleum and energy under General Muhammadu Buhari (1984–1985), and as minister of mines, power, and steel under General Ibrahim Babangida (1986).
David-West was eventually removed as minister and arrested by the Babangida regime for allegedly contributing to the economic adversity of the country. He was discharged and acquitted of these charges by Nigeria’s Special Appeal Court on 8 August 1991.
News of David-West’s transition was conveyed in a tribute by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed deep sorrow at the death of his ally and friend, a man he usually called “the indomitable Tam David-West.”
“He had an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own,” said President Buhari of the academic, author of many books, and social critic.
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He commiserated with the David-West family, the people of Buguma, Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, the academia, and all those who loved “the forthright Tam David-West.”
President Buhari prayed that God will rest the soul of the committed nationalist, urging all those who believe in the ideals he espoused to approximate same, for the betterment of Nigeria, and humanity in general.