The prestigious Women Development Center, Awka has been renamed as the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Center, Awka as part of a well-organised
effort to immortalize the former Minister of Information and fake drugs czar, who fell to cancer last year.
[Photo above: Dr. Chike Akunyili, widower of the late Minister of Information and Chief Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State unveiling a plaque to commemorate the renaming of the Women Development Center, Awka to Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Center, Awka]
The renaming of the Center came after a memorial mass that was attended by prominent citizens like Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President, Chief Victor Umeh, former National Chairman of APGA, Iyom Josephine Aneni, PDP Women Leader, Onyeka Onwenu, CEO of the National Center for Women Development as well as key members of the Anambra State Executive Council Members.
Remembering the late Amazon in a brief speech title “Immortalizing Prof. Dora Akunyili,” the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano described her as a beloved sister, daughter, wife, mother, teacher, moralist, crusader, role model, merchant of hope and angel of light, pointing out that in gathering to immortalize her, Ndi Anambra were simply trying to remind themselves that “the greatest legacy a man or woman can leave is a good name.
Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here to affirm the wise saying of our elders that ezi afa ka ego – a good name is better than gold!”
Chief Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State welcoming Dame Virgy Etiaba, former governor of Anambra State to the Prof. Dora Akunyili Memorial Mass in Awka. With them are Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President and Hon. Rita Maduagwu, Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
Governor Obiano further noted that the life and times of the late czar should serve as a strong call to moral re-armament among Ndi Anambra. Waxing philosophical, Obiano observed that “we finally begin to live when we choose to live in the service of the people; when our lives bring hope, happiness and fulfillment to people around us. Dora reminds us that a life of service to the community is the true life of meaning.”
Recalling some of the finest moments of Professor Akunyili on numerous national assignments, Governor Obiano observed that most Nigerians were familiar with Dora’s legend. “We are familiar with her courage in the face of extreme danger; her unwavering commitment to the cause she believed in even when a bullet peeled off her head gear, her passionate speech at the National Conference while she endured the biting pains of cancer and of course her blunt refusal to be cowed when the struggle for succession that followed the death of President Yar’Adua needed a rallying point.”
Recalling the late Amazon’s historic memo to her fellow ministers where she declared her readiness to pay the ultimate price in the struggle to return Nigeria to the path of certainty in the cloudy days that preceded the passage of former President Umar Yar’Adua, Governor Obiano maintained that Dora was willing to walk alone once she was convinced that she was walking in righteousness and in light.
Quoting the famous lines of Martin Luther King Junior that “a man who has nothing to die for is not fit to live,” Governor Obiano argued that Dora had taught Nigerians the values of standing alone. “She has taught us that it is better to stand alone for righteousness than to enjoy the momentary satisfaction that comes from standing in the company of others.”
The governor further observed that in honouring Dora, Anambra State has built a psychological monument to her name. We lift her up as a beacon of hope to our people. We hold her up as a shining example to our youths and we celebrate her as the quintessence of virtue to our women! Surely, Umu nwanyi Anambra cannot accept mediocrity again because Dora Akunyili lived among us. Truly, umuada Anambra can no longer be restrained from dreaming big dreams because they walk in the footsteps of Dora Akunyili.”
Arguing that the late Minister still lives through her numerous legacies, Governor Obiano ended his address with a quote from Scottish Poet, Thomas Campbell that “to live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.”