Dora Akunyili, The 7th Stanza Of The 1st Verse Of Nigeria’s National Anthem

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By Saatah Nubari

Dora Akunyili, I should write for you. These were first words I could muster myself to write when I heard of your death late evening. is with a heavy heart I write this, not necessarily because of your death, but for painful fact I always postponed actually writing for you when you were alive. Here I am trying to put together words, words you won’t ever see or read. Here I am trying to do what I should’ve done a long time ago; here I am writing for you.

John Ruskin said “ strength and power of a country depends absolutely on quantity of good men and in ”. I can’t talk about how powerful our country is or has been when relates to what John Ruskin said, but what I do know with certainty, is that we were one Dora Akunyili strong. Your days as NAFDAC boss, reminds me of the stanza of our anthem that says “To serve with heart and might”. That’s you Dora; you were “heart and might” moulded into flesh.

I can’t comprehend the of Nigerians walking the streets today, strong and healthy. That Nigerian heart and might you possess, which has almost gone into oblivion, made it possible. That for decades, we lived or thought we were living; taking drugs and foods we never knew were draining of the little life we had. That we died, not knowing that our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours, were actually living off our death, importing for consumption, what not even fit for our pets. Ours is a country without statistics and adequate records. We scream child mortality, but we fail to know that so many things can cause child mortality. Nobody has undertaken the task of finding out how much drugs and bad foods contributed to our child mortality figures, so we might never know what impact you made in reducing it. Your stint as NAFDAC boss is one we’ll forever remember –I pray we actually do remember. How many of would’ve lost mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, we’ll never know.

In our typical Nigerian fashion, we goofed, we most times do. You were moved NAFDAC to our Information Ministry. I don’t know why or what brought about that change, but right there, you lay dormant. That not the Dora we knew or fell in with. You started doing your “: Good People Great Nation” stuff—you called it rebranding. I actually felt that the end of a great book, but I wrong, that was just the end of a chapter; there was still a Dora somewhere in you Akunyili. You gave a glimpse of this Dora left in you when you decided to speak . Where “men” felt silence was golden, you showed them that taking a stand was something you’ll never exchange for their gold plated silence—Dora you spoke! Dora you spoke when our was on the verge of collapse, and a voice was needed to remind of where we were coming . Once again, we might never find out what would have been the consequences if you hadn’t spoken, something I’m grateful for.

Dora, I don’t have any idea what your epitaph is going to read, but if I should suggest—sorry, I have to suggest. It should read: Here lies Dora Akunyili, the 7th stanza of the 1st verse of the Nigerian anthe