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Professor Tam David-West was an academic, former government minister and social critic/Photo: Screenshot/Sahara Reporters

Former Nigerian petroleum minister dies

Professor Tam David-West, a Nigerian academic, former government minister and critic, died at 83 on Monday.

David-West was petroleum minister under General Muhammadu Buhari in the 1980s and became an ardent supporter of his former boss when Buhari embraced democracy.

The retired professor of virology, who died after being admitted to the University College Hospital Ibadan, was an elder statesman who was courted by the media for his views on issues of national significance.

Between 1975 and 1979, David-West served in government as commissioner of education and a member of the Executive Council of Rivers State.

He was also a member of the 50-person Constitution Drafting Committee for the Federal Military Government of General Murtala Muhammed.

Under the military government of Muhammadu Buhari, he served as federal minister of petroleum and energy and as minister of mines, power, and steel under General Ibrahim Babangida.

 He was eventually removed as minister and arrested by the Babangida regime for allegedly contributing to the economic adversity of the country, but he was discharged and acquitted by a Special Appeal Court on 8 August 1991.

After he was acquitted, David-West decided to, largely, stay out of partisan politics and morphed into an outspoken and controversial critic of successive governments.

However, he was a vocal supporter of Buhari, his former boss, with whom he had developed a cordial relationship.

Kola Tella

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“The level of corruption that has become an integral part of multiparty democracy has created a general climate of stress and tension that may destabilise some areas in our region. It is unfortunate that the world is being forced into multiparty democracy with corruption and violence rather than other forms of democratic practices with none or minimal corruption. Unfortunately, the West appears to favour corruptible political tendencies in order to continue to dominate our security and economy”

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