If we, the ordinary citizens of Nigeria are feeling the pain of her loss so sharply, I can only imagine what her darling husband and children must be going through.
Speaking at the requiem mass on Tuesday, Dr. Chike recounted how his wife lived beyond the seven months her doctors gave her to live, saying she waived it as a pronouncement of men and not of God. Chike said:
“When I told her doctors said she would not live for more than seven months, she said doctors have spoken but God has not spoken and then she lived for another two years and three months.”
He also recalled how she kept holding water bowl for him to wash his hands and whenever he reminded her that she was a professor, she would say:
“I am Chike’s wife first before becoming a professor.”
The widower also recalled how his wife displayed a rare sense of patriotism when she returned her American passport as a citizen of the US so she could keep her Nigerian diplomatic passport. Chike described his late wife as an elephant, and said time would never be enough to talk about his late wife whom he fondly referred to as Dorothy.
President Goodluck Jonathan while paying tribute to the late Akunyili, addressed her children, saying:
“Your mother was a very dynamic woman because her works and identity have given you what silver and gold cannot give you. Yes, it might not translate to monetary rewards, but many will respect and want to assist you as her children because of her.
We pray that those of us serving now, whether President, Vice President, or others, when we die, people will respect our children because of our deeds like Dora. So you have to thank God for that.
Dora was a role model, her dressing represented the Nigerian woman, her love, character; she is a lady that will hardly leave our memory. Dora was more known as DG NAFDAC more than when she served as a minister. Most Nigerians knew Dora because of her service.
As a minister, Dora was good. We were very happy to work with her. She was diligent, intelligent, very forthright, and extremely patriotic and above all she was extremely brave and could say anything, right or wrong, and did not care whose ox is gored. That was Dora for you. She sought to protect the lives of Nigerians as DG of NAFDAC and never compromised as regards those who trafficked fake drugs.
One thing that endeared her to me is that, probably I’m one President that has worked with so many women. Atimes, you noticed rivalry amongst women but with her you, never noticed any rivalry. She was one of the few Nigerians that have made the whole country proud. I condole you all.”