Tam David-West, former minister of petroleum and energy, has died at the age of 83.
David-West was born in Buguma, Kalabari, 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.
He 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). He 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.
In a statement on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari mourned the late statesman whom he described as his ally and friend.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesman, quoted the president as saying David-West had “an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own”.
“He commiserates 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”,” the statement added.
“President Buhari prays 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.”
David-West wrote many books and was a social critic who spoke strongly on national issues.