Agulu community stands still as Akunyili is interred
Agulu community of Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Thursday,
stood still for several hours, as a result of the burial ceremony of the former minister of Information and Communication, Late Prof Dora Akunyili.
Over 50 Catholic Bishops and Archbishops, including Francis cardinal Arinze and John Cardinal Onaiyekan, 600 priests, 200 reverend sisters were at the Madonna Catholic Church, Agulu, where a funeral mass was celebrated for the former NAFDAC strong woman.
Dignitaries, who were at the occasion include; former Anambra governor, Chief Peter Obi, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, former Minister, John Nnia Nwodo, wives of Ebonyi and Abia State governors, Josephine Elechi and Odochi Orji.
Also at the funeral were- Former CBN boss, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, DG Standard Organisation of Nigeria, (SON), Dr Joseph Odumodu, former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Ministers of Power and Health, Profs Chinedu Nebo and Onyebuchi Chukwu, and DG of Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Ms Aruma Oteh.
Others are Senators Chris Ngige, Annie Okonkwo, Ayogu Eze, Minister of Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, DG of NAFDAC, Paul Orhii, former governor Allison Madueke, Onyeka Onwenu, Victor Umeh, former President Obasanjo, who was represented by his wife, Bola and Gen Yakubu Gowon among several others.
In a sermon by Rev Monsignor Akpunonu of Biggard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Akunyili was described as a woman of substance whose position did not deter her from performing her role as a mother and wife.
Akpunonu said Akunyili lived and worked for her country, Nigeria, and that every Nigerian should emulate Akunyili and think of what they can do to better the country.
The son of the deceased, Dr Edozie Akunyili recalled how her mother insisted on giving them the best of training, but never allowed her status to influence the kind of life her children lived.
“I remember that even when I was quite grown, mum refused to buy me a car. She insisted that I did not need it, and that if it became essential, then I should be able to buy myself one. While I was treating a patient the other day, I felt very bad when he eventually died, even though I had done my best. I told myself that if mum were here, she would have insisted that I ensured he did not die”, he recounted.
He called on all Nigerians to always strive for a way to make Nigeria great as that was what her mother stood for all her life, even when it was obvious that her health was failing.
The Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano while thanking dignitaries who came from all over the country to honour Akunyili said that the galaxy of personalities that had assembled to bid her fare well was an attestation to the fact that she lived a worthy life.
He called on the family members of the late Dora Akunyili not to grieve, but to take solace in the fact that Akunyili touched several lives, which culminated in her bagging over 800 awards during her lifetime.
The remains of Akunyili was lowered into mother earth in her compound, which is located between the zonal office of the National Food Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) office and the school of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Agulu at about 2:15 pm.