A Black Christmas Day: Tribute To Air Commodore Idongesot Nkanga (rtd)

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…A Tribute to a Great Leader, His Excellency
Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), National Chairman, PANDEF and former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State

By Hon. Ken Robinson

I woke up to a phone call at about 6.20am on Christmas Day, 2020. I was agitated the moment I saw the call. I had reasons to be; the call was from a young man resident in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, he had not called me by that hour of the day before. More so, I have been unable to speak to our National Chairman since 14th December. My last telephone conversation with the National Chairman was on Sunday, 13th December, at about 9.15 pm.

The young man and I exchanged the compliments of the day; Merry Christmas and all that. Then I asked whether everything was okay. He said, “Sir, we woke up to a rumour that National Chairman is gone.”

What! I exclaimed. I wished it would end up being a fake and baseless rumour and that His Excellency was well and fine. Moments later, after I got out of wishing, I put a call across to the National Chairman’s “man”, and alas, it was true. He said, “we’ve lost, Oga o”. It is difficult to find words to reflect the cloud of sadness that swaddled me. It was a black Christmas day!

His Excellency, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga was “tailor-made” for the responsibility of pioneer National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the umbrella socio-cultural body of traditional rulers, leaders and people of the Coastal States of Niger Delta.

He was detribalized, broad-minded, modest, humble and unconditionally committed to the Niger Delta Cause. He lived and breathed PANDEF!
He was always available, I could reach him, for advice and direction on issues, even at odd hours, when the need arose. He made my duties as National Publicity Secretary much easier.

Simply put, His Excellency, as I used to fondly address him, was a good man, a great leader, and an excellent example of what it means to be “down-to-earth”.

We will greatly miss his leadership and cordiality but as an American author, Mitch Albom, posited, “Death ends a life, not a relationship”. We will live to cherish the moments and times we spent together; in the many journeys, in thinking, planning and engaging stakeholders, in the efforts to better the Niger Delta narrative.

It is hoped that all would strive to immortalize the legacies of His Excellency, Air Commodore Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, rtd, OFR, psc, fss.

Adieu National Chairman!


Hon. Ken Robinson who wrote from Port Harcourt, is the National Publicity Secretary/PRO Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.

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