DR.DORA NKEM AKUNYILI
She's been credited with saving millions of lives and with moving mountains with sheer dedication to duty.She is the most beloved and most popular public official in Nigeria today.
WHO IS SHE? Teflon Lady @ NAFDAC:
Dr (Mrs.) Dora Nkem Akunyili (OFR) is the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Since taking over this important health sector, she has fought persistently with unsurpassed dedication to sanitize the pushing of fake medications and unclean food items. Nigerians were being poisoned by these fake foods and drugs and someone needed to do something seriously about it.
Enter Doctor Dora, as she is now fondly called by her numerous fans and supporters. Through her office as Director-General, she gave teeth to an otherwise moribund institution. She showed with her dedication to duty and commitment to our collective wellbeing that government institutions can and do work. The performance of such public officers as Dr. Akunyili has given teeth to the call for the appointment of women to at least 30 percent of public offices, as stipulated in the Beijing Declaration.
Dr. (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili (nee Edemobi) was destined for greatness. As a young girl, her father detected her academic prowess and sent her to the village to live with her maternal uncle, who was a teacher. After her primary education, she was set to make the normal move to high school at Federal Government Girls Secondary, Gboko, now in Benue State. But the country degenerated into a 30-month war. She therefore attended Queen of the Rosary College (QRC), Nsukka. A studious student, she graduated with flying colors, posting the best-ever result at the school. She sat for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination and gained admission into the prestigious premier University of Nigerian, Nsukka (UNN).
She told Thisday recently: "I was so studious that it took a lot out of my social life. Even in university, I worked very hard but was distracted by marriage though it was a welcome one because I got married after my third year and have nothing to regret.”
On her choice of pharmacy as a course and career, she said: "When we were to take JAMB, I never thought of pharmacy but wanted a professional course where I could do a lot of chemistry and mathematics. They were my best subjects and I felt giving them up was like giving up my soul. :::: I did not know that God was actually propelling me to what he really wants me to be and coincidentally, it is actually what I want to do."
With her husband, who is a medical doctor, in full support, she specialized in pharmacology at UNN before proceeding to the University of London for a postdoctoral program in phytochemistry.
Dr. Dora Akunyili approaches her job with missionary zeal. Even when many special interests are out to torpedo her work, she remains focused and determined to rid the Nigerian market of fake drugs and contaminated water formally sold as “pure water,” control the willy-nilly distribution and administration of drugs. On a personal note, she believes a relation of hers was a victim of the bad eggs in our society. She therefore remains unwavering in restoring the faith of Nigerians in the medications they take and in the packaged water they drink.
Dr. Akunyili is undoubtedly the "Teflon Lady" among all public servants. She educates and enforces, moving mountains with negotiations and impartial enforcement of policies. For example, she is negotiating with luxury-bus operators to deny mobile medicine vendors access to their buses, where the selling of expired and fake drugs are the norm. She is so determined in her mission that only supernatural forces would derail her from the path of purifying the supply of drugs and food to the unsuspecting public. She said so in an interview without mincing words:
"My coming here and not doing the work is greater than any sin in the ten commandments. I just leave it to God and put in the effort that is humanly possible. I refuse to be intimidated. My life is in the hand of God. They forget that so many people have died because of fake drugs, even my own sister. If she had had the right insulin, she wouldn't have died."
"The forces of darkness have risen up against us to distract us, to intimidate us, and to return us to the status quo ante, but I have made up my mind not to fail God, who has elevated me to this position. He is my sustenance and my defender. It does not matter what they do, they must fail. When they gather against me, because it is not of God, they shall fail for my sake. I am on the side of righteousness. God is with me I have no reason to be afraid."
Among her numerous awards are:
Merit Award winner, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Enugu branch;
Member, New York Academy of Sciences ( 1997);
Pharmacological Society of Canada's Award for the 12th International Congress of Pharmacology, Montreal, Canada (1994);
Family Health International, USA Congress Award for the 10th International Conference on AIDS Yokohama, Japan (1994);
Pfizer Travel Fellowship for the 54th International Pharmaceutical Federation Conference, Portugal (1994),
Commonwealth Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award;
Vice Chancellor's Postgraduate and Research Leadership Prize;
Kingsway Prize for the best pharmacy student (first year professional);
Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship;
Eastern Nigerian Government Post Primary Scholarship
One of the six Nigerian lady pharmacists honored at The Hague by the International Pharmaceutical Federation in 1998;
Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR)
THIS CITATION WAS WRITTEN BY M. O. ENÉ (New Jersey, USA; email@example.com)
Dr. (Mrs.) Dora Nkem Akunyili is an Internationally renowned Pharmacist, Pharmacologist, Erudite Scholar, Seasoned Administrator, and a visionary leader. She was a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Pharmacologist in the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka (U.N.N.), Enugu Campus, before she became head of NAFDAC.
Dr. Akunyili started her working career as a Hospital Pharmacist from 1978-1981, in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (U.N.T.H) Enugu, after which she ventured into academics as a Graduate Assistant (Research Fellow) in Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, U.N.N. from 1982-1986. In the University system, she made a steady progress from Lecturer I in 1986 until she was made Senior Lecturer in 1990. She transferred to College of Medicine, U.N.N. in 1992, where she was made a Consultant Pharmacologist in 1996, a position she held until 12th April 2001. Due to her love for Teaching and nurturing young ones, she was also a part time lecturer of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists Lagos, Nigeria from 1992-1995.
Dr. Mrs. Dora Akunyili had a four year stint as Zonal Secretary of Petroleum Special Trust Fund (P.T.F.), coordinating all projects in the five South Eastern States of Nigeria.
She also served as a Supervisor for Agriculture and Member of the Caretaker Committee for her Local Government, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State from 1994 to 1996. From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Akunyili served as a member of State’s Hospitals Management Board and State Advisory Council for Women Commission both in Anambra State of Nigeria.
As a Scientist and a Scholar, she has presented 19 papers in various Nigerian and International Scientific Conferences. She is a published author having authored a book and 18 Journal Articles. She has supervised PhD and Masters candidates in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and U.N.N. respectively both in Nigeria. On top of her present job as the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Akunyili supervises six Postgraduate students in the College of Medicine U.N.N. She has also been Chief Examiner in Pharmacology for 3rd M.B.B.S College of Medicine, Abia State University Uturu, Nigeria.