Former Akwa Ibom governor died of Covid-19 — State Govt

The Akwa Ibom State government has confirmed that a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga, died of complications from Covid-19 infection.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Nkanga died on Christmas Eve. He was 68.

The Secretary to Akwa Ibom Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, said in a statement on Saturday that Mr Nkanga passed on at an isolation centre in the state.

Akwa Ibom recorded 16 new cases of Covid-19 infection on Christmas Day, the highest in the state of late.

The total number of cases recorded in the state is 429 as of December 25, according to the data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Governor Udom Emmanuel has declared seven days of mourning, beginning from Saturday, Mr Ekuwem said.

Flags are to be flown at half-mast in the state for the duration of the mourning.

Mr Nkanga was Akwa Ibom governor from September 1990 to January during Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime. Ufot Ekaette, who later became the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was his deputy.

He retired as an air commodore in the Nigerian Airforce.

Until his death, Mr Nkanga was the chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).

He was the Chairman of Ibom Airport Development Company and Ibom Air.

He was the director-general of Governor Emmanuel’s campaign organisation during the 2015 and 2019 governorship election in Akwa Ibom.

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As the chairman of PANDEF, Mr Nkanga was vocal in the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria and the development of the country’s Niger Delta region.

ThisDay published on December 24 an interview it had with Mr Nkanga where he talked about non-completion of the East-West Road which is meant to link together the states in the Niger Delta.

ALSO READ: Former Akwa Ibom governor, Idongesit Nkanga, is dead

He also talked about the refusal of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their head office to the region.

“You see this East-West Road that people have been dying, for how many years? It was later that I found out that even when I was Governor, in my address when General Babangida came to Ikot Abasi because I took him to that bridge linking Rivers State, that bridge was not there, that road was not constructed by the way it is now.

“The road that was there from Port Harcourt was constructed by the Shagari administration. There was no bridge, people used to go by boat. When he came to commission ASCON, I took him there and I said if we can have this bridge, it will help us. In my speech close to 30 years ago, I spoke about East-West Road. You can imagine how long ago we have been talking about that road. Till today that road is not complete,” he had said in the interview.

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