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A tribute for Dora Akunyili – written in 2007

By Noel Ihebuzor

Ezigbo Ada Anyi,

Strange that an internal UNICEF exchange on which you were copied allowed
me to get in touch with a lady whose tales of courage and care  I have
heard but who I have not been privileged to meet in person as I have been
out of Nigeria for a bit now.
I have written a short poem for you to convey how I feel and to celebrate
this “meeting”.
written in a hurry, the poem is full of imperfections – but the intentions
are clean and should redeem these imperfections

Jisie ike – Chukwu ga na agba gi ume



For Dora Akunyili

 and to all like you

who care to dare

who dare to care


may your names be song forever in cadence of joy from the tops of iroko trees

may fame rightly gained grow and glow and blossom

till like a rainbow it embraces the entire sky

and lives are lightened and brightened by its bloom

and the boundaries of darkness eroded and rolled back by its ennobling beauty and brightness


long may your actions continue to be song

long and far and wide

on shores beyond seven rivers

beyond eight market days and nine hills will your story be told


Ada anyi, may your feat of courage conspire

with those of kindred spirits to inspire,

to loosen feet and consciences held down in lead

to refresh and renew souls, to reborn and restore values

so that a thousand like you in diverse callings in time

will emerge and converge


and redeem our country from its pain and shame


ogologo ndu, ezigbo ada nwanyi

ihu na anya Chukwu, amara ya na ebere ya buru kwa nke gi


and may He renew you whose actions renew and revitalize


as He will to all who care, who care to dare and who dare to care.


Noel Ihebuzor, Chef du Programme Education, UNICEF DRC 8, 8

  Dora Akunyili      <>                                                      

 Noel Ihebuzor    <>   

11/02/2007 01:30     PM                                                        



 Subject            Re: Etteh: sheath not hard swords

Dear Noel,

Many thanks for your mail.

Best regards,

Dora Akunyili

Noel Ihebuzor <> wrote:

Poem 2 

 Sheath Not Hard Swords

 Sheath not hard swords against the deceiver, 

speak not hard words against a brethren/”sisthren”, 


scatter not

let not gender strife

endanger a worthy cause,

for those that divide us,

divide their spoils without us, 

behind us,

and enfold us in mists of myths, 

in sweet coated slippery ideologies

of schisms and rifts, 


let not the victims divide

 let us be on course for the time is rife
 tide is high
 and let us all roll with the tide and times

 in times present
 while we count time slowly like slow snails
 may those who rip off of our land,
 not reap from our toils
 may their shares in the end be shearing shame
 when in the end, inevitably, our fame emerges

 finished 0900 hours 02/11/2007 –

this second poem was an appeal for rallying round a good, cause particularly after Dora’s intentions were questioned and a good cause then faced the threat of being split and thus weakened by appeals to gender, religion and region! Naija sef!