South-South lost a rare gem in Nkanga – Gov. Diri

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Governors Douye Diri and Udom Emmanual

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Saturday, joined his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, to pay their last respect to former national leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd).

Nkanga, who was the first indigenous Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State, died on December 1, 2020.

Speaking during the funeral in his hometown, Ikot Nya in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of the state, Senator Diri said the South-South lost a rare gem as Nkanga was not just a son of Akwa Ibom but a voice in the whole region.

Governor Diri and his wife consoling Mrs. Nkanga

The governor, who recounted his last encounter with the retired military officer just before his demise, said his departure was indeed painful.

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a press release, quoted the governor as having eulogised the late Nkanga, whom he said was an activist and intellectual powerhouse.

Remains of late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd)

“I am here in honour of this great soul of Akwa Ibom, the Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria.

“This soul came to see, he saw and he conquered. Now it has pleased God Almighty to take him home

“Just recently in Port Harcourt when all the governors of the Niger Delta converged with the leadership of PANDEF and others, he was one of the voices that was heard from that interaction. He informed me then that he would join me in Yenagoa early this year because of plans by PANDEF to put the body in its proper place in Bayelsa and across the Niger Delta.

“So we have not just lost a father. We have lost a key activist of the Niger Delta region, an intellectual of the geopolitical zone and an Air Commodore of Nigeria.”

Diri, on behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State, commiserated with the Nkanga family, Governor Udom Emmanuel, the people of Akwa Ibom and the Niger Delta region.

Governor Douye Diri and Governor Udum Emmanuel

In his tribute, Governor Udom Emmanuel said it was a difficult moment for him to mourn a man he described as his close confidant.

The Akwa Ibom governor said the late Nkanga was in every sense of the word a colossus.

He said it was fitting to immortalise him by renaming of a major road in the state capital after him.

Also in attendance at the burial were representatives of PANDEF led by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw and delegations from the Middle Belt Forum, Afenifere among other prominent individuals and groups.

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