Gov Udom Emmanuel has extolled the Forum of Former Indigenous Governors and other credible social groups for paying demanding sacrifices to protect the unity of the state.
Emmanuel has also pledged to sustain an unbroken relationship with the Forum of Former Governors, their deputies, reputable socio-cultural groups and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in steering the political administration of Akwa Ibom.
Emmanuel, flanked by his wife, Martha and other members of his family made the pledge during a condolence visit on him by the Forum of Former Governors of the state, led by Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga; the Ibibio Elders Forum; security commanders and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, over the death of his father at Awa Iman, Onna Local Government Area, at the weekend.
The governor said that his administration would not be tempted to discard the wise counsel of the former governors and their deputies based on indelible records of achievements left behind by the past governments, adding that the previous administrations were well noted for erasing ethnic sentiments and cases of disunity between respective sections and groups in the state.
He remarked that the foundations of unity sealed by the past indigenous governors, heads of security institutions and leaders of organizations have set the platforms of effective stability in the pursuit of projects and programmes, adding that the previous sacrifices and the ongoing efforts have helped in fast-forwarding the economic profile of Akwa Ibom in the country.
The governor emphasized that the contributions of various groups of individuals have made Akwa Ibom to be recognized among states with the infrastructure of growing the economy in the country, pledging to always engage in consultations especially with the forum of former governors in the administration of the state.
Emmanuel appreciated the forum of former governors for condoling with him and members of his family on the demise of his father, expressing delight that the forum and other dignitaries have demonstrated exemplary leadership by setting aside political sentiments to commiserate with him and the family.
Nkanga, who led the delegation of former governors and deputies comprising Obong Victor Attah, Chief Etim Okpoyo, Senator Chris Ekpenyong and Sir Michael Udofia, said the visit was to console Emmanuel and the family at the moment of grief over the death of his father, urging him, his brothers and sisters to be comforted in God even though there was no pleasant moment of losing a lovely father.
The former governor said that it was a pride that the late Nkanang had infused Christian values in the children to bring up a leader for the state, noting that the governor has replicated those values in the administration of the state.
He appreciated that God has rewarded the late Nkanang with long life to the age of 90 to the growth of Akwa Ibom in the hands of his son, praying for the eternal repose of his soul.
Attah, who led the Ibibio Elders Forum, said that it was a thing of joy that the children of the deceased were alive to give their beloved father a befitting burial, recalling that the late Nkanang was an educationist with impacts in the moulding of children to leadership positions in various sectors of the society.
He remarked that the deceased had also left indelible records in spreading Christian gospel through the Qua Iboe Church denomination, describing him as a missionary with zeal worthy of emulation by the present generation in community duties.
The commissioner of police, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr Imohimi Edgal, who led the delegation of security personnel, said that the late Nkanang was a community leader whose contributions brought peace in communities, praying for God's consolation on the family at this moment of grief.
Edgal pledged the commitment of the heads of security institutions to ensure appropriate protection of lives and property of sympathizers during the funeral, soliciting the cooperation of Akwa Ibom communities to the success story of security even after the obsequies.
The chairman, state chapter of CAN, Rev Ndueso Ekwere, advised Governor Emmanuel, his brothers and sisters to take solace in God's assurance of protection at the absence of their biological father, enjoining that God does not forsake those seeking comfort at moments of sorrow.
Ekwere stated that the leadership and members of the Akwa Ibom chapter of CAN would continue to maintain the legacies of prayers left behind by the late Nkanang in the state, adding that the CAN flag of intercessory prayers for leaders and institutions are added guarantees for the success of the state.