President Goodluck Jonathan has received with much sadness and a feeling of great national loss, news of the passing away of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman.
President Jonathan, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, commiserates with the former minister’s family, the Government and people of his home state, Kaduna, as well as his friends, associates and all those he mentored over the years in the domestic and global oil industry.
The statement reads: “The President shares their sorrow as they mourn the brilliant engineer, technocrat and administrator who spent almost all of his working life serving his country and the global community in various capacities including Minister, Special Adviser, Secretary-General and President of the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“As Alhaji Lukman’s soul returns to its Maker, President Jonathan joins all who knew him in giving thanks to God Almighty for bestowing him on the nation and for the great intelligence, integrity, competence and humility with which he distinguished himself in all his national and international assignments.
“Nigeria, the President firmly believes, will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to the late Petroleum Minister for his very significant contributions to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, and for serving with acclaimed distinction as the nation’s representative at the helm of OPEC affairs over many years.”
President Jonathan prays that the Almighty God would receive Alhaji Lukman’s gentle soul and grant him eternal rest in Paradise.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, has expressed grief over the death of former Petroleum Minister and one time Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr. Rilwanu Lukman.
The late Lukman, an engineer, served at various times, as a Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters to the President, Minister of Mines, Power and Steel, and also as Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 1 1995 to December 31 2000.
In a statement issued by his Director-General, Media and Publicity, Ahmed Maiyaki, Governor Yero described the passing of Lukman as a great loss not only to Kaduna State and Nigeria but to the entire world, who would miss his wealth of experience in the energy sector.
According to the Governor, the passing of Dr. Lukman at this critical point of nation’s history would create a huge vacuum difficult to fill, adding that his death came at a time the country needed his wealth of experience in its quest to modernise the petroleum sector towards attracting more foreign direct investments.
Governor Yero recalled the persistent effort by Dr. Lukman at reforming the petroleum sector especially during his second stint as Petroleum Minister during the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’adua.
He described Lukman as a nationalist who dedicated most part of his lifetime working for the advancement and economic development of Nigeria.
While condoling with the immediate family of the deceased, Governor Yero urged them to take solace in the fact that the late Lukman has left enduring legacies as an excellent technocrat, administrator per excellence and an elder statesman.
Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Rilwanu Lukman died in the early hours of Monday July 21, at his residence in Vienna, Austria after a brief illness.
The late Lukmam was born on August 26 1938 in Zaria, Kaduna State and left behind a wife and 3 children.
He attended the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology; Zaria from 1956-58 and later proceeded to the prestigious Imperial College London where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering in 1962.
He was appointed Minister of Mines, Power and Steel between 1984-85 and later Minister of Petroleum Resources from 1986-1989. As Petroleum Minister, he served as President of the Organisation for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference for several consecutive terms from 1985-1989.
From the petroleum ministry, he moved to foreign affairs ministry where he served as Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (1989-90) – all during the military regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) from 1993-94. Furthermore, Dr. Lukman was elected as Secretary General of OPEC from 1995–2000.
It was from his position as Secretary-General at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, Austria that, in 2000 he was formally invited by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and appointed as Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters to the Federal Government of Nigeria and Chairman of the NNPC, until in November 2003, when he voluntarily retired from public service.
He was later brought out from retirement in active public service by the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua administration to serve again as Minister of Petroleum Resources from 2008-2010.