Prof Dora Akunyili was a name that brought shivers into the spines of fake pharmacists who sell fake drugs for the use of innocent Nigerians thereby making many Nigerians die unnecessarily.
At the appointment of Dora, she made National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) a household name from obscurity to limelight. She was a torn in the flesh of fake drug dealers.
She confiscated and destroyed fake drugs worth millions of Naira.
Incidentally, she started her cleansing from her home front where she was born in the Eastern part of Nigeria.
She was physically attacked by unknown gunmen but narrowly escaped every evil plots against her.
Watch the most inspiring video our leaders should emulate from the ‘IRON LADY’ Dora Akunyili:
Profile of Prof Dora Akunyili:
Dr Dora Nkem Akunyili was born on July 14, 1954. She had her early elementary education at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Isuofia, Anambra in 1966 before proceeding to Queen of Rosary Secondary School, Nsukka, Enugu State in 1973.
Her journey to becoming a well-renowned pharmacist began after she obtained her first degree in Pharmacology in 1978. After receiving her degree, she started working as a Hospital Pharmacist in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) in Enugu state. This lasted from 1978 to 1981.
Akunyili took a break to get her PhD in 1985 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She was later appointed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as a Director-General for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
War on Drugs
At the time, over 60% of drugs in Nigeria were believed to be fake from China, India and factories in the southern parts of Nigeria. She reportedly lost a sister to fake drugs. As the new NAFDAC DG, she declared war on these false drugs.
Her fierce determination to remove all fake drugs from the country earned the nickname “iron lady”. It also endangered her life. Two assassination attempts were made on her life in 2004. Akunyili’s hard work paid off as the fake drug market saw a 90% decline.
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During her lifetime, Akunyili was recognised for her war on false drugs.
After her time at NAFDAC, she was appointed as the Federal Minister of Information and Communication between 2008–2010. During her time in this role, Akunyili invented the slogan,
“Good People, Great Nation.”
“Corruption is not just about taking or giving money it is about not doing the right thing. And why are we corrupt, it is because of lack of understanding. Because we do not understand that we do not need too much.”
“Our wants may be too many but our needs are small. I don’t envy corrupt people because they destroy themselves and destroy their children, generations unborn.”
“And when we look at the way we behave, the way we behave to ourselves and to this country because we have no other country we can call our own. It is all because of bad attitude. That attitude of the past and the present. That attitude that we are saying through rebranding, if we don’t change nothing will change. If we don’t change we will not be able to achieve VISION 2020.”
“…am proud of Nigeria despite the challenges, I had an American Green Card and I gave it up. Am not excited about it, if I was crazy about it I will keep my Green Card and I would eventually qualify for citizenship.”
“But I don’t want it because I love this country with a passion. Without this country there wound not be ME with this country, this is ME. This country has made ME who I am.”
She later ran for election in 2011 as Senator for Anambra Central for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). She was defeated by Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Two years later, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She became seriously ill. Her last public appearance was in 2014 when a frail-looking Akunyili was seen at the National Conference in Abuja.
This remarkable woman passed away on June 7, 2014. She was laid to rest at Agulu in Anambra State.
Editor’s Note: We give credits for additional contributions from Pulse.ng and Bayero Agabi with the video clip.
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