Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, co-ordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, shocked her audience on Thursday night with a revelation that she was diagnosed with cancer in 1997.
Paying tribute to Oronto Douglas, former presidential adviser who died from cancer-related complications on April 9, 2015, the finance minister said: “Oronto and I had something in common:
we both had cancer.” Silence and shock enveloped THISDAY Dome, Abuja, the venue of the night of tributes organised by Douglas’ friends and associates as she narrated her story. “I underwent treatment for three years. I had surgery, did chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
I had the last surgery 15 years ago and I was declared cancer-free. I am a cancer survivor,” she said. She did not disclose the type of cancer but said she encouraged Douglas to be strong as he battled till the very end. “I told Oronto to fight for his life. Despite the cancer, he continued to work hard. That is the part of him I want to remember, not the weight loss,” she said. Douglas was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2008 and initially given six months to live, but a new specialist gave him treatments that prolonged his life for seven years. His weight loss had become very obvious in the last two years, but he battled on and kept working late nights, according to President Goodluck Jonathan. During his last visit to his doctor in March, Douglas was told he had only three weeks to live because the complications had gone beyond remedy, Jonathan revealed on a condolence visit to the family a day after his death. He died exactly three weeks after. The night of tributes was attended by Anyim Pius Anyim, who represented the president, Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC chairman, DSP Alamieyeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa state whom Douglas served as a commissioner between 2004 and 2005, Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti state, and Tunde Bakare, senior pastor of Latter Rain Assembly.
Culled from the Cable