By Imoh Etimudo
What will you remember Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga for? Many will go for the State Secretariat which is named after him while others will look at his numerous contributions to the development of Akwa Ibom State during and after his administration. Whatever divide one belongs to, the departed leader’s good works have comforted Akwa Ibom. Thus his name,
“Idongesit”, comfort, was not given in error. That is what he has left behind. A good name, they say, is better than riches. Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga had all the opportunities to make wealth but he chose to make name, and spent the whole of his life preserving and guarding his good name jealously.
When destiny thrusted on his lap, the golden opportunity to become the first indigenous military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, he grabbed it with both hands to stencil his name in gold in the hearts of Akwa Ibom people in his life time and even more in death.
The then wing Commander was on the wings to making history from when the aircraft that brought him came to a halt at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Calabar.
The sight of his wings-shaped mustache could have been a pointer that the man in the cockpit of flight Akwa Ibom was set to put the then nascent State on the wings of development. And he spent every day of the less than two years in office working towards the accomplishment of the noble vision for Akwa Ibom State.
Thus, with the transition of His Excellency, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, Akwa Ibom State, Niger Delta and indeed, Nigeria will proudly take consolation in the legacy left behind by the proud son of Akwa Ibom State.
Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga belonged to the bright and beautiful generation of the Nigerian Armed Forces, operating from the flank of the Air Force, from where he was under the radar for his distinction in lifting the tyres and lighting the fires.
He was one of the favourite pilots who retained the honour and privilege of flying Nigerian Presidents across the world with dexterity in the skies.
He dominated the firmament of skies across the globe with attendant awards and rewards from the military and society at large.
Air Commodore Nkanga rtd shone like a star and polished a shining career in the Air Force. He was a perfect example of excellence in his different military courses within and outside Nigeria.
This was not unconnected with his being made Commandant of the Presidential Fleet.
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Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, rtd was later to appoint Nkanga the Military Governor of a barely four-year old Akwa Ibom State.
It was an appointment that that gave him the skies to fly Akwa Ibom State in the highest altitude of development through laying of futuristic foundation.
Then Wing Commander Idongesit took Akwa Ibom State to a high altitude of development in a comparatively short but stunning leadership flight.
He laid a critical part of the foundation for a skyscraper for Akwa Ibom State, building infrastructure germane to the development of the State from the State Secretariat to roads and other structures. This earned him the subrogate, ” Idongesit Akwa Ibom”, and indeed, he was that and more. And in his transition, he has consoled Akwa Ibom with his good works on earth while he lived.
Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga was a true patriot in every sense of the word. He played critical role in the political development of Akwa Ibom State, supporting successive administrations to succeed, after his time was up. He was quoted to have said that he did all that to satisfy his conscience and contribute to the development of Akwa Ibom State. He was a pathfinder, and in a sense, a “bricklayer” for the State.
But his pioneering role defied States’ divides. Beyond Akwa Ibom State, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, alongside other prominent and patriotic sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region created a path to the envisaged developed Niger Delta.
He contributed greatly to the vibrancy of groups working towards the welfare and emancipation of the Niger Delta region including the Pan Niger Delta Development Forum, PANDEF.
When the leadership ball of the group was in his leadership court, he never failed or abdicated his leadership responsibilities.
Of the truth, the late Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga was a gift to Akwa Ibom State, a pride to the Niger Delta and an asset to Nigeria.
Hence by his demise, tears will never stain the ornamented decors of his shining legacies. The legacies are rather the source of comfort and consolation on the transition of a great son of Akwa Ibom, Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole! Nkanga has left a good name with us; a name that is better than riches.
Good night good man with a good name!