President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the death of former Saudi Arabia’s longest serving oil minister, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, who died at a London hospital, aged 90.
The president, in a condolence message issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday, said: “Yamani was one of the greatest and most skillful negotiators I ever met when I was Minister for Petroleum Resources during the Murtala/Obasanjo regime.
“The late Yamani was a towering figure in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, because of his remarkable leadership skills and fierce commitment to protecting the interests of oil producing countries.”
The Nigerian leader recalled that “the 1973 oil embargo drew world attention to the tremendous influence of Yamani in the affairs of the oil cartel.”
“Whether you love him or loathe him, there is no denying the fact that Zaki Yamani was a powerful force in OPEC affairs who commanded respect and admiration of friends and foes alike,” he said of the deceased.
The president added that “as one of the younger oil ministers representing their countries at OPEC, I was awed and inspired by Yamani’s remarkable leadership skills and diplomatic finesse.”
He described Yamani as a lucky man who survived terrorist captivity after being taken hostage by the notorious terrorist, ‘Carlos the Jackal,’ in 1973.
President Buhari extended his condolences to King Salman, the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques and the government of Saudi Arabia over what he called “this immense loss of a world statesman and consummate oil minister.”