ABUJA – The National Conference sitting in Abuja has expressed shock and sadness over the death of Prof. Dora Akunyili on Saturday, saying the deceased was a fine public servant who did her best for the nation.
This is contained in a statement by Mr james Akpandem, the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications, made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that Akunyili, a former Director-General of NAFDAC and later Minister of Information and Communications, died in an Indian hospital in the early hours of Saturday after a battle with cancer.
Akpandem said that “the Chairman of the conference, Retired Justice Idris Kutigi, was shocked at the demise of one of Nigeria’s finest administrators.’’
Akunyili was until her death, a delegate representing Anambra at the conference.
The assistant secretary stated that “the National Conference sitting in Abuja, on Saturday, June 7, 2014, received yet another sad news of the demise of a delegate, Prof. Dora Akunyili.
“Akunyili’s death brings to three the number of such incidents recorded in the life of the conference, inaugurated on March 17, 2014.’’
He added that “Akunyili’s death was preceded by that of AIG Hamma Misau, a delegate representing retired police officers from Bauchi State on Thursday, March 27, 2014.
“The second was Dr Mohammed Jumare, a delegate representing elder statesmen from Kaduna State, who died on Monday, May 5, 2014.
“The chairman of the conference and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, expressed sadness at the demise of one of Nigeria’s finest administrators.’’
Akpandem noted that “on behalf of the principal officers and delegates to the conference, Kutigi expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.’’
He stated that Akunyili’s last official assignment was on March 24 at the conference, where her eloquent contributions to the debate on President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech to the conference elicited thunderous applause from delegates.
NAN recalls that even when the Deputy Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, urged her to contribute while seated, Akunyili insisted on standing like every other delegate who had contributed before her.
She was a pharmacist and an astute administrator who gained international recognition and won hundreds of awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights.
She eventually ventured into partisan politics and contested for Anambra Central Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2011, but lost to Sen. Chris Ngige of the rested ACN. (NAN)