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Why Dora Akunyili Lost Health Ministry

Posted by Yinka Oladoyinbo, Akure on 2008/12/24 | Views: 1396 |

Why Dora Akunyili Lost Health Ministry


One of the greatest shocks of the recent cabinet reshuffle was the posting of former NAFDAC (National Food and Drug Administration) Director-General, Prof. Dora Akunyili, to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

One of the greatest shocks of the recent cabinet reshuffle was the posting of former NAFDAC (National Food and Drug Administration) Director-General, Prof. Dora Akunyili, to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Investigations by the Saturday Tribune revealed that Akunyili who was expected by many people to get the health portfolio lost to Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Director-General, National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), due to the influence of the First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua.

It was gathered that despite the public expectation that Dora would grab the health post, being a pharmacist, the first lady opted for Osotimehin because she had had a close working relationship with the former DG of NACA.

The first lady got close to Osotimehin because of her pet projects which had to do with HIV/AIDS and when it came to choosing between the health professionals, Turai ignored gender sentiments and the expectations of Nigerians and went for the former NACA chief.

She was said to have opted for the person she had worked with rather than Akunyili to whom she was not quite close.

Turai’s reasoning was said to be based on the fact that her HIV/AIDS campaign was very strategic to her and that she needed a minister of health she knew very well to ensure that her projects do not suffer.

As NACA boss, Osotimehin was said to have demonstrated strong loyalty to the first lady including being physically present in many of Turai’s programmes since she began her campaign against HIV/AIDS.

It was also gathered that sponsors of Akunyili put up strong campaign for posting her to the health ministry but could not match the influence of the first lady.
Investigations also revealed that one or two days before their swearing-in, Akunyili had got a hint that she had lost the battle to Osotimehin.

The former NAFDAC boss was said to have been told by some close family members that she should rather remain in NAFDAC instead of going to a ministry where she would be a stranger but she rejected the suggestion.

However, it was not clear whether it was the backlash of the struggle with the first lady’s choice that was responsible for her posting to a ministry that had nothing to do with health/medicine or even Science.

The shock that greeted her deployment to information/ Communications made reporters to ask for her reaction and she attributed it to God’s plan.

Asked on how it could be explained to Nigerians, she said, “What I will tell them is that posting is approved by God. Nothing happens without God’s approval.

“God wants me to be where I am today at this time and He has His purpose for where I am today and I can feel it. “Come to think of it, Nigeria ’s image needs, to some extent, to be revived.

“Image is important because if you don’t say what you are and if you don’t present it in the right way, there may be wide-spread misconceptions about what Nigeria and Nigerians are all about all over the world.

“We may not achieve the seven point agenda of Mr. President because if people get disinterested in Nigeria because of the negative media we receive and even in Nigeria, they will not even come to invest.

“As a matter of fact, the ministry that I occupy now is the soul of the nation. So I believe that God has put me here at this time to build on what my brother John Odey has done,” she insisted.IT was a day of glory for the late Justice Olajide Olatawura as he was finally laid to rest at his Ikole-Ekiti home on Friday amidst encomiums from prominent Nigerians from all walks of life.

Dignitaries present at the burial of the late legal icon included the state governor, Mr. Segun Oni, and his deputy, Dr. Sikiru Lawal; AC governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alfa Belgore, Justice Babalakin and Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission.

Also in attendance were Justice Sunday Akintan of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, a former Chief Judge of Ekiti State and presently, Justice, Court of Appeal, Abuja, Justice Silas Oyewole, incumbent Chief Judge of Ekiti State and Justice Kayode Sowoolu of the National Judiciary Reforms Commission.

Others included two former Inspector Generals of Police (IGP), Mr. Musiliu Smith and his immediate successor, Mr. Tafa Balogun; chairman, Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prince Dayo Adeyeye, and other top government officials from the state; Senator Ayo Arise and the other judges in the Ado Ekiti High Court, among several others.

In his sermon at Saint Paul Anglican Church, Ikole-Ekiti, where a funeral service was conducted for the departed, Bishop Samuel Abe, the Archbishop of Ondo Province and the Bishop of the Ekiti Diocese, Anglican Communion, described the late jurist as “an incorrigible judge, a straight forward man and a dedicated servant of God.”
Stating that the late Olatawura was a plain man who served the Ekiti Diocese of the Anglican Communion for 30 years as its chancellor, the cleric urged judges and other members of the judiciary to be upright, because, “the Great Judge will judge them according to their works.”

Bishop Abe who stated that judgment was inevitable after death, said that the judgment of God does not give room for a second chance, adding that uprightness was the way to eternal life for those who believe in God.

He also charged those at the helm of affairs, both at the state and national levels, to always take time out to monitor their projects and programmes to ensure proper implementation and for the benefit off the people.

Performing the dust to dust rite at the graveyard of the deceased, Governor Oni, who fought hard to hold back tears, described the late Olatawura as a man who stood for professionalism and integrity and would forever be remembered by all and sundry.
“We are grateful to God for the life of Baba. Everybody recognised him for his integrity, professionalism, good-naturedness and near perfection.

God will continue to abide with the family to attain more greatness, even more than Baba,” he said. The first daughter of the Olatawura Dynasty, Mrs. Arinola Ayeni, while speaking with newsmen, described the deceased as a wonderful and very accommodating man who showed love and affection to all in Ikole-Ekiti and its environs.
Responding to the passage of her father, the first child of the deceased, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemi Tanimowo, said that his death was sudden and painful, adding that she would miss many things about him.

“What can we do? Baba was a loving, caring and listening father. He was always there to listen to share and help to solve your problem with you. I always look forward to coming home for his love and advice.

“His death was a great loss and nobody can take his place”, she said. For Mr. Ranti Adebisi, a former AC governorship aspirant in the state, the late jurist was a proud son of Ikole-Ekiti whose life was exemplary and worthy of emulation.
“His life is a lesson in humility and the personalities that graced the funeral service organized in honour of the dead is an attestation to his greatness and a testimony to a fulfilled life. Baba’s life is worthy of emulation by the younger generation to which I belong,” he said.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown