Rivers people have been thrown into mourning, following the death of Professor Tam David West, a social critic and scholar
The Professor of Virology and one time Minister of Petroleum died on Monday at his Ibadan residence.
He was aged 83.
The cause of death is not yet known, but his passage has come as a great shock to most Nigerians, including his kinsmen in Rivers State.
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation said when reached by the Telegraph, “May God bless his irrepressible soul, for he was a good man.”
Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas described the situation in a chat with the Telegraph as “very sad, a very painful death”
“David West was an illustrious son of Kalabari, a great illustrious son of Rivers State and an exceptional sage of Nigeria” whom Alabo Graham Douglas said “served his country meritoriously.”
“In the academia”, Graham Douglas noted, “he had taught many persons who have become dons.”
Chief Rufus Ada George, one-time Governor of Rivers State expressed shock.
“I have received with great shock, news of the death, early Monday morning, of Professor Tam David-West”, the former Governor remarked.
“Professor David West, in his life time, an illustrious University of Ibadan community member, was a shining beacon and a scholar of international standing who brought honour to Nigeria, Rivers State, the Ijaw nation and the Kalabaris.
“He was an excellent analyst, a non ill-movtivated critic, patriot and statesman who dutifully served his country to the best of his ability.
“Nigeria has lost a man of unassailable integrity, and an author of great repute whose place would be difficult to fill.
“We mourn with members of his family and all his well wishers across the globe”, he stated.
In his reaction, Architect Tonye Cole, candidate of the All Progressives Congress said he was saddened by the news of the demise of Professor Tam David West.
“For the Rivers man, Tam David-West embodies the best of everything that we are known for, sound education, intellectual brilliance, solid patriotism, erudite statesman and leading light” Cole remarked.
Cole prayed for the repose of his soul, saying, “He did us proud and served Nigeria with all his heart. As he exits this world, he does so with a grace and a set of achievements that few men have attained. He made his mark and left us with a high standard we as Nigerians must live up to and surpass.
Also speaking, Chief Anabs Sara Igbe said of the passage of Professor David West, “His death is a great shock to Nigeria, Rivers State and the Kalabari nation.
“We have lost one of the best critics in this country who spoke his mind without minding whose ox is gored”, Sara Igbe stressed, “May his soul rest in peace”
Engineer Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack, former Special Adviser to the President on Power Matters told the Telegraph, “Professor Tam David-West lived a life which was consistently true to his conscience.
“He was a highly respected intellectual: a bold, courageous voice on all national issues of interest to him and a very patriotic Nigerian in the truest sense of that word.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, a personal friend of the Professor of Virology was among the first to react to his death, saying Nigeria had lost a man with an indomitable spirit.
Buhari said in a statement, “Professor Tamunoemi Sokari David-West, 83, was a consultant virologist of national and international standing.
He served as Commissioner of Education in the old Rivers State, Minister of Petroleum and Energy under the Muhammadu Buhari military regime, and Minister of Mines, Power and Steel under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida regime.”
“He had an indomitable spirit, stood resolutely by whatever he believed in, and was in a class of his own”, the President observed.
The Rivers State Government reacted Monday after the news of the passage of Professor David-West broke.
Governor Wike in a three-paragraph statement commiserated with the family of the departed icon.
He remarked, “”Prof. David-West was an accomplished academician who served the country well in various capacities. “
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