Before her new portfolio, Akunyili was head of Nigeria’s state food and drug administration, NAFDAC. A tough job, and a position she recorded unparalleled excellence.
[Dora] won praise from Nigerians in the past seven years for having cut down on counterfeit and dangerous medicines. Nigeria has been plagued by tainted, fake or untested drugs since it gained independence from Britain in 1960. When Akunyili took over her post in 2001, a staggering 80 percent of the medications sold in Nigeria were deficient in one way or another… – VOA.
In charge of information and communication, Dora Akunyili has become a “lame-duck bureaucrat” – a mouth-piece of the government who must put her opinions and sentiments aside and “fall in line” whatever the circumstance may be. Now she must operate under close supervision and direct authorization of Aso Rock.
This is a really a loss for Nigeria and great deviation from Akunyili’s days at NAFDAC — where “her tenure has been hailed as a huge success in a country plagued by tainted, fake or untested drugs”.
Dora Akunyuli is a tough gun who made several ground-breaking moves in the food and drug industry. She even survived several assassination attempts financed by ruthless, deep pocketed merchants of Onitsha and Aba markets — Nigeria’s ground zero of the fake drugs and medicine business.
Her remarkably successful seven-year stint at NAFDAC was made possible not only because she is committed and driven by excellence, but because she operated almost under 100% autonomy, away from the undue — and often corrupting — interference of the federal government.
Media reports informed that the medicine merchants at Aba and Onitsha markets erupted into jubilation when Akunyili’s removal was announced. They were seen with their guns shooting into the air to celebrate.
And I thought to myself, they have very reason to celebrate…Akunyili’s removal may very well mark the demise of NAFDAC.