ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Dr. (Sir) Benjamin Anyene, 68 years old , born on June 8, 1951 and passed away on December 29, 2019. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Francis Ukwuije on March 3, 2020
Celebrating An Exceptional Medical Professional and Foremost Nationalist.

I do not know how to begin as I am still processing the news of the passing of Dr. Ben Anyene.

It was not just long that we discussed the Adoption Model of Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme and Dr. Ben offered to adopt and pay for the poor people in his village. I connected him immediately with the Executive Secretary of ASHIA and plans had only begun.

I lack words to describe Dr. Anyene. As at the time I joined the Federal Ministry of Health in 2007, Dr. Ben was already a towering personality and a leading voice who pushed for virtually all that have been achieved in the Nigerian system to date.

My admiration of him as a selfless and fearless Medical Doctor and foremost Nationalist reached its crescendo when in 2014 as the Head of Health Financing and Focal Person for the National Health Act in the Federal Ministry of Health, I came to learn that Dr. Anyene was one of the 3 Visioners who scripted the first draft of the National Health Bill. True to his usual poise, he remained faithful on the frontlines, advocating for the proper implementation of the Act till his final breath. My only regret is that this selfless and astute professional who put in all he could to enact this Act did not live to see his vision blossom into full implementation.

I will miss your wise counsel and fatherly guidance Dr. Ben. I have not forgotten the challenge you gave me towards improving the health system and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria. I pray by the special grace of God, not to disappoint you.

Rest on, the indefatigable Dr. Ben Anyene. Rest on my dear friend and great mentor. May the good Lord be kind to you.

Dr. Francis Ukwuije
Posted by Uche Anyanwagu on February 24, 2020
I sadly learnt of the death of Dr Anyene on a post on LinkedIn by a friend.

I recall meeting him in 2018 on a BA flight to London. He was heading to US. We sat on the same row. We exchanged pleasantries and talked all through the journey.

Once he realised I was also a medical doctor with a PhD in Epidemiology, our bond grew stronger. Instantly, he became a father as well to me.

I learnt from him, and later read in many quarters, of his great works in the Nigerian health sector - health advocacy, Nigerian health bill, and many more. We promised to keep in touch. I did for the period he was in US but we somewhere lost contact till now.

Please accept my deepest condolences. Dr Anyene was a great man - humble, friendly, warm, and welcoming. I will ever cherish our meeting and I pray GOD grants him the eternal rest he deserves.

As a family, May we all take heart and take solace that Dr Anyene was a good father who inspired many while he was here.

May his loving soul rest in peace.

Uche Anyanwagu MD, PhD
Posted by Godwin Aja on February 22, 2020
Dr. Ben Anyene was a friend. His contributions to health systems strengthening in Nigeria cannot be forgotten. As Chairman of HERFON BOT, he mobilized many professionals to support his vision. While we surely miss him, his legacy lives on.

May the Holy Spirit comfort his family!

Prof. Godwin Aja
Babcock University
Posted by Adelyne Udensi on February 20, 2020
The Doc, it was a rude shock to me when I heard it this morning . We at Pan Ndi Igbo Foundation shall miss you and your wise counsel greatly. A Foundation/legacy you tried so much to build for our young generation.
Ben,it is difficult to believe we wont see again here on this earth, but I am sure that we shall not miss heaven, where we shall meet to part no more. Adieu Ben (THE DOC)
Sleep On brother!!
Rest In The Bossom Of The Lord.
Posted by George Alexander on February 16, 2020
Arthors Ibe Technical Investment Ltd,,
We supplied battery to you Daddy,, but we could not supply life,,
The one who gives life loves you more and chose you to be with him at this time,,
Chigbo George
Posted by Nwankwo Chinedu on February 14, 2020
Uncle Anyene As I always Call You.
Just like a dream you are no more. I received the news with deep shock and heavy heart. You affected persons of different ages and changed so many lives for good. Your mentorship is equal to none. You shared so many experiences with me while mentoring me Sir. You are indeed an experience and a super hero to mankind. We had a discussion in may 2019, and I was waiting to see you in December 2019 to update you on the progress of the advice as usual, little did I know that the dark days were close. Your Exit was really abrupt. The Mighty has indeed fallen. We can't question God, but take Solace in God alone. May God grant you eternal rest in his Bosom. Rest in peace Dr Anyene, Rest well Omuta Ozi, Rest well Uncle Chukwudum.
Posted by Emezie Nwangene on February 14, 2020
Omuta Ozi !
Ur death was a rude shock to many who knew you.Never a time I visited you ,you will not say " Emerie my son" Keep pushing God will bless your efforts. Who are we to question the authority of the Almighty?

Its hard to say good bye Doc.Adieu
Posted by Ola Raheem on February 14, 2020
Adieu Dr BCN Anyene

OMG! Didn't here of Dr. Ben Anyene's demise since December 2019.

I had a rare opportunity to work with, and benefitted from the expertise of Dr. Ben Anyene as the Vice-Chairman to the Technical Committee for the production of the Patients' Bill of Rights (PBoR) which he eminently Chaired. The PBoR was the initiative of Mr. Babatunde Irukera, the DG/CEO of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Nigeria.

Wow! Dr. Anyene certainly lived a life & bequeathed legacies worthy of a medical giant that he was & impacted lives cutting across the various strata of the society!

May his Creator be pleased with his soul even as I prayerfully condole the family for the fortitude to bear his irreparable loss. Amen.
Adieu Doc Ben!

Ola Raheem
Director, Planning Research & Strategy
FCCPC, Maitama, Abuja FCT
14th February 2020
Posted by Bolaji Akerele on February 14, 2020


TRIBUTE TO LATE DR BENJAMIN CHUKWUDUM NNAMDI ANYENE, 8 JUNE 1951 TO 29 DECEMBER 2019

Benjamin Anyene enrolled at the College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) in October 1975 by direct entry with a Bachelor's degree earned from the USA. A polite, amiable and unassuming character, Ben as he was popularly known, combined his academic pursuit with students' politics and social activities.

In 1978, he vied for the position of the President of the Medical Students' Association and won in a keenly contested election. He ran the office successfully as a team player and a good leader.
Ben was a member of the prestigious Zee Club and participated actively in her activities.

His circle of friends at CMUL included Mike Ileka, Emeka Oguike, Uche Iheme, Onwuanyi, Major Onwukwe, Bolere Ketebu and Jayne Mberekpe. Ben was exceptional in the group as he was more or less the group's adviser/mentor, he was a naturally born peacemaker/leader.

Ben's leadership qualities continued after graduation from the Medical School in 1980. Post-NYSC, he established a clinic, MEDICS Clinic, at Apapa and he was the first Zonal Chairman of the Association of General Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria of that zone.

Ben served as the Commissioner for Health in Anambra State and at various times ran an NGO focused on access to health services and improved health care.

In November 2019, as soon as Ben learnt about contributions towards the final burial rites of one of our colleagues, he sent his donation promptly not knowing that the same fate awaited him shortly.

Ben we loved you, but your Creator Loves you more. May your friendly and gentle soul find rest in the Lord. May God's continued protection abide with your family.

Adieu Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene, 8th June 1951 to 29th December 2019, a great advocate of good health for Nigerians.

Members of the 75-80 Set
College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Posted by Obiageli Caroline on February 11, 2020
On behalf of the family of Sir Shedrack A and Lady Obiageli Carol Udoye, we Sympathize with the family of late Sir (Dr) Ben Anyene's family on the demise of Their Husband, Father, and Brother... Please Accept our heartfelt condolences.
                        
                          Sir S.A Udoye.
Posted by Ogonna Okoli Ogonna on February 9, 2020
Oh well,'Omutaozi' the moments we shared as political allies of same ideology for Orumba North are memories that can't easily be deleted. I learnt a lot from you during our campaign tours in 2007.Lots more to learn from you but Alas. Farewell dear friend,ally and brother.
Heartfelt condolences to Ochiliozuo and members of your family
Posted by Dimonyeka Mark on February 8, 2020
Your death came as a shock to me, just like a father to me I will solely miss your advice and encouraging words. DR. BEN ANYENE may your gentle soul rest in peace till we meet to part no more. #YOU WERE A GOOD MAN
Posted by Ify Otaluka Onukwugha on February 8, 2020
Revelation 21:4

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Dr Anyene, you will be sorely missed.
My sincere condolences to your family.
Posted by Udoka Ene on February 7, 2020
A gentle man to the core! Dr Ben Anyene , May your soul rest in peace. I pray for God’s comfort for all your loved ones.
Posted by Moji Makanjuola on February 1, 2020
        Dr Benjamin: A Reporter's Delight 
Dr Benjamin had a larger than life character; he was a health system advocate who went beyond the call of duty,especially during the turbulent times of the Anti-Polio Vaccines.
He was a Reporter's Delight whose ultimate goal was to get results to improve health care delivery in Nigeria. He had the most unassuming personality.
Dr Benjamin was a true Nigerian devoid of any Nepotism and he had a staunch can-do spirit that only few Nigerians' possess, as he ardently believed that the Health Sector in Nigeria can be better.
Indeed we have lost a rare gem in the Health sector, a great professional and advocate.
May his soul rest in perfect peace                                                                    Moji Makanjola
Posted by Sir Steve Ezendiokwere on January 30, 2020
Eulogy to Late Sir Dr. Rotn. Ben Anyene

Rotn. Dr. Ben, like he was popularly known and called by our club members, was a Rotarian of note. A quintessential man, known to be unique in his approach to matters that impact the less privileged persons and humanity. He had a large heart, very accommodating and inspirational to many. Always was in the forefront to play his part when issues that bother on positively touching the lives of less privileged and needy persons in our society were in the front burner and in the club agenda. He was never found wanting, he truly inspired many through his persuasive ways of speech and openness demonstrated, including this writer.

Rotn. Dr. Ben Anyene was a founding member, past president and for many years, member, board of directors, Rotary Club of Tincan Island, Rotary International District 9110. The club will surely miss his wise counsels. Together with his cofounding members of RC of Tincan Island, they truly got together serving humanity as in destiny of Rotary recognizing that Real happiness is Helping Others.

As a Noble Knight of St Christopher (KSC) and God fearing, he exemplified compassion and humility. No wonder he was so honoured. Sir Ben was a philanthropist, always willing to lend a helping hand, indeed a distinguished personality. We pray God to grant his soul eternal rest in His kingdom. God only knows why He chose to recall him home at this time.

On behalf of myself and family, I encourage his wife to please take heart, including his children and other close family members. May the Almighty God give you the courage, strength and fortitude to bear this great loss.

Rest in Peace Sir Dr. Rotn. Ben Anyene.
You were indeed a great man.

Signed
Sir Rotn. Stephen Ezendiokwere PHF
Posted by Emmanuel Onuaguluchi on January 28, 2020
A man of high reputation and integrity
A body of intellectual bones and incorruptible
I had the privilege to have met this icon and humble soul

I will surely miss our argument on the way to save Nigeria and their healthcare
So long buddy and God speed to the entire family

Emmanuel Onuaguluchi. Esq,.

Posted by Jenny Anya on January 27, 2020
Public Health in Nigeria will miss you... Rest on Generallismo of Health Reform in Nigeria!!
Posted by Francis Ohanyido on January 23, 2020
Ben: A Tribute to My Mentor, Brother and Friend


“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon Alder

You looked Death in the eyes and spoke truth to him and glided into the bright light. It is not an end, but new beginnings and for me, it would never be the same again without your guidance.  I never knew anyone who had such a total depth of thought like you did, an attribute that deeply impressed me from that first day we had met in 2004 and you taught me by example that how we live influences how we die. So true! You lived a life of courage, deep reflection and frankness ‘speaking truth to power’, as you were wont to say.

When on the 30th December 2019, I heard that you had passed on barely a day earlier, it was the first day I had found myself soliloquizing about the essence of life and how transient it seems for the realization had dawned on me that I lost one of the most important persons in my professional and personal spheres of my life… gone forever. I recalled that we had chatted on WhatsApp on the 22nd of December about whether you could make the harvest and thanksgiving event in my village which I had invited you. You had responded that you were in the US, so could not make it and wished us well. It is almost unbelievable that a week cut us off.

It was like yesterday 16 years ago when we had met for the first time at Garki NPHCDA’s office and you had said in that your calm tone of voice as I had made to pass you, “You must be Ohanyido. .. Did you not work with the Senate Committee on Health?”. I did not know who you were then, but you had a sartorial elegance that I could not miss and you were also one of the few people that called me with my surname till your death. Before I could answer in the affirmative, you must have sensed that you were right and simply added, “My name is Ben Anyene. Young man, come here we need to talk”. It was the command of a general, I thought and I instinctively knew that it was a conversation that I could not avoid. It was a conversation that grew and took life in the sixteen years that I had known you. It was the heady days of health sector reforms, the birthing of Health Reform Foundation (HERFON) and primary health care reengineering. I had spent two hours listening to you and occasionally asking questions. You had in your usual simplicity and frankness, sold to me the vision that a better health system was possible in Nigeria, if only we could do the right things. You also got me involved in the National Health Act when it was a Bill that was several times almost a stillborn which we had battled until it was birthed in 2014. The watershed was in December 2012 when we had a major consultation now referred to as the Obudu Retreat which you chaired, this was subsequent on the blow of no assent by President Jonathan in 2011. You never ever lost hope!

I must confess that before I had met you, I had found myself at the global health crossroad where I needed to pick my fight. I had been eyeing epidemiology, but I suspect that I had unconsciously started looking at health system strengthening domain differently as a possible destination for me that I could explore. Such was the power of persuasion and conviction that you had. Although we were originally brought together by fate, I was able to learn from your health system viewpoints and your wealth of knowledge which gave me a fundamental base for appreciating Nigeria’s health system. I was privileged and honoured to have known a great colossus like you who belong in a special category of your own as an exceptional inspiration to so many people. It is a great lesson for me to endeavour to become the best of myself in all ways.

You had great humour. I still recall that every time I worked on an international job and we had the opportunity to speak on phone, you would simply ask, “Ohanyido, I hope you have not abandoned our health system? You know it needs all the good hands to get it on track.” On one particular occasion after a stint with the World Health Organisation at the Congo regional office for Africa, I had returned to Nigeria and you had these piles of policy-related work waiting for me at your HERFON office. “You need to get busy here. We don’t want you running off again to fix other countries”, you had quipped with a straight face. I loved your unique sense of humour.
You were tough but at the same time, kind and encouraging, but I was devastated when your younger brother Onyeka and his family died in that ill-fated Dana air crash in June, 2012. That was when I finally saw the vulnerable side of your amazing personality. Many of us in the coalition were happy to see you push back the heartbreaking event to continue exhibiting that quintessential tenacity of yours that helped hold the coalition together till the National Health Act became a reality in 2014. We all shared in your painful loss and also celebrated the triumph of the passage of the Act two years later. These events further deepened my understanding of your closeness to God…  
   
I am saddened that I will not be able to shake your hand as I officially step into the role of the Vice-Chair of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, which is one of your big shoes as my immediate predecessor that I will have to step into…I can imagine your voice saying “Ohanyido, face the work and not the shoes” in a typical Ben fashion. Just to also let you know that the Strategic Advisory Board of the West African Academy of Public Health (WAAPH) which you are a member and Fellow of the Academy will miss you greatly for your guidance and quiet wisdom.
 
Rest in Peace Sir, I promise to keep on fighting the good fight for a better health system and the sustainable development goals. I am eternally grateful to God and you Dr Benjamin CN Anyene for having allowed me to be part of your wonderful life.

Ohanyido 
 
(Dr Francis Ohanyido, President, West African Academy of Public Health)
Posted by Onyeka Ojogwu on January 23, 2020
I only met Dr. Anyene twice. The first was to interview him for a study on the challenges with the health sector and the second, to inform him of the results of the study. Both of these encounters left a lasting impression on me and i wished both times that i had the opportunity to interact more with him because he had a wealth of knowledge about the problems with the health sector and strong recommendations on how those challenges could be addressed. We have indeed lost a treasure. May his gentle soul rest peacefully with the Lord.
Posted by Laz Eze on January 23, 2020
Dr. Ben Anyaene is one man I wished he would live forever. I heard about him for the first time in 2011 when I got involved the advocacy for the passage of the National Health Act but only got to meet him 5 years later. I was privileged to have interacted closely with him during our advocacy for sustainable immunisation financing while he was the Chairman of the National Immunisation Financing Task Team (NIFT). As the Chair of the Health Sector Reform Coalition, he led with passion, humility, sincerity, patriotism and unrivaled dedication. He's well known by everyone as one who spoke truth to power.

Dr. Ben was an encyclopedia of health policy development in Nigeria. He inspired me to document the development of some health policies in Nigeria. A couple of months before his shocking demise, we had a planning meeting and he shared lots of historic perspectives. I was to share a concept note with him but deferred it to this January due to an extreme busy work schedule. Unfortunately for me, he is not here to review the note.

I have interacted with Dr. Ben for only 4 years but it looked like 40 years. I received the news of his death with deep sense of sadness. I recall our last conversation and what I stand to miss from the absence of this great father and mentor per excellence. AN iroko has fallen. An ijele has left the commuity of masquerades.

I can only imagine how much the immediate family will miss this great man. My thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Nnamdi and the rest of his children. You husband/dad was a rare asset who added so much value to the global health development. May his soul continue resting and smiling as he sits on the right hand of God.
Posted by Aminu Yakubu on January 23, 2020
I have known Dr Anyene since the early days of the Health Sector Reform Initiative, when I was a younger staff at the Federal Ministry of Health. He was a wealth of experience and a mentor to easily learn from and grow with his support. His gentle, but purposeful and evidence-driven policy advisories were always insightful and I always looked forward to his contributions at health sector dialogues. To his family - rejoice in the knowledge that Dr Anyene lived a life full of legacy. He will be missed beyond measure.
Posted by Andrew Mckenzie on January 23, 2020
I have so many memories of Ben. Working with him on the change agent programme, PATHS and PRRINN-MNCH. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was an ethical, honest man, unfailingly polite but never afraid to take up a challenge and talk truth to power. Ben, you will be missed. Go well, my friend
Posted by Obinna Ebirim on January 22, 2020
Dr Ben Anyene was my Public health grand mentor. I call him a grand mentor because he was a mentor to my mentor while being my mentor. I learnt a lot about advocacy and stakeholder engagement from him. He was accessible at all times and available to lead at most national health CSO events. Dr Anyene will be remembered as one of those who drafted the Nigeria National Health Law (NHA 2014) and one of those who led the advocacy for Sustainable Immunization financing, which resulted in the extension of Gavi’s funding support for immunisation in Nigeria. This is in addition to his achievement as a past Health Commissioner in Anambra State. The Nigerian Health Sector has lost a rare gem and Dr Ben will be greatly missed. As his young mentees, I will work hard to build on the foundation he led in the health sector. 
Posted by Ify Otaluka Onukwugha on January 16, 2020
Revelation 21:4

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Amen 

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Francis Ukwuije on March 3, 2020
Celebrating An Exceptional Medical Professional and Foremost Nationalist.

I do not know how to begin as I am still processing the news of the passing of Dr. Ben Anyene.

It was not just long that we discussed the Adoption Model of Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme and Dr. Ben offered to adopt and pay for the poor people in his village. I connected him immediately with the Executive Secretary of ASHIA and plans had only begun.

I lack words to describe Dr. Anyene. As at the time I joined the Federal Ministry of Health in 2007, Dr. Ben was already a towering personality and a leading voice who pushed for virtually all that have been achieved in the Nigerian system to date.

My admiration of him as a selfless and fearless Medical Doctor and foremost Nationalist reached its crescendo when in 2014 as the Head of Health Financing and Focal Person for the National Health Act in the Federal Ministry of Health, I came to learn that Dr. Anyene was one of the 3 Visioners who scripted the first draft of the National Health Bill. True to his usual poise, he remained faithful on the frontlines, advocating for the proper implementation of the Act till his final breath. My only regret is that this selfless and astute professional who put in all he could to enact this Act did not live to see his vision blossom into full implementation.

I will miss your wise counsel and fatherly guidance Dr. Ben. I have not forgotten the challenge you gave me towards improving the health system and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria. I pray by the special grace of God, not to disappoint you.

Rest on, the indefatigable Dr. Ben Anyene. Rest on my dear friend and great mentor. May the good Lord be kind to you.

Dr. Francis Ukwuije
Posted by Uche Anyanwagu on February 24, 2020
I sadly learnt of the death of Dr Anyene on a post on LinkedIn by a friend.

I recall meeting him in 2018 on a BA flight to London. He was heading to US. We sat on the same row. We exchanged pleasantries and talked all through the journey.

Once he realised I was also a medical doctor with a PhD in Epidemiology, our bond grew stronger. Instantly, he became a father as well to me.

I learnt from him, and later read in many quarters, of his great works in the Nigerian health sector - health advocacy, Nigerian health bill, and many more. We promised to keep in touch. I did for the period he was in US but we somewhere lost contact till now.

Please accept my deepest condolences. Dr Anyene was a great man - humble, friendly, warm, and welcoming. I will ever cherish our meeting and I pray GOD grants him the eternal rest he deserves.

As a family, May we all take heart and take solace that Dr Anyene was a good father who inspired many while he was here.

May his loving soul rest in peace.

Uche Anyanwagu MD, PhD
Posted by Godwin Aja on February 22, 2020
Dr. Ben Anyene was a friend. His contributions to health systems strengthening in Nigeria cannot be forgotten. As Chairman of HERFON BOT, he mobilized many professionals to support his vision. While we surely miss him, his legacy lives on.

May the Holy Spirit comfort his family!

Prof. Godwin Aja
Babcock University
his Life
Biography of Sir Dr Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene The Titan, A Husband, Father, Brother, Friend and Mentor to All

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Galatians 6:9, one of his favourite Bible verses aptly describes Dr. Ben, as he was fondly called. Though he left memorable footprints whilst holding various leadership positions and making invaluable contributions to the health, political, sports, religious and financial spheres, amongst others, he remained a selfless and humble man. He was once a practising medical doctor with a private hospital of his own, and a Commissioner for Health in Anambra State, spending the latter part of his life as a public health reform practitioner and activist. For years, he was the board Chairman of the Health Reform Organisation of Nigeria (HERFON), amongst many other establishments. He played major roles in the revitalisation of Primary Healthcare in Nigeria, enactment of the National Health Act 2014, production of the Nigeria Patients’ Bill of Rights and the drafting of the National Immunisation Trust Fund Bill. His profession as a Medical Doctor, and his roles in the health sector were very fulfilling for him, as they provided him opportunities to do what he loved doing, helping humanity.


Early Life and Education

Sir Dr Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene was born on Friday 8 June 1951 in Ogberuru Town of present day Orlu Local Government Area (LGA), Imo State to Late Mazi Benjamin Ferguson Chukwuka AnyeneOnyenkuzi, a catechist, and Late Madam Mercy Chinwe Anyene (née Nwajagu) Ebem Nwelu Jesu. He was the first son, and second child of ten children. His parents were then posted to their hometown of Ndiowu in today’s Orumba North LGA of Anambra State, where the young Dr Ben grew up in the parsonage of St. Lawrence Anglican Church. During his time there, he was the Church’s cross bearer for many years, a role he enjoyed.

Dr. Ben started his primary education at Central School Ndikelionwu/Ndiowu. In 1961, moved by the precociousness of the young Dr Ben, his uncle by marriage, the late Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme struck up a conversation with him. At the end of their chat, Dr. Ekwueme asked if the young Dr Ben was interested in moving to Lagos to live with him and his wife, Dame Beatrice Ekwueme (Dr. Ben’s aunt). Dr Ben accepted this offer and thus, started his life in Lagos. Due to his advanced aptitude, he earned a double promotion and enrolled at St Jude’s Primary School, Ebute-Metta where he excelled in academics and soccer.

In 1964, after passing his entrance exams he opted to go to secondary school at CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos. Dr. Ben was in secondary school when disruptions leading to the Nigerian Civil War erupted. Dr. Ekwueme, who escaped danger, returned to Lagos to rescue his young nephew. The bond between nephew and uncle would last a lifetime, with Dr. Ekwueme later becoming Dr. Ben’s brother-in-law. Due to the civil war, though, Dr. Ben completed his secondary education at Oraukwu Grammar School in present day Anambra State.

He became the first-generation university graduate after he attained a Diploma in Science Education/Research at Porterville College, California, USA, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Microbiology/Biochemistry from California State University, Fresno, USA and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. An avid sports lover, especially of track and field, he was scouted while at Porterville College to play soccer for California State University, Fresno and subsequently awarded a scholarship package for his talents. He may have gone professional if not for an injury he suffered in 1972. After graduation in the USA, he received lucrative job offers in the medical profession, but declined and returned to Nigeria, bearing in mind his traditional responsibilities as the first son of his father.

At the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, he was the President of the Medical Students Association and Vice President of the Student Union from 1977 to 1978. At the age of 29, during his housemanship at the University of Lagos in 1981, Dr. Ben’s father passed away, making him the primary benefactor for his mother and siblings. This unforeseen occurrence interrupted his plans to further his education and specialise. Thus, young Dr. Ben sacrificed his youth and ambition for the benefit of his mother and siblings.

Notwithstanding this, his drive and thirst for self-development and knowledge saw him undertaking numerous professional courses in his lifetime. Dr. Ben obtained certificates in Basis of Human Unity, Justice and Peace in Vienna, Austria (1978), Role of Leadership in Economic Development at Dakar, Senegal (1989), Public Administration and Management in Developing Nations, Lagos, Nigeria (1995), Policy Development and Management Course for Top Government Officials in Abuja, Nigeria (2001), Health Economics from the World Bank Institute, Washington DC (2007) and Public Based Financing (PBF) – MTSS/MTEF in Calabar, Nigeria (2007), amongst others.


Professional Life

After graduating from UNILAG, Dr. Ben kicked off his career at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), where he spent two years as a Medical Officer before venturing into private practice in 1982. He was the Director of Multiplex Nig. Ltd from 1982 to 1985. In 1984, he left Quinta Clinic Ltd, Lagos as the Chief Medical Officer, and founded Medics Medical Centre where he was the Medical Director from 1983 to 2000. He served as the President of the Rotary Club of TinCan Island District 9110, Lagos from 1988 to 1989. His commitment to his hometown saw him become the National President of the Ndiowu Town Union from 1991 to 1994.

He was a member of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Association of General Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), West African Academy of Public Health (WAAPH), Knight of Saint Christopher (KSC) of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) - Diocese of Aguata, Rotary Club, Aka Ikenga, Orumba Forum, League of Anambra Professionals, Pan Ndigbo Foundation, amongst others.

Between 1991 until his passing, he served as Chairman, Board of Directors (BOD) for a number of organizations including Nigeria Medical Association, Apapa - Lagos, Realworth Investment Ltd, Fundtech Finance and Investment Plc., New Era Insurance Co. Ltd and Ferguson IT Ltd, and as a Director in Multiplex Nig. Ltd, Parkview Investment Ltd and Exim Express Nig. Ltd. He was a Board Member at B3 Communications Ltd from 2003 to 2006. He was also a Member/Secretary, Board of Trustees (BoT) at Ajeromi Makes Education a Legacy Foundation (AMEAL) from 1996 – 2000.


Dr. Ben, the Public Health Reformer

Dr. Ben was a passionate health reformer, particularly at the Primary Health Care level. It was this zeal, which put him in the spotlight and saw him holding several critical positions in committees and organisations striving for health reform in Nigeria. His invaluable contributions revived the Nigerian health sector, which was on a decline.

He served as the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Anambra State from 2000 to 2003. Under his watch, Anambra State met the eligibility criteria for the World Bank-assisted Health System Development Project (HSDP) II and implemented the project to the letter. He also ensured the State was up to date with its counterpart cash contribution to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other development partners working with Anambra.

In 2001, he was appointed Head, Technical Committee and Representative of the State Commissioners of Health in the Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti-led National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Board. Same year, he joined the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Change Agents Programme (CAP) for Health Sector and Immunization Reform and undertook study tours of the health system in Ghana and South Africa. Through findings and reviewing the 1988 National Health Policy, the need to have a legal framework backing the proposed reforms resulted in the establishment of the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) in 2004. 

As a member of the Technical Advisory Group at HERFON, he supported the implementation of Prof. Eyitayo Lambo’s flagship Health Sector Reform Programme from 2004 to 2007. He advocated for change of the widespread rejection of polio vaccines in the North. He served as Lead Consultant for the development of the 2004 Revised National Health Policy, the Blueprint for Revitalization of Primary Health Care (2005), Blueprint for Repositioning of NHIS (2005), Public Private Partnership in Health (2005), National Health Promotion Policy (2007), Strategic Plan, Healthcare Financing Policy (2007) and Human Resources for Health Policy (2008).

Dr. Ben was one of three Nigerians that developed the first draft of the National Health Bill in 2004. Through HERFON and the HSRC and via meetings with heads of professional associations and religious institutions, he advocated for the passing of the Bill by the National Assembly and the presidential assent. He was the Advocate in Chief at the Senate Public Hearing in Abuja in 2013. He also acted as Consultant to the Senate Retreat on the National Health Bill. When the Bill was passed, he got it gazetted and guided the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to develop a roadmap for the operationalisation of the National Health Act. In 2015, he was appointed Member, National Health Act Steering Committee and served as co-chair of the National Health Act Leadership and Governance Technical Working Group.

He participated in all National Council on Health Meetings from 2001 to 2014, advocating for allocations into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to be implemented as in line with the law. His dream was for every health facility in the country to obtain a Certificate of Standards and a comprehensive accreditation, and for the local production of vaccines to be sufficiently financed. From 2012 to 2015, he was a Board Member at NPHCDA and Chairman, NPHCDA Board Technical Committee.

Till his death, he served as Chairman, BOD, Ferguson IT Ltd from 2000, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Leadership and Youth Development Forum (LYDF) from 2006, Trustee for Women in Peace, Education and Awareness Initiative (WOPEDAI) from 2007, Chairman, BoT at NPHD from 2012, Member, Nigeria Medical Association Elders Forum from 2012 and Member, BoT at NPHCDA from 2013.

So numerous were the health-related positions he held that to list them all would require a book to be published. These positions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Member, Technical Working Group EPI and Rotary Club International Polio-Plus Design Team in 1980s
  2. Consultant towards the Eradication of Onchocerciases in Nigeria – Review of Progress Report, sponsored by the FMoH (2001)
  3. Member, National Institutional Working Group (IWG) Change Agent Program (CAP) (2002 – 2004)
  4. Technical Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Health (2003 – 2007)
  5. Lead Consultant, National Health Sector Reform Program of the FMoH (2003 – 2007). Also, Chairman of its Public Private Partnership (PPP) Sub-committee
  6. Consultant to Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS) funded by UK DFID (2003 – 2008)
  7. Core Team Member, IMPACT/QRI (PATHS/DFID) (2004 – 2006)
  8. South-East Zonal Champion, HERFON (2004 – 2006)
  9. Coordinator Technical/Management for DFID-Funded Health MDGs (HMDGs) Technical Support to FMoH (2006 – 2008)
  10. Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association Health Sector Reform Committee (2006 – 2008)
  11. Member, BoTHERFON (2006 – 2011)
  12. Member, Audit/Appointment and Promotions Committee, HERFON (2006 – 2011)
  13. Coordinator, Development Partners Technical Support/Participation to 51st National Council of Health (2007)
  14. Facilitator, Technical Inputs with the National Academy of Science (NAS) Retreats on Health Systems and Human Resources for Health (2007)
  15. Member, Steering Committee, National Health Conference (2008)
  16. National Policy Advisor, Immunization & MNCH (2008 – 2014)
  17. Member, Elders Forum of Nigerian Medical and Dental Association (NMA) (2010 – 2014)
  18. Chairman, Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) (2011)
  19. Member, Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) Large Countries Task Team, Geneva for Immunization Efficiency (2011 – 2013)
  20. Chairman, BoT at HERFON (2011 – 2016)
  21. Key Facilitator/Resource Person, Planning Committee National Vaccine Summit and Presenter Call to Action and (2012)
  22. Board Chairman, NPHD Ltd (2012)
  23. Board Member, NHED (2012)
  24. Vice Chairman, White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria for Safe Motherhood (2012 – 2015)
  25. Chairman, National Steering Committee (NSC) on Primary Health Care Under One Roof (2013)
  26. Technical Adviser, Senate Committee on Health Retreat on National Health Bill, sponsored by the National Assembly, Asaba (2013)
  27. Member, Steering Committee for Saving One Million Lives Project in Nigeria (2013 – 2016)
  28. Member, Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS) Vaccines and Immunization Committee (2013 – 2016)
  29. Chairman, National Immunization Financing Task Team (NIFT) (2015)
  30. Member, Nigeria Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NGI-TAG) (2015)
  31. Nigeria Country Lead, Sabin Institute African Anglophone Countries Peer Review Committee for Sustainable Immunization Financing Programme (SIFP) (2015 – 2016)
  32. Lead, NIFT Legislative Retreat on Immunization and the National Health Act, Uyo, Akwa Ibom (2016)
  33. Nigeria Country Lead, 3rd International Colloquium on Sustainable Immunization Financing at Kathmandu, Nepal (2016)
  34. Nigeria Country Lead, NIFT/Sabin Institute Anglophone Africa Peer Review Exchange Workshop on Sustainable Immunization Financing, Abuja (2016)
  35. WHO Sponsored Participant/CSOs Lead, Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2016)
  36. Co-Chairman, National Assembly (House of Representatives) Committee on Healthcare Financing: Revitalization of PHC Systems (2016)
  37. Member, 4-Man Eminent Persons Group in Health appointed by the Honorable Minister of Health (2016)
  38. Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Strategic Plan 2017-2022 Implementation Committee (2016)
  39. Member, NMA Strategic Plan Development Committee (2016)
  40. Co-Chairman, Strategic Advisory Board of West Africa Academy of Public Health (2016)
  41. Chairman, Strategic Advisory Board of Telemedicine and eHealth in Nigeria (2016)
  42. Co-Chairman, GFF-CSOs Nigeria (2017)
  43. Member, Presidential Committee for National Health Act 2014 Implementation (2017)
  44. Proponent for the Seedling Project for PHC Revitalization (2017)
  45. Chairman, BoT of the Expanded Civil Society Initiative on Immunization (ECSII)- The GAVI CSO Platform in Nigeria (2018)
He facilitated various programmes such as a 5-Day Stakeholder’s Workshop on World Bank-assisted Anambra State HSDP-II sponsored by the Anambra State Ministry of Health; Feedback/Wrap Up Programme for Supervisors and Facilitators for 3rdPhase 2000 NIDs in Anambra State; Debriefing on M&E Assessment of the Outcome HMH HSR Advocacy Visit to 14 States of the Federation sponsored by PATHS; the North West Zonal Performance Assessment in Health Sector Reform Program and State Economic Development and Empowerment Strategy (SEEDS) sponsored by the FMoH; FMoH 2008 Annual Operational Plans and 2009 – 2011 MTSS Development sponsored by FMoH/PATHS; the 51st National Council on Health Technical Breakout Sessions; Zonal Engagement with Stakeholders on the draft HRH Costed Strategic Plan sponsored by FMoH/PATHS and the Orientation of Heads and CEOs of MDAs under the FMoH; Induction Retreat for Members of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) HSR Committee, amongst others.

Dr. Ben was involved in various projects funded by international and local institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Health Economic Project Network for Africa (HEPNET), Compass, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), Institute for Health Sector Development – United Kingdom, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360, Governor’s Forum, Lagos State Government, Anambra State Government, National Programme on Immunization (NPI), amongst others.


Dr. Ben, the Politician

Dr. Ben’s political pedigree was garnered from watching his father mediate disputes and his close associations with his in-law, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. From childhood to his time at the University, in his hometown and in his residences at Abuja and Lagos, Dr. Ben was politically active. He was closely involved in the activities of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic and was one of those who helped broaden Ekwueme’s political structure in the old Anambra State. In the late nineties he lent support when Ekwueme led the formation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), serving as the Director, Strategy/Planning/Logistics and Deputy Director General for the Alex Ekwueme Presidential Campaign Organisation from 1998 to 1999 and 2002 to 2003, respectively.

As Honourable Commissioner for Health, Anambra State, the State Ministry of Health achieved great success in winning the trust of local and international partners for the development of the State’s health system. After his time as commissioner, he was considered for the position of Deputy Governor of Anambra State, which he declined after much reflection and prayer. In 2007, he vied for a seat in the National Assembly representing Anambra South Senatorial District under the All Nigeria peoples’ Party (ANPP). After this, Dr. Ben settled into a non-partisan role, where his political activities and associations ran across party lines in Anambra and around Nigeria. Guided by his belief that before you build a city, you must first build the men and women, the policies he supported and advocated were always pro-people.

In his hometown, Ndiowu, and its vicinity, he was known as “Omutaozi.” This was largely due to his benevolence and philanthropy, especially in the education, welfare and mentorship of so many, from his siblings to distant relatives, Ndiowu indigenes, acquaintances, visitors and a host of others. Apart from being the National President of the town union, he was deeply involved in the development of Ndiowu, chairing and contributing to numerous associations and committees, and also to the growth of his beloved St. Lawrence Anglican Church. As a peacemaker who contributed to the resolution of NMA leadership, he also resolved the rejection of immunisation by some communities in Anambra State and a 70-year old border dispute between Owerri-Ezukala and Ogbunka communities in Orumba South LGA, Anambra State.


Dr. Ben, the Sportsman


A skilled soccer player himself in his youth, Dr. Ben was fascinated by soccer with its huge opportunities for youth empowerment. Typical of him, he got personally involved in the development of policies. Nigeria had struggled for years for a first berth in the FIFA-organized World Cup tournament, until the 1-1 draw in Algeria by the Clemens Westerhof team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, USA. The need for finance and organisation facilitated the setting up of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) by the Federal Government. The Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu-led committee had in its membership Dr. Ben, Dr. Simi Johnson, Dr. Ladipo, Engr. Gemade and Tony Akiotu, amongst others. Dr. Ben oversaw mobilisation and communications where he played criticial roles in Nigeria’s most impressive outings in the FIFA-organized World Cup competitions. His contributions helped shape the careers of some of Nigeria’s big players – Peter Rufai, Ben Iroha, Stephen Keshi, Finidi George, Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba, JayJay Okocha, amongst others. Following their achievements in the USA, there was a massive influx of Nigerian players to different European leagues. Dr Ben was also an experienced lawn tennis player.

He was a Member and Secretary of the BoT, Nigeria Sports Development Incorporated from 1994 to 2008. He served as the Head, Venues/Facilities (Medical) for the Nigeria World Youth Soccer Championship in 1999 and as Chairman of Festac 77 Tennis Club, Lagos from 1998 to 2000. He played lawn tennis at the Festac 77 Tennis Club, Apapa Club and Rockview Hotel Abuja. All through his life to the end, Dr. Ben was a sports enthusiast, showing great interest in a wide range of games (soccer, track and field, lawn tennis, basketball and American football, to name a few)


Dr. Ben, the Awardee

His awards/recognitions are numerous, some of which are: Meritorious Service from Rotary International, Certificate of Honor from the Pan Ndigbo Foundation, Award of Excellence from the Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, Excellence in Governance/Administration by Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Presidential Recognition on Service to Mankind from Rotary International, Distinguished Service Award from Rotary International, Long Service Award from Rotary International, Fellow of the College from Trinity Theological College Umuahia, Fellow of the West African Academy of Public Health, Pioneering Service Award from the Nigerian Medical Association/Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Knight of Saint Christopher (KSC) of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) - Diocese of Aguata, Meritorious Fellow Award from Ajalli Archdeaconry A.Y.F, State Patron from Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria and Special Recognition as NGI-TAG Non-Core Member from the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).


Dr. Ben, the Family Man

In spite of his numerous exploits, Dr. Ben remained a devoted family man who sought to ensure that his family members were the best they could be. Across his paternal and maternal extended families, he was known as “Brother,” “Uncle Ben,” “Dumdum” and “Chukwudum.” As a firm believer in education, he assisted his father, by working side jobs while studying in the USA, to ensure that his siblings got through primary and secondary school. This support did not falter even after the death of his father as he pushed through to see that his siblings received their university education.

After his marriage, he moved his mother and siblings away from the old Anyene extended family house into his new home on a property he acquired, thus providing them shelter for decades. He sponsored members of his extended family through school and mentored them in various capacities. Dr. Ben was responsible for financing the marriage ceremonies of several siblings and their welfare after marriage. He intervened whenever there was crisis in their lives. In death as in life, he was responsible for the burial of his parents, siblings and extended family, amongst others. Dr. Ben did all of these in his youth, when he was married with a young family of his own to care for, and continued to do so until he was called by his Creator. He firmly believed in and advocated the greatness of the Anyene family all his life.

In his immediate family, he was “Ben” to his wife and “Daddy” to his children. He met his lovely wife, Lady Ngozi K. Anyene, a daughter of Igwe Benson O. Ofu of Ihite, Anambra, in Lagos in 1985. A match made in heaven, they tied the knot at the popular Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Lagos soon after in 1986. They were married for over three decades until his passing and blessed with four children; Beluchi, Nnamdi, Nchedo and Chizimuzo. Dr. Ben, a doting father, was much loved by all members of his immediate family. He encouraged them to succeed and was present in so many of their professional and educational milestones.

Dr. Ben lived a full life, passionately and resiliently doing good wherever he went. He passed away on the morning of Sunday 29 December 2019 in New York, USA. 

Dr Ben was a husband, father, brother, friend and mentor to all who met him.

May the memory of Dr. Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene live on forever and may his gentle soul rest in God’s merciful peace, Amen.

"The light that shines twice as bright, burns half as long - and you, Daddy, have shined so very, very brightly."



Abridged Biography of Dr (Sir) Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9)

Galatians 6:9, one of his favourite Bible verses aptly describes Dr. Ben, as he was fondly called. Though he left memorable footprints whilst holding various leadership positions and making invaluable contributions to the health, political, sports, religious and financial spheres, amongst others, he remained a selfless and humble man. He was once a practising medical doctor with a private hospital of his own, and a Commissioner for Health in Anambra State, spending the latter part of his life as a public health reform practitioner and activist. For years, he was the board Chairman of the Health Reform Organisation of Nigeria (HERFON), amongst many other establishments. He played major roles in the revitalisation of Primary Healthcare in Nigeria, enactment of the National Health Act 2014, production of the Nigeria Patients’ Bill of Rights and the drafting of the National Immunisation Trust Fund Bill. His profession as a Medical Doctor, and his roles in the health sector were very fulfilling for him, as they provided him with opportunities to do what he loved doing, helping humanity.

Born in present day Imo State on Friday 8 June 1951, Dr. Benjamin Chukwudum Nnamdi Anyene was the second child and first son of his parents, Mr. Benjamin Ferguson Chukwuka Anyene and Madam Mercy Chinwe Anyene (née Nwajagu), who had a total of ten children. As a child whose father was a catechist, religion played an important role in his upbringing. At a point in his childhood, he was a cross bearer in church. He was a very intelligent and active child, well liked amongst his peers and popular with the adults. His secondary school education was at CMS Grammar School, Lagos and Oraukwu Grammar School, Anambra. He earned a diploma in Science Education/Research from Porterville College, California. He bagged a B.Sc. in Microbiology/Biochemistry from the California State University Fresno, California. He then got an MB.BS from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (UNILAG). During his education in California, he was popular, featuring in news articles and was quite distinguished in his University's soccer team. At UNILAG, he was a President of the Medical Student Association and a Vice President of the Student Union. All through his life, Dr. Ben attended and facilitated various educational courses and workshops within and outside Nigeria.

In his hometown, Ndiowu, Orumba North LGA of Anambra State and its vicinity, he was universally known as "Omutaozi." This was largely due to his benevolence and philanthropy especially in the education, welfare, and mentorship of so many from his siblings to distant relatives, Ndiowu Town indigenes, acquaintances and visitors, to name a few. From 1991 to 1994, he was National President of the Ndiowu Town Union. He was deeply involved in the development of the town, chairing and contributing to numerous town associations and committees, and also to the growth of his beloved St. Lawrence Anglican Church, Ndiowu. Beyond his hometown, Omutaozi led the resolution of a 70-year-old dispute between the Owerri-Ezukala and Ogbunka communities of Orumba South LGA, in addition to making vital input in several capacities and roles across the Orumba and Aguata LGAs, and Anambra State at large.

In politics, Dr. Ben was quite active. From his days in school, at his universities in the United States and Nigeria, to his hometown, his home state, his residence in Lagos, and Abuja, Dr. Ben contributed. In the late nineties, he was a founding member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). He shared a very close bond with his brother-in-law, former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, in whose presidential campaigns in 1998 and 2003, he was appointed a Director and Deputy Director General, respectively. From 2000 to 2003, he was the Commissioner for Health in Anambra State. In 2003, he passed on an opportunity to become Deputy Governor, Anambra State. In 2006, Dr. Ben contested for a seat in the National Assembly as a Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party. After this, he forged a space, where his political associations and activities ran across party lines. Thus, he had friends and associates across many political parties in his home state and Nigeria.

In Dr Ben's paternal and maternal families, and his extended relatives, he was known as "Brother," "Uncle Ben," "Dumdum" and "Chukwudum." He helped so many, being personally responsible for the education and welfare of his siblings, especially after the death of his beloved father in 1981, when Dr. Ben assumed the role of father to his siblings. Dr. Ben was responsible for financing the marriage ceremonies of several siblings and their welfare after marriage. He intervened whenever there was crisis in their lives. For over three decades, he was the sole provider and caretaker of his mother, providing a home for her in his Ndiowu compound. He was also closely involved in the education, welfare and professional aspirations of his other relatives, beyond his mother and siblings. In death as in life, he was responsible for the funerals of his parents, siblings and extended family, amongst others. He did all these, even as a married man with a young family of his own to care for, and continued to do so until he was called by his Creator.

In his immediate family, he was "Ben" to his wife and "Daddy" to his children. For more than three decades, he was married to Lady Ngozi K. Anyene (née Ofu). They were blessed with four children. As education and zeal were very important to him, he was often encouraging his children in their educational and professional pursuits. A Knight of the Anglican Church and a son of a catechist, his relationship with God was exemplary within his family. Daddy was present in so many of the educational and professional milestones of his children. He was much loved by all members of his immediate family.

Dr. Ben lived a full life, passionately and resiliently doing good wherever he went. He passed away on the morning of Sunday 29 December 2019 in New York.

Dr. Ben Anyene was a husband, father, brother, friend and mentor to all who met him.

May his memory live on forever and may he rest in God's merciful peace, Amen.

"The light that shines twice as bright, burns half as long - and you, Daddy, have shined so very, very brightly."
Recent stories

Tribute to a Mentor and Father

Shared by Nkata Chuku on February 10, 2020
Dr Ben as he was fondly called by most of us, was a colossus with a kind heart. A visionary with a fervent love and loyalty for Nigeria, propelled by a selfless belief that we have what it takes to fix the challenges of the country and its health system.

I met Dr Ben in 2006 in Kaduna, while working as Member of the Ministerial Committee tasked with developing a Health Financing Policy for Nigeria. He took an interest in me after sitting through a session where I made inputs. In his characteristic generosity and believe in grooming younger talents, he went out of his way to engage with me and introduce me the leadership of the DFID Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATH) that he worked for then. I became his mentee from that day and by the time we came back to Abuja after a week in Kaduna, I had an engagement with PATHS as a consultant, to support some of their health financing and policy work.

Dr Ben worked harder than members of his team, despite his age. If you send him an email by 1am, be sure you will get a response before daybreak. I had to learn that if I wanted to sleep, I will wait until morning before sending him any work for review. His house always had a spare room or rooms for his team members and friends for the nights we had to work late. I still remember the many nights in his Wuse 2 and later Asokoro apartment, with him and some others, staying up, brainstorming, developing draft health documents and then napping for short intervals, to wake up and finalise in the morning. He will say to me, “… Chuku, the minister needs it early and we cannot fail to deliver, you are young and energetic so I know we can finish it”. If we got hungry, we warmed food from his fridge and ate, when the work is done, he will offer wine and loads of praise. His leadership approach and generosity made it impossible to say no when he asked that we work longer hours or away from home. How do you say no when you hear the passion in his voice, realise the level of sacrifice he is making for a better Nigerian health, especially given his age and numerous achievements after which most people would have retired? It felt good and positive working with him, so the hours didn’t seem to matter.

Besides his official work, Dr Ben extended his “doing good always” mantra to all the communities he belonged to. He got me to work with him to develop a concept for community development for his church in Abuja, a strategic plan for the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), a business case for local vaccine production in Nigeria and many other pro-bono endeavours. You will find him on almost any non-paying committee that is setup to advance health and development for Nigerians. He lived to serve and never gave up despite the obstacles. I recall severally expressing to him my frustration with the lack of sincere implementation of many strategies and policies we worked on together. He stayed positive and encouraged me not to give up, even though I can imagine that he felt the frustration more, having been much longer at supporting health sector reforms than me. He visibly channeled any disappointments and frustration he felt with the system, into more work, advocacy and constructive activism. He not only spoke truth to power, but offered himself selflessly, to lead in providing solutions.

Dr Ben provided all of us his mentees and anybody who was fortunate to come across him, the leverage to learn and grow. He reached out without prompting anytime he identified an opportunity that he feels is fit for you. He provided advice, references, mentorship and encouragement. Speaking with him a few weeks before he passed, he still poured out his usual wisdom and sent me a reference letter by 2am. Dr Ben took an interest in not just my work, but my well being as a person. He saw me beyond my technical abilities and was more of a father than a mentor and senior colleague. He was a leader with a heart of gold.

The health sector and Nigeria have lost a treasure, a giant and one of the sincerest believers in Nigeria, that I have ever met. Nigeria have lost a man who was the rallying point of the health sector reform struggle for over 2 decades. His footsteps in the sands of time are indelible. I am consoled by the fact that I had the opportunity of meeting with him, working with him and hearing him introduce me as one of his sons. It is indeed an honour.

Dr Ben lived his life fully according to his favourite bible quote “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up - Galatians 6:9” He never wearied in doing good and never gave up. We, his health sector reform family, now owe it to him to ensure that his efforts at reforming the Nigerian health sector are not in vain. His transition to a better life should spur us to work harder to achieve a health sector where all Nigerians have access to quality health care, irrespective of their geography and socio-economic status.

I pray that God comforts his family and gives them strength and understanding. I and Health Systems Consult Ltd (HSCL), join the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) to stand with them at this time of pain.

May the Soul of Dr (Sir) Benjamin Nnamdi Chukwudum Anyene Rest in Perfect Peace, in the Bosom of the Lord.


Dr Nkata Nwani Chuku
Founding Partner, HSCL

Shared by Udoka Ene on January 23, 2020
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to Dr Anyene’s family. May God comfort you all.
May Dr Ben Anyene’s gentle soul rest in peace.