June 16, 2019
The Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE), an international organization dedicated to nurturing future leaders imbued with the morals and skill set necessary to navigate Africa out of poverty and underdevelopment has nominated Dr. Mrs. Dora Akunyili for its maiden Moral Leadership Award.
The name “Dora Akunyili” may sound strange to some ears but it is certainly a household name in Nigeria, a country where Mrs. Dora, gave her all for the improvement of the quality of food and drug produced for consumption by Nigerians. Mrs. Dora was appointed the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control from 2001 to 2008. As reported by the Guardian, in a 2018 paper titled “Dora Akunyili: The Drug Lioness,” Dora’s inspiration to become a Pharmacist was nurtured after her sister who suffered Diabetes died from the use of fake insulin.
Her appointment as the DG of Nigeria’s apex drug regulatory agency saw a quick reform as certification of good drugs were introduced, saving a large number of lives in the process. These changes did not come without threats to Dora’s life as she reported in a 2006 speech at the “Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,” Washington, D.C.
Here is how she put it:
“On December 26, 2003 – gunmen fired at my vehicle. The back windscreen was shattered by bullets which pierced through my head scarf and burnt my scalp. During the shooting, a commercial bus was riddled with bullets and the driver died instantly. Between 7th and 11th March 2004, there was a synchronized burning of NAFDAC’s facilities across the country. My family members and NAFDAC staff remained constantly under threat. In addition to depositing fetish objects in my office in August 2001, six armed men invaded my residence in Abuja and waited for over two hours for me to return. Fortunately, unknown to them, I had earlier travelled out of town. On 29th August 2002, our laboratory in Lagos was vandalized and most of our sensitive equipment were destroyed, while portable ones and samples for testing were carted away.”
Mrs. Dora’s sacrifice and tenacity was worth it. It was reported by the BBC that her efforts reduced the amount of counterfeit drugs by 50%. Mrs. Dora’s moral and administrative contribution to the protection and preservation of lives was a big achievement for the recognition of women leadership.
While announcing the award to the family, the founder and president of CSAAE, the Rev. Fr. Dr. Godswill Agbagwa noted that at a time when the moral compass of good leadership appears to be turning away from the Nigerian scene of intellectuals, technocrats and politicians, CSAAE intends to bring a reminder to the minds of future leaders and youths worldwide that a sacrifice for good leadership and social change never goes in vain.
The award will be presented to the the family of Late Dora Akunyili at a Fireside Professional Networking Dinner and Award Night to wrap up CSAAE’s 6th International Leadership, Career Building and Entrepreneurship Summit holding at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, July 12-13, 2019. To attend the summit and award night, please click link to register: 6th International Youth Leadership, Career Building and Entrepreneurship Summit
Barr. Jesutoni Ajiboye