Posted: Saturday 7th June 2014 at 18:26 pm

Nigerians Mourn Dora Akunyili

The country has been thrown into mourning following the death of a Patriotic Nigerian, Dora Akunyili, former DG of Nafdac/ex-minister of Information who committed her service to her country Nigeria.

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Dora Akunyili

Many Nigerians including the present NAFDAC DG have paid tributes to the late Dora Akunyili who died of Cancer, today, June 6 at about 10am in India.

See some of the tributes below

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC), Dr Paul Orhii who said the late Dora loved Nigeria deeply while dedicating her entire life up till the very last minute to the service of the nation said: “Nigeria has lost a great patriot and woman of great virtue.”

Speaking on the legacy Dora left behind Orhii said: “Even as we mourn her untimely demise, we celebrate her life and pray that Almighty God will grant her soul eternal rest in peace and also grant the family and her loved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal who expressed shock over Dora Akunyili’s death in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, on Saturday, described Akunyili as “a patriot whose tenacity and commitment to duty saved millions of Nigerians from untimely deaths due to effect of fake and substandard drugs.’’

While saying her tenure as the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would be remembered as a glorious moment for Nigeria.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Emeka Ihedioha described the late Akunyili as a “committed patriot, nationalist and crusader for peace, unity and an egalitarian society.

“Our dear Prof. Dora was an epitome of courage, doggedness and determination to succeed above all odds.

“She served Nigeria till her last breath as she struggled to give her all to a country she had virtually sacrificed her life for several times before her death,“ he said.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Chief Ayogu Eze who ranked Dora as a top Nigerian patriot said: “She shone on the Nigerian scene like a meteor, leaving her inimitable footprints on the psyche of Nigerians.

“Prof. Akunyili brought her unmistakable energy to bear on everything she sets her mind to. As DG of NAFDAC, she left a big shoe that all her predecessors have been struggling to come to terms with.’’

“Her patriotism blossomed as the Minister of Information where she left no one in doubt that she was a very resourceful professional by charting a way for cleaning Nigeria’s battered image.

“Her slogan, Good People, Great Nation, became an instant household byword as a symbol of the faith and trust of Nigerians in their country.

“In her short but eventful life she shattered the ceiling of discrimination and inferiority against women.

“For her, there is no gender in the battle of life, a battle she waged with grace, gusto and panache,’’ Eze said.

The National Chairman of APGA, Chief Maxi Okwu said:“Akunyili was one of APGA’s personalities that raised my hands at APGA’s National Convention in Awka in 2013.

“I sincerely hoped she would survive, being a dogged fighter but God knows best. “May her soul rest in peace,’’ Okwu said.

The Yoruba socio-cultural political group, Afenifere, described Akunyili as a great woman saying despite her health condition “she surfaced at the Confab in spite of her failed health.

“May her courageous soul rest in the blossom of our Lord,’’ Odumakin said.

Also speaking, Dr Joe Odumakin, the President of the Campaign for Democracy (CD) lamented the demise of Akunyili, saying that she would always be remembered for her tenacity and courageous pursuit of ideals both as director general of NAFDAC and as a minister of information.

“Akunyili displayed exemplary candour in the moment of constitutional crisis in Nigeria in 2010 when she joined patriotic Nigerians to speak boldly against the `cabal’ that wanted to drag the country to the precipice over a succession that ought to have been a cinch.

“Her exemplary patriotism was further displayed when she showed up at the National Conference in spite of the toll the illness had taken on her physical appearance.

“Now she is free from it all to take her deserved rest. It is our prayer that God grants her soul eternal rest and protect the family she left behind,’’ the CD President said.

In his reaction, the Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, Mr Ehi Omokhuale, said it would be long before Nigeria could get someone to play the role of Akunyili as the NAFDAC DG.

“Before Akunyili came on board, many Nigerians did not know the ills bedeviling the health sector with the manufacture and sale of fake drugs.

“Akunyili not only opened the eyes of Nigerians and the international world to it, she fought the fake drug dealers to a standstill.

“We missed her when she left and we will continue to miss her,’’ Omokhuale said.

Nigerians on Saturday paid tributes to Prof. Dora Akunyili, a former Minister of Information, who died in an Indian hospital early in the day.

Akunyili, a former Director-General of National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administration and Control, died at the age of 59 in a Specialist Cancer Hospital in India.

In a statement announcing the death on behalf of the Akunyili family, a former Governor of Anambra, Mr Peter Obi, said Akunyili worked for a better Nigeria

“In spite her illness, she was unwavering in her belief in a better Nigeria.

“The last time I visited her in India, even when she needed all the prayers herself, she was full of concern for Chibok girls, security and other challenges facing the country…,’’ Obi wrote.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to India, Amb. Ndubuisi Amaku, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja by telephone that the former Information Minister died at 10 a.m.

“Dora Akunyili made a remarkable impact in the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs.

“I am pained like any other Nigerian that we lost a woman who was so dedicated to Nigeria.

“She was an uncommon woman who did everything to uphold the dignity of Nigeria in the health sector.

“She was a remarkable woman and figure and we will miss her so much,’’ Amaku said.

The high commissioner said he had already spoken with Dora’s husband, Chike, to express the Federal Government’s sympathy.

“I assured him that the Nigeria High Commission would render all necessary assistance to repatriate her remains home,’’ he said.

Dr Paul Orhii, the Director General of NAFDAC, in a statement, said: “It was with shock but with total submission to the will of God that I received the sad news of the death of Prof. Dora Akunyili.

“She was a highly patriotic woman who deeply loved Nigeria and dedicated her entire life to the service of this great nation.

“May God the most merciful and most beneficent grant her eternal rest in perfect peace.’’

Orhii said Akunyili’s legacy would forever be remembered.

Sen. Chris Ngige described the death of Akunyili as a great shock.

“I received with great shock and sadness the news of the passing on of my sister, friend and schoolmate, Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili.

“Her death is a tremendous blow and loss to her family as well as to Anambra, Nigeria, Africa and all humanity.

“Although Dora and I had a very spirited contest in 2011 for the Anambra Central Senatorial Seat into the 7th Senate of the National Assembly, she and I had been friends and very close.

“We were schoolmates at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

“She was studying Pharmacy and I, Medicine. Thus, our parts crossed often. Even back then, Dora competed fiercely with her pharmacy contemporaries and even more with those of us in the Faculty of Medicine.

“Her husband, Dr Chike Akunyili, was my senior in Medical School and a respected professional colleague.

“I had tried to help Dora secure an employment opportunity with the National Drug Enforcement Agency as an Executive.

“She was very good friends with my sisters, such that they vacationed together and spent nights at each other’s house and did female things together,’’ Ngige wrote.


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