Dora Nkem Akunyili (July 1954 – 2014) was the Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria from 2001 to 2008.
Dora Akunyili was born in Markurdi, Benue State to Chief and Mrs. Paul Young Edemobi. She had her West African School Certificate Examination (WASC) in Queen of Rosary Secondary School, Enugu state, where she graduated with Grade I Distinction. She won the Eastern Nigerian Government Post Primary Scholarship and the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate Scholarship. She had six children and three grandchildren
After the death of Vivian her sister, who died after taking fake insulin injection in 1988. Dora came at the forefront of the fight against drug counterfeiters.
She was the Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications from 2008 to 2010. She was a pharmacist and governmental administrator who gained international recognition. She won several awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights.
Akunyili ran for election as Senator for Anambra Central for the APGA in April 2011 but was defeated by Chris Ngige of the ACN. She immediately sent a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission disputing the result. She died in an Indian hospital on 7 June 2014 after a battle with uterine cancer.
Her funeral took place on 27 and 28 August, and was attended by many dignitaries from within Nigeria and beyond, including President Goodluck Jonathan (2010 to 2015), the then Nigerian President and a former Nigerian military ruler General Yakubu Gowon.
Akunyili was laid to rest at Agulu in Anambra state.
Dora Nkem Akunyili was a Nigeria woman with over 900 awards. Some of the awards Prof. Akunyili received in her lifetime were:
Time Magazine Award 2006 (“One of the eighteen heroes of our time”wink, Time Magazine Inc.
Person of the Year 2005 Award – Silverbird Communications Ltd, Lagos, 5 January. 2006
Award of Excellence – Integrated World Services (IWS), December 2005
Award of Excellence – Advocacy for Democracy Dividends International, Lagos, 17 December, 2005
Meritorious Award 2005 – St. Michael’s Military Catholic Church, Apapa, Lagos, 4 December, 2005
African Virtuous and Entrepreneurial Women Merit Award 2005 – African Biographical Network, December, 2005
Award for the Best Government Parastatal – National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), December, 2005
An Icon of Excellence Award – The African Cultural Institute and Zenith Bank Plc, 8 December 2005
2005 Grassroots Human Rights Campaigner Award London-based Human Rights Defense Organization, 8 December. 2005
Most Innovative Director Award Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, October, 2005.
Integrity Award 2003 – Transparency International.