Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said Akunyili became a professor during his tenure as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nzukka.
Nebo regretted that death had denied the nation of a woman who rebranded Nigeria with a phrase that all Nigerians have come to admire.
He also recalled that Akunyili courageously spoke out at the darkest period of the nation’s political history when former President Umar Yar’Adua was sick.
“She had an electrifying personality. As a country, we have lost a gem,” he said.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Musa Sada, described Akunyili’s demise as a great loss to friends, family and all Nigerians.
He recalled that while Akunyili was a minister, no matter how gloomy the situation was in the council, she had a way of lightening up the atmosphere.
Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, recalled that Akunyili’s rare display of honesty at the Petroleum Trust Fund marked her out as an upright person.
He described her valedictory speech to the council on 2011 when she wanted to go and pursue her senatorial ambition as touchy and evergreen.
He added that her last appearance at the ongoing national conference would remain indelible for the epoch-making speech she presented, in which she eulogised the President for setting up the conference.
Minister of State, Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, said all Nigerians could attest to the fact that Akunyili who was blessed with what he called ‘uncommon candle spirit’ put up a stellar performance and uncommon transformation in NAFDAC.
He said, “She was a great woman of history. The last time I saw her at the inauguration of the national conference, I did not recognise her.
“I greeted somebody seated close to her and I left. She called me and I was almost in tears when I recognised her. She said ‘my brother, it is well.’”