President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of Professor Tamunoemi Sokari David-West, as a sad one for the country.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari, said the consultant virologist of national and international standing, was Buhari's friend. The statement said the man Preaident Buhari usually calls “the indomitable Tam David-West,” truly had an indomitable spirit.
Buhari said Prof. Tam David-West who was former Commissioner of Education in the old Rivers State; Minister of Petroleum and Energy under the Buhari's military regime; Minister of Mines, Power and Steel under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, “had an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own as an academic, author of many books, and social critic.”
The President 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.”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in a statement by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the death of Prof. David-West was a huge loss to Rivers people.
“Prof. David-West was an accomplished academic, who served the country well in various capacities,” said Wike who prayed that God should grant his soul eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Similarly, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan lauded David-West contributions to the development of Nigeria as a teacher and political office holder.
“Professor Tam David-West was a vocal social critic who lived what he preached and never compromised his principles all through his lifetime.”
Lawan said Prof David-West would be missed for his deep and frank analysis of social challenges.
Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr. Peter Obi said Prof. Tam David West death was painful. Obi who quoted the poet, John Donne said: “ any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind…” He described David West as a being among the set of Nigerian who wanted the good of the country, but were caught in the midst of contradictions they themselves could not even unravel
Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, described the death as a big loss to the academic family.He noted that the vacuum left by the deceased would be difficult to fill.
“Late Prof David-West was a mentor of many generations of virologists all over the world. Even in retirement, he was still very useful to the academic family.”
The VC recalled Prof. David-West's contributions to national development through his services, especially as Minister of Petroleum.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) described him as the custodian and repository of university culture.
“Tam David West was a phenomenal success academically. He was a great struggler who believed in one Nigeria. He had a clear vision of what the university should be. He was a great fellow of our union especially at the branch, was always ready to assist whenever was consulted.
“He was actually a custodian of the university tradition and culture. Repository and custodian of the university culture.
“The union will definitely miss him as he was among the last of the complete scholars,” said Chairman ASUU branch, University of Ibadan, Prof. Deji Omole.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) said the country had lost a progressive voice.
A statement by National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, described david West as an erudite scholar who always hold leaders to account on issues of good governance.
“We recall his strong advocacy for oil sector reforms, particularly the passage of a mutually-beneficial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), fixing moribund refineries and ending the fuel subsidy racket that was a drainpipe on the country's resources before the advent of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.