Tributes flowed endlessly for the late former Minister of Information and Communications and erstwhile Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili, as the Association of Lady Pharmacists, Lagos State chapter, paid a condolence visit to the current Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, at his office in Oshodi, Lagos, recently.
Prof. (Mrs) Dora Nkem Akunyili, who died in an Indian hospital on 7 June, after a battle with cancer, assumed office in April 2001 as Director General of NAFDAC.She was an internationally acclaimed pharmacist and pharmacologist.
Chairperson of ALPs, Pharm. (Mrs) Modupe Ologunagba, Sstated that the visit was to enable members of the association sign the condolence register prepared for the late pharmacist, as well as to deliver their condolence letter to Dr Orhii.
Ologunagba described Akunyili as a patriotic, dedicated and hardworking person, adding that she was also a woman of integrity and a role model to the lady pharmacists.
“She was a Nigerian that everybody loved and a national hero,” she said.”Her antecedent in the practice portrayed the motto and objective of our association because in ALPs, we strive towards professional excellence and she actually conveyed excellence in her activities and work.”
The Lagos ALPs boss further suggested that a day be set aside as a public holiday, especially for those in the health sector, in Akunyili’s honour.
“I think Prof. Dora Akunyili, being a national symbol, should be immortalised in Anambra State, where she hailed from, and in her professional circle, by dedicating a day in her honour to celebrate her and her contributions to the issue of drug distribution and her fight against drug counterfeiting in Nigeria. It will also serve as a way of mentoring others to also follow her footsteps,” She stated.
Corroborating Ologunagba’s view, a prominent member of the association, Pharm. Oluwafunke Adepegba of Funket Nigeria Limited, said there was nothing wrong in dedicating a day in Akunyili’s honour as this would promote the virtues of courage, commitment and dedication, which the late luminary exemplified.
“Late Prof. Dora Akunyili was a very bold person and her boldness was part of the reasons that made her successful as the Director General of NAFDAC because there were lots of big obstacles that could have prevented her from being successful; but she was able to overcome the so-called obstacles and, today, her works still speak for her,” said Adepegba.
While receiving the group and their letter of condolence, Dr Paul Orhii, who was represented by the NAFDAC Director of Narcotics and Controlled Substances, Pharm. (Alh.) Hashim Ubale Yusufu, appreciated ALPs for finding time to condole the agency on the loss of the pharmacy icon, while adding that the agency was taking solace in the fact that the former DG had gone to rest with her creator.
While apologising for his unavoidable absence, Dr Orhii affirmed that Akunyili’s demise was a major blow to NAFDAC and the entire nation.
“Of course, we are really grieved because Prof. Dora is so dear to us. She was a hardworking woman who has the love of this country at heart; and she was that type of person that would tell you her mind and what she felt without fear or favour.She is a great loss to us in NAFDAC and of course the entire nation,”he said.