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National Confab: Yet Another Delegate Is Gone

By James Akpandem
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The National Conference sitting in Abuja, on Saturday June 7, 2014, received yet another sad news of the demise of a delegate, Professor Dora Akunyili. Professor Akunyili's death brings to three the number of such incidents recorded in the life of the Conference, inaugurated on March 17, 2014. According to a family source, she died in the early hours of Saturday, June 7, 2014.

Professor Akunyili's death was preceded by that of Barrister Hamma Misau (a delegate on the platform of the Retired Police officers), from Bauchi State, on Thursday, March 27, 2014; and Dr Mohammed Jumare (A delegate from Kaduna State) who died on Monday May 5, 2014.

Chairman of Conference and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi expressed sadness at the demise of one of Nigeria's finest administrators and, on behalf of the principal officers and delegates to the Conference, expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Research and Documentation, Mr Oronto Douglas shared his grief with the Conference and described the late Professor Akunyili as 'a most amazing patriot who dedicated her life in defense of our country'.

Professor Akunyili was born in Makurdi in Benue State on July 17, 1954. She was the former Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and later Minister of Information and Communications. She was a pharmacist and an astute administrator who gained international recognition and won hundreds of awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights.

She eventually ventured into partisan politics and ran for election as Senator for Anambra Central on the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2011, but lost. Her last official assignment was at the National Conference where she was a delegate representing Anambra State. She died in an Indian hospital in the early hour of today, after a battle with cancer.


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