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Dorothy Nkem Akunyili: The Adorable “Dora”

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Image of Dorothy Dora Akunyili

There is no doubt that Professor Dora Akunyili was a woman most to be adored, and rightly so because of her unparalleled achievements as a pharmacist. This is due to the way she brought sanity into the drug manufacturing industry in Nigeria when serving as Director-General of the National Agency for Drug and Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Image of Professor Dorothy "Dora" Akunyili
Professor Dorothy “Dora” Akunyili (1954-2014)

Akunyili earned the respect of many, both at home and abroad and this could be attested by the number of awards she bagged at the national and international levels. It was this great performance that earned her the portfolio as a full cabinet minister in both the Yar’Adu’a and Jonathan administrations.

Early Life and Education

Dora Akunyili was born Dorothy Nkem Edemobi in Makurdi, Benue State, on July 14, 1954 to Chief and Mrs. Paul Young Edemobi, but brought up in Nanka, in Anambra State of Nigeria.

Her educational career started with her passing the First School Leaving Certificate with Distinction at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Isuofia, Anambra State in 1966, and the West African School Certificate (WASC) with Grade I Distinction in 1973 from Queen of the Rosary Secondary School, Nsukka, both in Nigeria.

Akunyili got her First Degree in Pharmacy B.Pharm (Hons) in 1978 and her PhD in 1985 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN.

Professor Akunyili enjoyed many academic awards and recognitions during her lifetime.

Educational Career

Akunyili started her pharmaceutical career as a Hospital health care provider from 1978 to 1981, at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, after which she ventured into academics as a Graduate Assistant (Research Fellow) at the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UNN, from 1982 to 1986.

In the University system, she progressed gradually from Lecturer I in 1986 till she became Senior Lecturer in 1990.

She was transferred to the College of Medicine, UNN in 1992, where she was made a Consultant Pharmacologist in 1996, a position she held until 12 April 2001.

Due to her love for teaching and nurturing young ones, she was also a part-time