The former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babagida, has described late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, as a fine administrator who was endowed with passion for hard work.
He said this in a condolence message read at the burial of the former governor of Akwa Ibom State at Nsit Ibom local government council’ his country home.
Represented by General Anthony Etukudo rtd., he said, Nkanga came to the world as a uniform soldier fought for the unity of Nigeria and development.
“He was my former student, one of the best military officers Nigeria has ever produced. Commander Presidential Fleet during my time, a very good administrator, endowed with passion for hard work. As a military governor of Akwa Ibom State, which I created in 1987. Late Idongesit Nkanga came to the world as a uniform soldier, fought for the unity of Nigeria and its development.
“He retired from the military but still remained as a fighting soldier in mufti. He fought many battles of life for the development and advancement of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria. His legacy as military governor of Akwa Ibom State, is unquantifiable. Nigeria will greatly miss his rare ingenuity. I thank Akwa Ibom State for having given Nigeria a genius in the person of Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga. May his soul rest in peace.
“And may his immediate family and indeed Akwa Ibom State, take consolation in the fact that Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga has just passed over, but he will never die”, he said.
In its condolence message, The Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) through Senator Bassey Henshaw said “we are still in shock over the sudden demise of our dear, National Chairman Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd) on the eve of Christmas in Uyo Akwa Ibom State. The entire leadership and membership of PANDEF are saddened by his death, it is devastating, words are not enough to express the pain and grief we feel. He was selfless, humane, broad-minded, trusted leader, esteemed compatriots and statesman.
“Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga was unwaveringly committed and dedicated to the founding ideals and objectives of PANDEF; to find unity, peace, and development in the Niger Delta region.
“With a combination of his strict military background, political and administrative sagacity and working in tandem with our National leader, Chief Edwin Clark and other critical stakeholders of the region, he was able to seamlessly, elevate the standing of PANDEF to enviable summit with a short period as our pioneer national Chairman.
“His last official engagement as National Chairman was the public hearing on the bill for the South South Development Commission by the House of Representatives’ Committee on justice at the National Assembly, Abuja, where he made a submission on behalf of PANDEF”
In his condolence message, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Douye Diri, recalled that his last meeting with Nkanga was in Port-Harcourt when all the governors of the Niger Delta converged and the leadership of PANDEF and others were represented, he was one of the voices that was heard in that interaction.
“And he informed me that he will be in Bayelsa, very early this year for plans to ensure that PANDEF is put in its proper place in Bayelsa State. At that point he never knew that God was about to call him to Glory.
“So, we have not just lost a father, we have lost an activist of the Niger Delta region, we’ve lost an intelligencer of the Niger Delta Region and an Air commodore of Nigeria”
Earlier, in his condolence message, governor Udom Emmanuel, described late Nkanga as his friend, and close confidant whom he shared thoughts and ideas, visions together, and brainstormed together on the way forward for the Niger Delta and for Akwa Ibom saying it was hard to bid him a goodbye.
“Today we are gathered here in this quit serene village to pay tribute 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 bonds and whose dedication to Akwa Ibom project and Niger Delta and larger Nigeria enterprise was total and non negotiable. We are gathered here to bid farewell to a friend to a man who was fashionably committed to the development of Akwa Ibom State.
” I find it difficult to address our elder statesman in past tense. Today instead of walking in long step with me as he always did since faith brought us together in a political journey several years ago, I am here starring at the flag starred casket of our revered Otuekong.
“A man of Christian masculinity. The song is ended but the memory lingers on, the song may have ended today for you my brother, the song may have ended for you my DG, my friend, my confidant, the song may have ended for you Idongesit Akwa Ibom, …but the memories of your factful life lingers on”