Indigenes of Akwa Ibom state have expressed their anger over Governor Udom Emmanuel’s naming of an uncompleted road after the departed First Indigenous Military Governor of the state, His Excellency, Air Commodore (Otuekong) Idongesit Nkanga, Rtd., describing it as a mockery of the former officer.
Idongesit, who died recently of Covid-19 complications, was Director-General of Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s Campaign Organization in 2015 as well as his reelection in 2019.
The Udom-led government had, during a valedictory Exco session held on Friday, 5th February, 2021, named Ring Road 3, which has yet to be completed, after the fallen former governor.
A release endorsed by the State Ministry of Information and Strategy notes “Akwa Ibom State Government has immortalised the late first indigenous Military Governor, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, by naming the new Ring Road 3 dual carriage way after him.
The Government decision was taken today, Friday, 5th February, 2021, at a special valedictory EXCO session, held in honour of the departed former Governor at the Exco Chambers Government House, Uyo.
Governor Emmanuel described the late Military Governor as a close friend, confidante and brother, adding that, Nkanga remained a reference point for patriotism and statesmanship whose departure has left a vacuum difficult to be filled.
Describing Nkanga as a benchmark for forthrightness, Mr Emmanuel said, “Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Rtd, was a gentleman, an officer, a nationalist, a good Christian, my political Director-General, my personal friend, leader of Ibibio nation goodnight”.
Bemoaning his sudden passage, the Governor reiterated that, Nkanga was a coordinating force in Akwa Ibom State and the entire South-South region.
“Words will fail me to describe how we grieved when we lost this Idongesit of our time, it took time for the void and disbelief to be filled with the acknowledgement that our icon now belongs to the ages and not with us anymore.
“That was when we realized how much he meant to us, how much we identified with him, how much he had become part of the Akwa Ibom dream, we feel a collective sense of deprivation because he still had a lot to contribute”.
The ceremony featured tributes from the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt.(Hon) Aniekan Bassey, Senator Helen Esuene and former State Chief Judge, Rtd.Justice Idongesit Ntem-Isua who had served as commissioner for Justice under the deceased.
Highpoint of the occasion was the adorning of the casket of the late Military Governor with both the national and state flags”.
In their separate reactions, Akwa Ibomites who vented their displeasures through press releases and commentaries said Gov Udom’s action had vindicated his critics who insisted that the governor has no tangible project to show in his over five years rule.
Engr. Ekong Robert, an Uyo-based Contractor, in a Statement he personally signed said “…there is nothing wrong in Governor Udom Emmanuel naming an uncompleted Road after his fallen predecessor. Perhaps, the only effect is that it has proven that the governor, as at 5th February, 2021, had no completed project to show Akwa Ibom people.
This is a sad reality when considering the amount of money that have entered the state between May, 2015 and February, 2021″.
Effiong Daniel in his comment said “…today, the whole world have seen that Udom’s administration in Akwa Ibom state is a huge failure. It is unexplainable why Gov Udom should decide to mock the departed governor with such a shameful immortalization”.
On his part, Otuekong Iniobong John, Akwa Ibom State Chairman of APC National Youth Caucus, had this to say: “The governor should have named a completed and commissioned project or institution,even the one done by the past administration, after the late former military governor of the state,Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga(Rtd). Naming an uncompleted project after him, is a mark of dishonour.
“Considering his accomplishments as a military officer and military governor of the state,the late elder statesman deserves more than that. This is the first time in recorded history that any government would name an uncompleted project after anybody.
All over the world,completed and commissioned projects are named after leaders to immortalise them. Such decision by the state government wasn’t well thought out and it is an evidence of the ineptitude and cluelessness of the governmentIt is not too late to correct the mistake”.