Chidiogo Blessing Akunyili-Parr, one of the six biological children of late Dora Akunyili has explained why the former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) did not pilfer public funds at the agency despite ample opportunity to do so.
Akunyili-Parr, who is an author and human development consultant, attributed her late mother’s honesty on the job to her uncompromising nature, enormous self-belief, faith in God, staunchness of her belief, and her dedication to the work that was at hand.
Akunyili died aged 60 in 2014.
In 2008, she was appointed Minister of Information and Communications but came to the limelight when she held sway as NAFDAC DG from 2001 to 2009.
In the latter role, she is credited with bringing Nigeria’s drug counterfeiting cartels to their knees.
So effective was the amazon on her job that an attempt was made on her life on December 26, 2003.
Speaking about her mother, Akunyili-Parr told Sunday Punch spoke glowingly about lifelong lessons gleaned from her popular mother.
One of such, she said, was honesty and dedication to duty, noting that her mother never stole from the agency despite ample opportunity to do so.
“Witnessing my mother’s life has been a lesson on knowing yourself and knowing what your beliefs are, and never compromising.
“She taught us to know and trust in the importance of the work we want to do, so we are not swayed by the wind.
“Even though the world may want you to compromise; even though they may have a different idea of how you should behave or who you should be, the list extends to bribery and corruption, it is important that you know yourself and know what matters.
“This is the truth of my mother’s lessons. She taught us to have deep trust in ourselves as God’s creation.
“She was very strong in knowing herself, and trusting the hand of God in her life and how God was guiding her in the work that she did.
“We have to trust that our work matters, no matter how small; and even if you think nobody will see the goodness or integrity of what we do.
“Think of the money she returned in London. It is important to do the right thing even if nobody sees it. It was very easy for her to have pocketed a lot of money at NAFDAC and nobody would ever know.
“They would still see her as a great woman who did a good job. But she would always say to us: “Even if no one saw it, God sees!”
“She was not interested in doing anything that went against who she was or against her God, which would, in turn, negatively impact the work that she did.”