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‘What affects Akwa Ibom touches Rivers’ — Wike commiserates with Udom Emmanuel over death of PANDEF chairman

‘What affects Akwa Ibom touches Rivers’ — Wike commiserates with Udom Emmanuel over death of PANDEF chairman
January 22
00:12 2021

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has commiserated with Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom, over the recent loss of prominent indigenes of the state.

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Wike, who was on a condolence visit to Emmanuel on Thursday, said “what affects him, affects me; what touches Akwa Ibom touches Rivers state”.

He described the death of Idongesit Nkanga, chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Udo Ekpenyong, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom, as a “grave loss not just to Akwa Ibom, but the entire south-south region and the PDP”.

Nkanga died of COVID-19 on December 24, while Ekpenyong died on Monday.

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“What I came here for is that governor Udom has lost two to three prominent sons of Akwa Ibom state. The most painful is the former two-time director-general of his campaign organisation and the chairman of PANDEF, and then his party chairman, who is also my party and the hope for this country,” Wike said.

He encouraged Emmanuel to draw consolation from the word of God, while assuring him that the Rivers government will be fully involved in the funeral arrangements for the deceased.

On the importance he places on his relationship with the Akwa Ibom governor, Wike said Emmanuel has earned his respect and the love of his people by his integrity and in keeping his promises to the people of the state.

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“Governor Udom Emmanuel is my brother. He is a man of his words. If he tells you that he will do something, you can go home and sleep with your two eyes closed,” Wike said.

“Again, governor Udom Emmanuel has the interest of the people of the Niger Delta at heart. As we were coming in today, I told the chief of staff that Akwa Ibom is competing with Rivers state with what I have seen; it is unbelievable.”

Responding, Emmanuel thanked Wike and other governors in the Niger Delta region for identifying with him in the period of grief.

He described the late Nkanga and Ekpenyong “as men of proven integrity and loyalty”, adding that the news of their death “threw the state into unimaginable grief”.

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“For a man to be your two-term DG, he must have proven a high level of loyalty and integrity. If Idongesit Nkanga says he loves you in front, know that he loves you all-round, both in front and behind you,” Emmanuel said.

“He was a man of that kind of integrity, character and personality. You could see, even in the south-south, he never had any wall of discrimination.

“My party chairman also, in fact when they are introducing him, they call him Mr loyalty. He was that loyal. He has served the party both at the state and the national levels. In short, if you want any definition for loyal, just look for honourable Udo Ekpenyong. You’ll certainly get that any time, any day. It’s so painful.”

Emmanuel also urged all governors, leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta region to join him and other Akwa Ibom residents for the funeral ceremony of the late PANDEF chairman, which is scheduled for February 6.

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