Dignitaries from all walks of life converged on Ikot Nya, Nsit Ibom, Akwa Ibom State to pay their last respect to the first indigenous Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Rtd, as his remains were laid to rest.
The funeral which was conducted by Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, had in attendance Governor Udom Emmanuel and wife, Martha, Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, representatives from the Nigerian Air Force, serving and former political office holders, captains of industry, service commanders in the state, and several other stakeholders who paid glowing tributes to the former Governor as a man who lived his life for others.
Speaking at the funeral, Governor Emmanuel expressed sadness over the shocking passage of Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, stating that “a vacuum has been created, a voice in the Niger Delta has been lost”.
The Governor in an emotional tone paid tributes to his Campaign Director General, asserting that, “it is a difficult moment for me but we have to be encouraged by the word of God.
“If somebody on 1st December 2020 had told me that I will celebrate Christmas of 2020 without Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga in my village, I would have said it will not be possible.
“If someone had told me that I will go to places and at the roll of protocol not see the DG of my Divine Mandate, I would have said it is not practicable, but here lies the reality of life, here lies the mystery of death I just pray that God in His infinity mercies will console us, the family, the state, the Church, the Community, PANDEF, and have mercy on us”
“The reality is that this gentleman, a friend of mine, my close confidante, we shared thoughts and ideas together we shared vision together on the way forward for Niger Delta and the entire region but today it has pleased God to call him back home to His Glory no one can question Him”.
Reflecting on the personality of the late elder statesman, the Governor pointed out that Nkanga was a man of vision, integrity and impeccable character who was passionately committed to the development of Akwa Ibom State.
“Today we are gathered here to pay tributes to a man who was in every sense of the word a colossus, a statesman, a patriot, a man of impeccable character and integrity whose words were his bond.
“Otuekong, was a man of vision and today the physical landscape of this state bears some of his developmental imprimaturs especially the State Secretariat Complex which he built, named after him”
“Our departed elder statesman was a man of many faces, the first indigenous military governor of our dear state, the first commander of the Presidential Air fleet from this part of the nation, the first man that comes from a village that has to produce two military Governors in Nigeria, and above all the first Director-General of a campaign organization who won victories back to back”
In honour of Nkanga’s contributions and legacies the Governor Udom Emmanuel, announced that the 9.5km dual carriage Ring Road III, be named Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga Avenue in memory of his contributions to the present administration.
Earlier in his sermon, Revu Ekpedeme Moffat charged Christians, irrespective of their status in the society to be concerned about the welfare of their people at home and the development of the church.
Citing the biblical account in Matthew 8: 5-13, of the senior military officer, the centurion, who approached Jesus for help to his sick servant, Rev Efanga said the centurion was able to have good testimonies from the elders of the community because he built a synagogue(place of worship) and rendered service in his community.
“Most of you here, when you heard that the Governor Udom Emmanuel wants to build a church for God, you started attacking him. If everyone blessed by God decided to be more available in service in their respective churches, the state would have progressed faster.
He charged the people to emulate the late Elder Idongesit Nkanga, who never got tired of serving the Lord with all his heart.
In a goodwill message, Governor Diri of Bayelsa State described Nkanga as a peaceable man who was committed to advocating for the growth of the Niger Delta region.
“The last time we met a few months ago, he told me that he will come back to Bayelsa early this year to help strengthen the Pan Niger Delta Forum in Bayelsa and indeed in the region. I didn’t know he would leave so soon,” Diri lamented.