By HENRY UMORU, JOSEPH ERUNKE & LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU

DELEGATES yesterday urged the Federal Government to immortalise former Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and later Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who died on Saturday.

Until her death, Akunyili, a delegate to the National Conference on the platform of Anambra State, had a seat on the front roll, sitting in front of Chief Gbadegesin Adedeji and second to former Minister of State, Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada. She was a member of Iyom Josephine Anenih-led Committee on Social Sector.
In mournful mood, yesterday, delegates also paid tributes to the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero.

The request for Akunyili’s immortalization was sequel to a motion by Abubakar Jijiwa, the director general, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and delegate to the conference representing Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.
Describing Akunyili as a “very uncompromising” woman who equally had passion for service to her country, Jijiwa recommended that a formal letter of condolence be written to her family, government and people of Anambra State and delivered by a delegation of the conference.

Contributing to the motion, another delegate from Ebonyi State representing the South-East, Professor Nnenna Oti, whose tribute evoked emotions, said the late Akunyili “was so many things to many people, adding that “she was a comet and an epitome of a complete woman”.

Aisha Ismail, a Kano State delegate, while recalling the deceased’s days at NAFDAC described Akunyili as a great Nigerian, saying anything done to immortalize her would be worthwhile. “I am sad and miserable for losing that woman. She proved to everybody that if given the opportunity, women could do more. She will be remembered for all times. Other women should strive to be like Dora. Anything done in her name will be worthwhile.”

Mrs. Felicia Sani, representing the market association said that Dora ”did quite a lot for this country. She fought doggedly and stuck her neck. A lot of women and children will be encouraged by her attitude.”

Others who spoke were Mrs. Amana Lawan Ali, a retired civil servant from Borno state who described Akunyili as a sister and boss having served under Akunyili as a permanent secretary; Chief Mike Ozekhome, a federal government delegate who also described Akunyili as a woman of an impeccable character and Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu, a Labour Party delegate who said that late Akunyili was a “straight, sincere and honest woman who hated injustice”.

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