eath has robbed Akwa Ibom
State of one of her absolute best.
As it is, the lot of every mortal,
our dear brother and leader, Air Commodore Idongesit Okon Nkanga, has answered the last call. What a heart
breaker! What a great loss!
My first interaction with him was during my national service year; at his C-22
Apartment, Air Force Base, Ikeja, when
I visited him with my friend, Steve
Umondak, who was his in-law. Not long
after, Steve and I were involved in an auto
accident, and "Brother Lance, as we
fondly called him, came to our help.
Nkanga rose within the ranks in the
Air Force and later became the first indigenous Military Governor of Akwa
His tenure was an actionpacked season of key projects in the specific areas of road construction,
healthcare, and creation of local governments, which expanded the developmental landscape of the state.
The state secretariat, which was the
signature project of his administration,
was constructed at a time when state
revenues were paltry. It has since been
rightly named after him. This was the first
physical structure of note announcing in
no uncertain terms, the arrival of the then
nascent Akwa Ibom State as an established political entity, ready and able to
catch up with, and even surpass states
that were created before it.
The completion of Ibom Hall on his
watch meant the availability of a point of
convergence for all Akwa Ibomites for
celebrations, prayers, socializing and networking.
Air Commodore Nkanga carried his
zeal for state development to his role as
the National Chairman of the Pan Niger
Delta Elders Development Forum. He
was committed to the fight for justice for
the Niger Delta people, particularly as it
concerned equitable distribution of the
region's God-endowed rich natural resources, to the benefit the people.
The setting up of the Victor Attah International Airport was another opportunity for Nkanga to deploy his management and professional skills accumulated
over the years, as a highly trained and
proficient Nigerian Air Force pilot, and
past Commandant of the Presidential Air
Fleet. He did not disappoint. As chairman of the Airport Project Implementation Committee, it is to his credit that the
right administrative and professional foundations were laid for the successes the airport has so far recorded.
Without doubt, our departed brother's
legacy is an enviable one. Even his most
ardent critics cannot but acknowledge him
as a patriot and visionary, who devoted his
life to the service of his fatherland by volunteering to join our country's armed forces,
before becoming a leader of Akwa Ibom
State and the Niger Delta region.
Millions across Nigeria will mourn his
departure. I join them. We shall deeply miss
the counsel of this great son of Nigeria. He
has played his part admirably, and I have
no doubt that history will speak kindly of
him, and confer on him the much-deserved
membership of the rarefied pantheon of the
great leaders of our time.
It is therefore with deep sympathy that
I send my heartfelt condolences on behalf
of my family, to his widow, Funmi, his son,
Utibe, who was particularly close to me
during his time with ExxonMobil Nigeria,
and the entire Nkanga family. I also mourn
with Governor Udom Emmanuel and all
Akwa Ibomites on this colossal tragedy.
It is my prayer that God comforts Akwa
Ibom State, the Niger Delta region, and indeed Nigeria, at this time of our great loss.
Let the soul of our departed brother, Air
Commodore Idongesit Okon Nkanga, find
peace in eternity.
Being a condolence message to the
government and people of Akwa Ibom
State on the death of retired Air Commodore Idongesit Okon Nkanga, by Udom
Inoyo, immediate-past Executive Vice
Chairman of ExxonMobil