Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof Tam David-West has defended President Muhammadu Buhari on the various allegations of corruption levelled against his administration.
He also declared that he cannot vouch for retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s integrity and that the former military president is not in the same league with President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of clean leadership.
In an interview with Daily Trust, David-West, a professor of micro-biology who still resides in his house at the University of Ibadan, said he can take an oath on Buhari as a clean man but cannot do the same for Babangida.
Asked to compare the leadership of Babangida and Buhari both of whom he served as oil minister, David-West blurted out: ”Babangida can never be compared as a leader with Buhari. I take responsibility for that statement.
”Buhari and Babangida are two different personalities. Buhari is a clean man. I can take any oath that Buhari is very clean and I won’t die. I cannot do that on Babangida. I cannot vouch for him not because he put me in jail but because that is the fact. Buhari has some good qualities, some positive characteristics that Babangida doesn’t have.
”In terms of governance, Babangida cannot be compared with Buhari in any way. For instance, if you give Buhari a memo at 9am, by 12pm he would call you that he has finished reading it. But if you give the same memo to Babangida, a week and he won’t read it. I have examples. Whatever I say, I take responsibility for and can prove it.
”Another thing is that if Buhari tells you something, believe it is true. But if Babangida tells you something, don’t be too sure. I want to quote former President, Obasanjo, when he said, “When Babangida tells you good morning, check your watch very well if truly it is morning.”
”Let me give you an example. Chris Anyanwu was a great lady journalist. Many people believed that I had a love relationship with her, but I didn’t have any such relationship with her. She was covering the oil industry then. I just liked her as a professional and fantastic energy reporter. Never romance.
”Why do I say this? When Rilwan Lukman took over from me as a Minister, Chris Anyanwu phoned me that they wanted to remove her from the Energy desk because they thought it was the desk that made her close to me. I went to Babangida and told him that this lady was the best energy reporter in Nigeria and I heard they wanted to change her.
”Babangida said I should tell her that nobody can change her. So I told Chris, ‘I was just leaving the President now and he has assured me that nobody can change you from the Energy desk because you are good on that desk for Nigeria.’
”Chris Anyanwu replied, ‘Sir, why did you bother yourself on this issue?’ She said anywhere they send her, she would go with her talent. Could you believe that the following day Chris Anyanwu was changed? But if it was Buhari that had told me that, she would never have been removed from that desk. I repeat, whatever I say here, I will take full responsibility for and can prove it.
”Another area you cannot compare them is that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other government agencies were more disciplined under Buhari than Babangida. So they are not comparable.”
On why he is still leaving in a university house, David-West said: ”I don’t have a house. I am still building my house in Port Harcourt. If you go to Port Harcourt you will see my house there. The contractor cheated me. For nine years, the building has not been completed. Do you know that Buhari has no house in Abuja? He has a house in his village in Daura and this is the man who was once a President and Minister and had held many offices in the past. If you go to my house in Port Harcourt, you will see what I wrote on it. The inscription is Tamuna Sakiware”, which literally means, ‘The house built when God wanted it’.
On why he didn’t build one while in government, David-West replied: ”Oil companies actually wanted to build a house for me but I refused. I don’t want to mention their names in order not to embarrass them. A king once asked them to ask me what I wanted them to do for me but I told them nothing.”
”I had told him (Buhari) before now that some people in his cabinet are not his type. They don’t have the same principles he has. And I said I don’t know if they are working for him or for themselves. He cannot have total control over some of them. I think the first mistake our people are making is rubbing Buhari with the same mud as those working with him. If somebody who is working with him has a questionable character, Buhari shouldn’t be blamed or judged with that,” he stated.