Dora Akunyili, A Distinguished Citizen And Patriot – President Jonathan

Goodluck-JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has received with shock and sadness, news of the sudden and untimely death of former Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili.

The President believes that Professor Akunyili would live long in the memories of those who were privileged to know her as a diligent professional, a public-spirited and forthright public officer, and as a person of great convictions.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan considers her contributions to nation-building while she served as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and as Minister of Information and Communications, particularly invaluable.

The President stated that it was sad that her death came at a time she was making further efforts to help sustain and strengthen the unity and stability of the country in her capacity as a member of the on-going National Conference.

“Without any doubt, she will be greatly missed”, read the statement.

President Jonathan commiserated with the Akunyili family, the Government and people of Anambra State, members of the National Conference and all her loved ones.

He prayed that the Almighty in His infinite mercies would grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of a truly distinguished citizen and patriot.

Dora Akunyili (1954-2014): Nigerian Governors Pay Tribute

Dora AkunyiliThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has received with great shock the death of the former Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyili.

In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Sam Onwumuedo, he said that she was a big asset to the nation and her death at this time was a colossal loss to the country as Nigeria needs the service of people like her in this trying period.

The Governor described her as an illustrious Igbo woman who has contributed immensely to the development of the nation.

Governor Okorocha prayed that God should grant her eternal rest and grant the family and loved ones divine consolation.

Dora Was A Patriotic Nigerian

Governor Muazu Aliyu of Niger State has described the death of Professor Dora Akunyili as a big blow to Nigeria in the area of intellectual competence and patriotic citizenship.

The Governor described the late NAFDAC Director-General as a fountain ‎of knowledge and professional expertise, who exuded servant leadership during her national service.

The Governor’s remark was contained in a statement made available to Channels Television in Minna.

“Professor Dora Akunyili was a leading example of patriotic leader for change. She believed in the Nigerian project and continued to champion her belief even till death.

“We will continue to respect her courage which she expressed in good health and in sickness. She was indeed a symbol of hope for women in government, a symbol of hope for a better Nigeria as hope is not completely lost as we still have Nigerians who can offer themselves to true service.”

The Governor, while praying for the repose of the deceased, prayed God to grant her husband, children and family members the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

She Was an Amazon

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, described the late former Information Minister, Professor Dora Nkem Akunyili, as an amazon.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Olufunmilayo Wakama, Amosun expressed shock and disbelief at the news of the demise of the onetime Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), at the age of 59.

He said that she deserves special mention among nation builders in Nigeria.

The Governor said that the death of the foremost Professor of Pharmacy, when her wealth of experience was mostly needed, especially at the ongoing National Conference, where she was a delegate, was lamentable.

Amosun recalled her achievements at NAFDAC and said she waged a successful war against counterfeit and fake drugs, thus becoming a terror to fake drugs cartels.

“Also, 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’.

“Knowing her, she would have done her best, yet again to chart the way forward for Nigeria at the National Conference. She has certainly left her footprints on the sands of time,” the Governor said.

Amosun commiserated with the family of the deceased, the nation in general and Anambra State in particular, where the late professor hailed from.

He prayed to the almighty God to grant her soul eternal rest and give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Akunyili Was A Different Breed

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, in a condolence letter to the family of the deceased, described her as an outstanding woman who showed Nigeria that she was a different breed.

He added that through her dedication and uprightness while serving as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC), she saved tens of thousands of lives of Nigerians and the country would forever be grateful to her for the war she waged and won against the manufacture and sale of fake drugs in Nigeria.

“Even till the weeks preceding her death, Mrs. Akunyili continued to show her passion for service to the Nation by serving as a delegate at the National Conference”, the Governor added.

He urged the family to take comfort in the knowledge that she was loved by many, and she fulfilled her purpose on earth and that Nigerians would not forget her just as history would not forget her as a true Amazon.

Obi Swears-In Hand Over Committee

With forty one days to the end of the tenure of administration of Anambra state governor, Mr. Peter Obi, a composition of a thirteen man handover committee has been set up by the governor to ensure a smooth transfer of power from his administration to another.

Announcing the new development in a post executive council meeting briefing to journalists, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Joe Martins Uzodike, said the committee has a ten-point term of reference and has the Secretary to the state government, Oseloka Obaze, as the chairman.

The Chief of Staff and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Professor Stella Okunna, is to serve as Secretary, while other members are Dr. Nkem Okeke, the deputy governor-elect and the former Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyili.

The committee has a 30-day mandate to complete its assignment.

Armoured Cars For Aviation Minister: Price, Process Not Justifiable – Utho

A Public Affairs Analyst, Paul Utho has described recent developments in the Nigerian aviation sector as disturbing and worrisome considering the level of investment reported to have gone into the sector over the years.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Mr Utho expressed disappointment that the same issues keep happening over and over again in the Nigerian aviation sector, referring to incidents of plane crashes and allegations of corruption.

According to him, “for NCAA to even come out to try to justify why bullet proof cars should be bought for the minister, makes you even begin to think that there is something really really wrong in the system”.

“If we were talking about the minister of Defence, I would have said ok, maybe some justifiable reasons. But for the minister of aviation, is it like she doesn’t fly anymore? Is it that she prefers to go by road now?”

Reacting to claims that the armoured cars are not for an individual but for the ministry, he asked, “Who is the head of the ministry? Who else is going to use the vehicle?” He insisted that it is illogical to spend N250 million on bulletproof cars in a country where ASUU has been on strike for 3 months, and the NCAA has over time complained over unavailability of funds.

He disagreed with claims by an NCAA official who stated on Sunrise Daily last week that funding was not a problem for the agency. He claimed that his interactions with officials who work in some of these agencies revealed that trainings are not regular, some technical staffs are totally left out of the little training, and some salaries are usually delayed.

On possible risks to the aviation minister’s life as it was in the case of former DG of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili, Mr Utho stated that Nigerians would have asked for bulletproof car to be purchased for the former DG because everyone felt the impact of her good job at the agency and therefore she should not be compared with the current Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah.

He also suggested that the figure quoted for the purchase of the cars leaves much to be desired as there are revelations that each of the cars should have cost N75 million . He spoke further on the manner in which they were purchased as having not followed the due process as well as on the alleged rot in the administration of airlines’ operation.

Mr Suraj Olanrewaju of the Movement Against Corruption also joined the discussion via phone to lend his voice to the issues. Supporting the allegations of corruption against the aviation sector, he queried why the NCAA or any other agency should be responsible for purchasing an official car for the minister when she is head of the Ministry of Aviation.

“For us (Movement Against Corruption), it is a clear situation of corruption, it is a clear situation of abuse of office, it is a violation, clear violation of the appropriation act 2013”.

They both called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to step into the matter.

Court of Appeal strikes out Akunyili’s petition against Ngige

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu has struck out the appeal filed by Professor Dora Akunyili of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) against the decision of the election petition tribunal in Awka which threw out her petition, challenging the election of Dr. Chris Ngige, as a Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial Zone.

The three-man panel of the Appellate court, headed by Justice Ayobode Lokulo-Sodipe held that the appellants were in serious misapprehension of the finality of the Supreme Court decisions, maintaining that once the Supreme Court gives verdict, every decision of the subordinate court gives way.

The court held that the tribunal was right in striking out Professor Akunyili’s petition stating that no court can bring to life a petition that is dead.

The tribunal had earlier struck out Dora Akunyili’s petition on the grounds that the 180 days stipulated by the constitution for the trial and delivery of judgement on election petition has expired and this was affirmed by another Supreme Court ruling.

On February 17, 2012, the Supreme Court had ruled in the Borno governorship appeal (Shettima Vs Goni) that the Court of Appeal had no power to remit any case that had lasted beyond the period of 180 days stipulated in the Constitution for either hearing on merits or for de novo trial.

Section 285 (6) of the amended 1999 constitution holds that any case that had exceeded the period of 180 days ought to be struck for lack of jurisdiction.

The Apex court further described the 180 day stipulation for deciding all electoral cases as a Rock of Gibraltar or Mount Zion and ruled that the period could not be moved, extended or elongated by even a second.

Professor Akunyili’s petition was filed on May 17, 2011, six months after the 180th day as stipulated by the Constitution and affirmed by the Apex Court.

In her argument, Prof Akunyili, contended that her case is not affected by the Supreme Court decision, which came about after her petition was extended for a fresh 180 days in November 2011.

The former Minister of Information is challenging the victory of Dr. Chris Ngige of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN), in the Anambra central Senatorial election in April 2011 elections. She asked the Appeal Court to remit her petition back to the tribunal to continue from where it stopped.