‘How Akunyili dropped her US green card for Nigeria’s passport’


Dr. Chike Akunyili, husband of former Information minister, Professor Dora Akinyuli has disclosed how her late wife who won the American lottery dropped her US green card at the immigration post when she was asked to choose to be either a US citizen or a Nigerian.
Akunyili spoke at the Requiem Mass in his wife’s honour at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral Catholic Church, Abuja.
This action, he said, demonstrated her true love for her country both in words and in deeds.
“We went to Florida, and there at the immigration, they told her look you are an American citizen (because she won the lottery and that was what favoured us). And here you are you have a Nigerian diplomatic passport, you must surrender one. She used her left hand to drop her green card and retained her diplomatic passport. So you can see the level of her love for this country.”
He thanked President Jonathan and his wife for the comfort they offered him in his moment of grief, stressing that the special valedictory session by the Federal Executive Council also consoled him.
He said: “When Dora died I saw the special FEC session in her honour, that helped me in my grief. When I also had the opportunity to meet the President in his office,, he held my hands and comforted with kind words, he said “give me any date for Dora, I will be there and today he is here”.
“Once in her local government, they brought a trailer load of fertilisers, what did Dorathy do? She shared all to the community. They told her that this was not how it is done and she said, this is how it will be done”.
“Even as a professor if you see her in the home, she will hold water for me to wash my hand. And I will tell her, mummy you are a professor and she will say, I married Nkem before I became a professor”.
He went on: “One day we went for medical check up and we found a lump at her lower abdomen. Doctors said she had seven months. But she said you are not the husband I married, you are always dejected what happened? And I told her that the doctors said she had seven months to live. She said doctors have spoken, God has not spoken, seven months became two years and three months.”
“I want to thank our children, they were always there contributing what they could. We had contact with all the best medical doctors in the world because three of her children are doctors in US.”
“Dora had a message for this country it was a message of love, courage and steadfastness. Even when she was in pain she still attended the national conference. You all heard what she said at the conference that ‘a country grow great when old men plant trees, whose shade they will not live to enjoy.”
“She told me I will serve this country with the last drop of my blood. Many did not want her to go because of her health, she said she will go to the conference. She said Nigeria first and me second,” he said.
The First Reading was taken by one of her daughters while one of her sons took the Second Reading.
Prayers were said for her and her family, for the sick, among others.
Notable personalities at the ceremony were First Lady, Patience Jonathan, Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, members of National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, Chief Edwin Clark, Andy Uba, Stella Okoli, former ministers, Pauline Tallen.


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