It was yet another honour for immediate past Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, as the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) over the weekend bestowed the Integrity and Good Governance Award on her.
Honoured alongside Prof. Akunyili were former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.); His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria; one-time Minister of Information and Orientation, Prof. Jerry Gana; and Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. The awards were conferred on the recipients at an impressive ceremony during the 2ndNational Award Service/Educational Trust Fund held Saturday at Methodist Cathedral of Unity, Wuse II, Abuja.
Akunyili, according to CCN President, Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia, was honoured in recognition of her life of integrity while she held public office.
In her acceptance speech, Prof. Akunyili, who is a member of the National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, noted that the award was coming almost two years after she last held public office. “It is thus yet another reminder that Nigerians do sincerely appreciate the little I was able to do with the opportunity given me to serve my fellow countrymen and women,” she said.
Prof Akunyili, who was represented by Engr. David A. Ozigi, described the award as “a good omen because appreciation has the potential of encouraging people to do more, and by doing more, we all can contribute towards making our dear country, Nigeria, a better place.”
The one-time Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) pledged her commitment “towards continually living an exemplary Christian life of integrity,” adding: “I call on all Christians to also do so – for that is one way of preaching the Gospel – just as I call on all Nigerians to rise to the challenge of making the country a better place by living a life of integrity and ensuring good governance, for without this, Nigeria cannot make any meaningful progress.”
Reflecting on her days as a public official, Prof. Akunyili said: “Occasions like this constantly remind me that the war I waged against fake food and drugs during my days as NAFDAC Director General was well worth it. I couldn’t stand a situation where thousands of innocent people were dying from the deadly effects of fake food and drugs and I was prepared to put my life on the line to reverse the situation. It was also this concern for the people’s welfare that made me to embark on the Rebranding Nigeria project during my days as Minister of Information and Communications. I could not stand a situation where Nigerians were being demonized and treated as sub-humans abroad just because of the nefarious activities of a few bad eggs; so I had to embark on a campaign to tell the world that Nigerians are Good People and that Nigeria is a Great Nation. I am happy that almost four years after I left NAFDAC and close to two years after I served as a Minister, my little achievements continue to be celebrated, as evidenced by this award by the Christian Council of Nigeria.”
Founded in 1929, the Christian Council of Nigeria is one of the five blocs that make up the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). It comprises Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Methodist Church Nigeria, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, The African Church and several other orthodox but non-Catholic churches.