Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili (OFR).
A Nigerian Woman.
The “Anambra Amazon” as she was fondly called by her admirers. Dr Dora
Nkemdilim Akunyili has proven to be our own Saint Joan of Arc, leading
the war against drug counterfeiting and food adulteration with her
battle cry of transparency and accountability. As Father John will
always say “dancing where Angels fear to go near”. I wouldn't be happy
that after all these years, I failed to put down one or two words for
a woman I have admired over the years, together with other 'Amazons'
that carved a niche for the women during Obj's tenure. With the death
of her sister coming as result of being admistered with fake drugs,
when Nkem found herself at the helm of affairs at NAFDAC she swore
under both Testaments to rid Nigeria of counterfeit drugs and also
save her profession from marauders. “Mummy” as she was called by her
employees was ready to sacrifice her life in order to save millions of
Nigerians from untimely death caused by heartless individuals who make
their living by the suffering and death of others.
Dora was born 14th July 1954 at Markurdi, Benue State but hails from
Nanka in Anambra State. The young Dora attended St. Patrick Primary
School Isuofia. Dora proceeded to Queen of the Rosary Secondary School
Nsukka. She made her mark in the school and went on to study Pharmacy
at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where she later worked before her
appointment as the NAFDAC DG.
Dora in her 3rd year in school married Dr. John Chike Akunyili a
native of Agulu in Anambra State. They were blessed with 6 children. A
mother, a wife, an amazon, above all a Nigerian woman.
When Dora was appointed by former President Umaru Musa Yar'adua as the
Information Minister I was sceptical about it, in short I wasn't happy
with the appointment. Why? The reason is not far fetched over the
years I have grown to know that ministry as the ministry of lies, they
lie for the government. With all the good works Nkem did at NAFDAC I
was afraid that the ministry will corrupt her and drive her name to
the mud. But that wasn't to be, Dora surprised me with her sweeping
reforms at the ministry. Within a short while she changed the face of
the ministry from what it is, to what it should be. We all woke up one
morning and were bewildered by her new program “NIGERIA: GOOD PEOPLE
GREAT NATION. Yes and for the first time in a long time Nigerians
began to believe in the Nigeria Dream. All over the world mention the
name Nigeria and the response you will get is Good People Great
Nation, replacing the country of fraudsters, scammers we have been
known for over the years.
And Dora did it even though it was short lived. And after Dora how
many still believe in the Nigerian Dream?
And I ask where is the NIGERIA: GOOD PEOPLE GREAT NATION?
Another aspect of her life that was shining was her faith. Christ said
we are the light and salt of the world (Matt 5:13-16), and truly she
lived her faith to the fullest, shining for all to see. Dora was a
devout Catholic and has always attributed her strength to God who made
her. After her death Holy Masses were been held in her honour every
On the 26th of December 2003 they came for her. They rained bullets on
her car but her Angel guardian was at hand to protect and guard her.
The bullet that was supposed to go through her skull and snuff the
life out of her missed it by one centimetre instead it went through
her headgear and bore a large hole to show that 'if God is for us who
can be against us!'(Rm 8:31)
And in her own words she said,
“My coming here and not doing my work is greater than any sin in the
ten commandments. I just live it to God and put in the effort that is
humanly possible. I refuse to be intimidated. My life is in the hand
of God. They forget that so many people have died because of fake
drugs even my own sister. If they had the right insulin she wouldn't
“The forces of darkness has risen up against us to distract us, to
intimidate us and to return us to the status quo ante, but I have made
up my mind not to fail God, who has elevated me to this position. He
is my sustenance and my defender. It does not matter what they do they
must fail. When they gather against me, because it is not of God, they
shall fail for my sake. I am on the side of righteousness. God is with
me I have no reason to be afraid.”
And that was the woman of substance speaking, a rare gem. A Nigeria
woman, a role model for every Nigerian girl that wishes to be good and
to do good.
Dora has really shown that “women really have something to offer to the world.”
On 28th August 2014 Madonna Catholic Church Agulu was filled to the
brim with people who wanted to say goodbye, Dora was buried amidst
What We Are Is God's Gift To Us; What We Become Is Our Gift To
This post was first published on August 30th 2014, and was reposted
today so as to inspire you to be the best.
Throwback Thursday (TBT)
Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili (OFR).