“Akunyili displayed exemplary candour in the moment of constitutional crisis in Nigeria in 2010.”
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, on Saturday said that the death of the former Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, was a great loss to the Party.
Similarly, socio cultural and civil rights groups in Nigeria such as the Afenifere, Campaign for Democracy, CD, and Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, said the former minister would be remembered for her exemplary patriotism.
Ms. Akunyili, a former Minister of Information, and former Director General of NAFDAC, lost the battle to cancer in an Indian Hospital on Saturday morning.
The former minister and professor of pharmacy, who contested for a position in the Senate on the platform of APGA, died at the age of 59.
In a telephone interview, a factional National Chairman of APGA, Maxi Okwu, described the late Akunyili as a trail blazer trailer, who would be greatly missed by the party and most importantly the nation.
“Akunyili was one of APGA’s personalities that raised my hands at APGA’s National Convention in Awka in 2013.
“I sincerely hoped she would survive, being a dogged fighter but God knows best.
“May her soul rest in peace,’’ Mr. Okwu said.
In its reaction, the Yoruba socio-cultural political group, Afenifere, described Mrs. Akunyili as a great woman.
The spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said that Mr. Akunyili was a brave, assertive and distinguished woman who gave her best to her country.
“She even surfaced at the Confab in spite of her failed health.
“May her courageous soul rest in the blossom of our Lord,’’ Mr. Odumakin said.
Also speaking, Joe Odumakin, the President of the Campaign for Democracy, CD, lamented the demise of Ms. Akunyili, saying that she would always be remembered for her tenacity and courageous pursuit of ideals both as director general of NAFDAC and as a minister of information.
“Akunyili displayed exemplary candour in the moment of constitutional crisis in Nigeria in 2010 when she joined patriotic Nigerians to speak boldly against the `cabal’ that wanted to drag the country to the precipice over a succession that ought to have been a cinch.
“Her exemplary patriotism was further displayed when she showed up at the National Conference in spite of the toll the illness had taken on her physical appearance.
“Now she is free from it all to take her deserved rest. It is our prayer that God grants her soul eternal rest and protect the family she left behind,’’ she said.
In his reaction, the Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, Ehi Omokhuale, said it would be long before Nigeria could get someone to play the role of Akunyili as the NAFDAC DG.
“Before Akunyili came on board, many Nigerians did not know the ills bedeviling the health sector with the manufacture and sale of fake drugs.
“Akunyili not only opened the eyes of Nigerians and the international world to it, she fought the fake drug dealers to a standstill.
“We missed her when she left and we will continue to miss her,” Mr. Omokhuale said.
In his reaction, the Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said Mrs. Akunyili deserved mention among Nigeria’s builders.
“As Minister of Information during the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, she did her best in promoting and projecting Nigeria when she initiated the Rebrand Nigeria Project. I remember the slogan ‘Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation,” the governor said in a statement by his spokesperson, Olufunmilayo Wakama.
In his condolence message, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, described Mrs. Akunyili as a “woman of substance, unequalled character, and courage who brought respect and glory to the nation”, said her death was a colossal loss to the entire country and an exit of an uncommon role model.”
“Prof. Dora Akunyili was a woman of enormous integrity, a quintessential professional and public administrator per excellence. As a Minister, she was outstanding and as the Director-General of NAFDAC, she brought a lot of energy and impetus to bear on the fight against fake and substandard drugs and food. Her brilliant innovations and unparalleled spirited war the health sector practically gave life back to millions of Nigerians. Indeed, Prof. Akunyili spared no cabals wherever they existed throughout her public service, for her love for her fatherland filled her with the courage to tread where other mortals feared to venture.
“She was amongst the brightest in our galaxy of eminent women and never dimmed in quality and character. She was faithful and true to the nation till the very end and will be seriously missed.”