This Dora, our Dora...
Professor Dora Akunyili recently clocked 57 and a couple of newspaper adverts were made to celebrate her person by friends and associates. This Amazon, who is a pride to womanhood any time and day, have continued to display very rare qualities of leadership, seen among very few privilege people in our African settings.
Though women are generally assumed to be the weakest of the two sexes, Mrs. Akunyili had demonstrated in so many instances that the assumption is subjective. She had tread on paths where so called brave men are too intimidated to even take a step. Her non-conformist approach to national issues have saved Nigeria and indeed Nigerians from some ugly chains of events that could have been unleashed on us. She is truly our nation's mother figure.
Eleven years of our present democratic experiences, yet only Dora stands tall and unblemished amidst contemporaries be they male or female. She became visible on national scene with her exploits at NAFDAC. She brought life into the moribund commission and introduce new vigour and dedication in the staff, in battling marketers and manufacturers of fake and adulterated drugs. Despite the threats to her life, she rattled the cults of evil business men and women who were bent on killing innocent Nigerians for enormous profits.
Dora is an apostle of positive change; all her public service were tailored towards providing for the general good of all. She is an ideal persona when discussions on quality and responsive public service are on the front burner. Without sounding immodest, she represents the new Nigeria of our collective dreams.
This professor of Pharmacy, proved cynics wrong when she as an â€˜insider' in government during the prolong health saga of late president Umar Yar'adua, saw the looming dangers in our country not having a definite authority. While most of her colleagues in the then cabinet care less, as long as they are enjoying the spoils of their offices, she insists the constitution of the land must be obeyed. Her then colleagues, overwhelming suppressed the clamour by Nigerians for reasoning to prevail on the vex matter of transfer of authority to the then vice president. They were only mindful of losing their positions, not even thinking for a minute of the possible disintegration of the country by their inactions. Only Dora stood tall and firm on the side of the people.
Those who claimed her action as that time was belated, were only sarcastic with their tongues. First we must acknowledge she was at that time an appointee of the ailing president Yar'adua and that the gravity of Yar'adua's health condition was unknown to her initially. As the information minister, she is expected to douse tension in the land, because the information available to her at that time was that her principal's (President Yar'adua) condition was mild and that he would soon return. But the prolong absence of the then president and the scheming of a group, who were later known as the â€˜cabal', made it obvious that some cover ups were taking place. Dora, our Dora just wouldn't live with the little she knew, unlike her other colleagues; to save Nigeria, she must do the impossible even at the risk of losing her seat in the cabinet and possibly her life. She came to the weekly federal executive council meeting with a memo, appealing to her colleagues to follow the path of honour. She was chastised, abused and threatened by her colleagues and their collaborators but she stood her grounds. That single patriotic act of hers eroded the confident of our chief tormentors and they were forced to ask the National Assembly to implement what was called the doctrine of necessity. Thereby saving the country from grave political quagmire.
Nobody is giving a thought to what could have happened to Dora, if president Yar'adua had survived. Can we for once imagine the vengeance these enemies of Nigeria could have unleash on her if their benefactor (President Yar'adua) recovered and reclaimed his office? This woman took a risk for Nigeria and Nigerians. That's why I am really worried for Nigeria when I see charlatans who were mute during that period now coming out to aspire for the seat of president. If Nigeria was consumed by that logjam would there have been a country for them to aspire to rule?
Dora Akunyili is a classic example of leadership par excellence. She is the true reflection of a selfless and determined African woman, who gives her all to her family, society and nation. And as she marks another fulfilling year on earth, we must acknowledge who she is. Calling her the mother of modern Nigeria is one sure way to start.
Thank God for the gift of Professor Dora Akunyili to our nation at this perilous time of our country's political history. While also thanking Dora for remaining steadfast for Nigeria and its people. I stand with you dear Professor (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili because you are a living legend and a shining example of positive and ideal leadership; and I know there are a million more who adore you and are forever grateful for your selfless service to our country. Happy Birthday Madam.