Nigeria mourns Akunyili at a special session

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday held a special session in honour of late Professor Dora Akunyili, Nigeria’s former Minister of Information and Director of National Agency for Food Drug Administration Control, NAFDAC, who died on Saturday in India after a two-year battle with cancer.

Members of the Federal Executive Council led by President Goodluck Jonathan took turns to eulogise the late Professor at the special session.

In his tribute, President Jonathan described the late Akunyili as a role model for modern day women.

The President said the late Minister was a woman of strength adding that he first met the deceased when he was Deputy Governor in Bayelsa State.

He added that Akunyili made more impact as the DG of NAFDAC than as a minister.

“A very upright woman, when she was Information Minister, she was a very courageous person. A role model per excellence that I believe so many young ladies would emulate.

“Her impact in NAFDAC was much more than as the Minister of Information. But her passion was unique. A virtuous woman, this is how God wants it.

“God saved her life from the deadly bullets of evil men. He could still have saved her life from cancer if He had so willed,” Jonathan said.

In his tribute, Vice President Namadi Sambo, described Akunyili’s death as a great loss to Nigeria because of her patriotism and dedication to any assignment she was given. He added that: “NAFDAC is a sanitised institution, because of her.”

The VP also noted that as a minister, Akunyili developed a system through which the country would be re-branded.

“It is a sad time for us as we remember her. A woman of strength and conviction who fought hard to ensure drug counterfeiting becomes a thing of the past. NAFDAC was consistently voted as the best agency of government during her time. A committed mother and devoted wife. An excellent Nigerian woman whom many looked up to,” the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in her own tribute.

“Even at the expense of her life, she didn’t look back at what she believed in. She lived for Nigerians. She was an extremely intelligent person,” Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Musa Sada said, adding that, the deceased was “a patriot from whom one always wants to learn.”

Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, said he met the late Akunyili before he became Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsuka. He added that the deceased became a professor during his Vice Chancellorship of the institution.

“She was a woman of courage. She was courageous enough to speak up at a trying moment of our national history. A religious and prayerful woman. The cold hands of death has taken away a woman very hopeful in all situations, she was very conversational. As a country we have lost a gem and we pray that God give us such a woman of honour and respect,” Nebo said.

Labaran Maku, the Information Minister, who worked with the deceased as Minister of State for Information and Communications, described her as an outstanding public servant.

“She put her life on the line. She took the world to Anambra to battle producers and importers of fake drugs because she wanted the best for her nation. She took me as a junior brother and we worked together. She showed me great work. She permitted me to jointly address the press after FEC,” Maku said.

The Information Minister said the Rebrand Nigeria Project introduced by late Professor Akunyili would still continue even after her death.

Maku also noted that Dora’s death was a loss to the Nigerian fashion industry, who through her promoted a national dress code and a loss to Nigerians as a mother in public service and a loss to the Igbo nation and to her family.

Author: News Editor

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