Why Dora Akunyili should not head any organ or agency in Nigeria again

The federal cabinet may roar back to life soon as Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is set to retain some of the 42 ministers relieved of their jobs following the dissolution of the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF). We learnt the list of the 21 nominees to be retained will be forwarded to the Senate anytime from now for confirmation. We also learnt that the Presidency is considering six names as likely replacement for Professor Maurice Iwu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

According to sources in the Presidency, names being considered as likely replacement for Iwu include Prof. Attahiru Jega, a former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim, rtd. Major-General Ishola Williams, president of Transparency Nigeria, Prof Dora Akunyili, immediate past Information and Communications Minister, Col. Abubakar Umar, former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, and former Nigeria Bar Association, NBA president. 

Dora Akunyili who? Who will want to appoint Dora into any sensitive position in Nigeria again? Have we not seen enough of her?  The Akunyili I know now worship power, and she worships it with her whole body, her whole heart, her whole spirit and, in fact, her whole being. For her, nothing is too small or too great to do to acquire power and flaunt it. Her love of publicity is part of her endless scheming for power. Once she grabs it, Mrs Akunyili immediately and unceremoniously abandons all who helped her. Our Dora at every turn reminds me of the proverb about the man who on using a ladder to climb to the top quickly destroyed it so that no other person could benefit from it.  If she can betray the Yar Adua’s that appointed her as minister, why say she won’t betray Goodluck Jonathan. 

I have been on one of Dora’s fans when she was head of NAFDAC. I was prepared to die defending her. But honestly, since she accepted the office of the Information Minister for President Yar Adua led government in her desperation to continue to be in office, she has become a shadow of herself. She went about telling Nigerians lies upon lies, defending government failures and deceits with pride. Even when there was billions of naira budgeted to provide us with darkness, she kept defending the government. Then she was never guided by the Holy Spirit to tell us the truth. 

Remember when she came out shamelessly to tell the world that as a minister for information, her job was only to help the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) carry their files to the president without making an input at all. This was when she desperately attempted to exonerate herself from the high level fraud that greeted the contract award for procurement of broadcast equipment for NTA for the just concluded U-17 FIFA football tournament hosted by Nigeria. That is the ‘saint obi’ of a woman. 

As if that is not enough, she was the same person who came openly to defend the so-called cabal’s insistence on President Yar Adua’s right to govern from anywhere in the world. That he is medically fit and all there was to be told. But about some weeks ago, Professor Akunyili wrote a memo to her cabinet colleagues asking them to make Vice President Goodluck Jonathan the Acting President in accordance with Section 145 of the Constitution. Nothing is wrong with making Jonathan the Acting president but it was a dramatic volte face for someone who had on two previous occasions after the Executive Council meetings addressed the press where she strongly defended Yar’Adua’s fitness for the country’s leadership. 

Dora made it the first time in our history where council Memo became public knowledge no sooner than it was written, let alone submitted. Even directors in the Ministries who normally prepare such memos swear to an oath of secrecy before working on them. Dora broke the oath of secrecy. Dora’s reasons for sending her memo to every media were for her to be seen as a fanatical supporter of Dr Jonathan—the new kid on the block– so that she could retain her cabinet membership, and to regain her public image which has been declining disastrously since she became the Minister of Information. Not satisfied with the plethora of articles she and her numerous aides have been churning out every second eulogising her for her so-called courage in breaking ranks with her colleagues over Yar’adua’s health status, Mrs Akunyili went on a whistle-stop campaign of media interviews castigating her colleagues dubbed by the press as the cabal for hiding the president from everyone.

There is no serious government anywhere in the world where cabinet members attack themselves in the open. The doctrine of collective responsibility, for instance, makes it mandatory that ministers defend government policies in public, including those they may have opposed strongly as individuals during cabinet discussions. Dora when she got facts that president Yar’adua was not to recover on time to resume office as they expected, immediately tried to outsmart Nigerians by defecting to the winning siding claiming to be standing for the truth and insisting the Nigerian Constitution be complied with after serving Nigerians with lies. This is crass opportunism and greed for power. 

After the 2009 Anambra governorship election which saw the lost of PDP, the world was shocked to see Dora Akunyilli summon and sponsor a so-called Anambra State PDP stakeholder’s reconciliation meeting where she passionately regretted the loss of PDP and begged them to walk together for the progress and interest of PPD alone. Is this the kind of person that should replace Iwu as INEC boss? How can she then lead INEC to deliver free and fair election that will ensure the rejection or failure of PDP if Nigerians so insist and desire? 

In her desperation to remain politically relevant, she has only few days ago got the Catholic Women Organisation to honour her with an Award of “Incorruptible mother”. Who confirmed that she is incorruptible? EFCC, ICPC or NASS? Has she been investigated? How did she manage the billions of naira spent so far for her Nigeria “rebranding” campaign? This is very important to Nigerians to know how she disbursed the funds and to who she gave the contracts. How transparent was it? Honestly, for me, Akunyili has failed and hurt Nigerians so badly that she must never be allowed to lead any organ or agencies of our father land again. 

-Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema,Imo state,Nigeria