Biography

Dora Akunyili ”Iron Lady”’ as one of the most iconic women in Nigeria history

Everything you need to know about Nigeria icon, Dora Akunyili, the ‘iron lady’ with almost 1000

Dora Nkem Akunyili, was a well-respected woman among all Nigerians thanks to her exploit in waging war against trafficking of fake drug in Nigeria when she served as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Dora Akunyili was born on July 1954 in Markurdi, Benue state in Nigeria to Chief and Mrs. Paul Young Edeomobi.

She started her working career as a pharmacist in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu before she was appointed by then Nigeria president, Olusegun Obasanjo as the Director-General for the NAFDAC.

Her appointed generated a lot of criticism that she will not be effective for post being an Igbo from Anambra state. There were suggestions that she will protected her people who were believed to be the most active members of the fake goods business but to surprise of many, she went ahead to prove her critics wrong.

During her tenure as the Director-General for the NAFDAC from 2001-2008, she recorded outstanding successes.

At the time, most drugs circulating in Nigeria were believed to be fake drugs from India, China and some factories in the southern part of Nigeria. The drugs were manufactured without proper regulations putting the lives of many in danger.

After she lost her sister Vivian, who died after taking fake insulin injection in 1988. Dora declared war against fake drug traffickers.s

She also limited drug importation to two seaports and two airports and banned 31 drug manufacturer.

Dora Akunyili became more influential when she was reportedly to had turned down a $1 million bribe to stop her actions against drug trafficking.

Her fierce determination to remove all fake drugs from the country earned her the nickname ‘’IRON LADY’.

Her work also endangered her life as Two assassination attempts were made on her life in 2004 but none of which was successful.

But all that did not discourage her as she sacked 300 of her employees including a close relation to cleanse the system.

After her time at NAFDAC, she was appointed as the federal minister of information and communication between 2008-2010. During her time in the post, she invented the slogan ‘’Good Peole, Great Nation’’ which has since then become a popular slogan among Nigerians.

In 2011, Dora Akunyili ran for election as a senator but was defeated by Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

Two year later, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She became seriously ill. Her last appearance was at the National Conference in Abuja in 2014 wearing a frail-look.

The wonder woman, an icon passed away 0n the June 7, 2014 in India. She was laid to rest in her home town, Agulu in Ananmbra state.

She was described as a distinguished Nigerian and patriotic citizen who would solely be missed by everybody.

The remarkable Lecturer, Educator, Pharmacist and a Politician will forever be remembered for her war on false drugs thereby serving the life of many Nigerians.

Her great achievements earned her recognition both in Nigeria, Africa and all over the world, scoping several national and international awards.

Prof Dora Nkem Akunyili received a total of 930 awards before she died. It was reported that over 100 were discovered in her boxes.

She was described as a distinguished Nigerian and patriotic citizen who would solely be missed by everybody.

The remarkable Lecturer, Educator, Pharmacist and a Politician will forever be remembered for her war on false drugs thereby serving the life of many Nigerians.

Her great achievements earned her recognition both in Nigeria, Africa and all over the world, scoping several national and international awards.

Prof Dora Nkem Akunyili received a total of 930 awards before she died. It was reported that over 100 were discovered in her boxes after her death.

She has the highest numbers of awards ever received by any Nigerian living or dead.

Some of her numerous accolades include;

the Time Magazine Award, 2006;

Person of the Year 2005 Award by Silverbird Communications Ltd; Award of Excellence by Integrated World Services (IWS), 2005;

the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) of Nigeria;

the African Virtuous and Entrepreneurial Women Merit Award in 2005;

Distinguished Award as a Role Model of Nigerian Society Ahmadu Bello University Students’ Union Government (ABUSUG), Zaria, Nigeria;

Women Achievers Award 2005 Women’s Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Lagos State Chapter, Lagos;

Time Magazine Award 2006 (“One of the eighteen heroes of our time”), Time Magazine Inc;

Person of the Year 2005 Award – Silverbird Communications Ltd, Lagos, 5 January 2006;

Award of Excellence – Integrated World Services (IWS), December 2005;

Award of Excellence – Advocacy for Democracy Dividends International, Lagos, 17 December 2005;

Meritorious Award 2005 – St. Michael’s Military Catholic Church, Apapa, Lagos, 4 December 2005;

African Virtuous and Entrepreneurial Women Merit Award 2005 – African Biographical Network, December 2005;

Award for the Best Government Parastatal – National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), December 2005;

An Icon of Excellence Award – The African Cultural Institute and Zenith Bank Plc, December 8, 2005;

2005 Grassroots Human Rights Campaigner Award London-based Human Rights Defense Organization, December 8, 2005;

Most Innovative Director Award Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, October 2005;

Integrity Award 2003 – Transparency International.

Prof Dora Akunyili is indeed a great inspiration to many women in Nigeria and across the globe. She will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria.

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