A former military governor of Akwa Ibom, Idongesit Nkanga, has said that the state was yet to show enough appreciation to Ibrahim Babangida, the former military president who created it, alongside Katsina State, in 1987.
Mr. Nkanga, a retired air commodore, said Mr. Babangida, apart from creating the oil-rich state, also supported it to grow at a faster pace when he (Babangida) was in power.
Mr. Nkanga governed Akwa Ibom between 1990 and 1992, during the Babangida era. He built and named a road – IBB Avenue – after Mr. Babangida; but says the former president deserves more than that from the state, and that it was left for subsequent governors to do something about it.
“A lot of times when I went (as governor) to talk about the problem of the state with him, he was always having sympathy. (And) I exploited that,” Mr. Nkanga told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview in Uyo.
“I can’t remember any problem I went to him, which he refused,” he said, adding that he had a personal relationship with the former military ruler.
Mr. Nkanga admitted that Akwa Ibom hardly gave invitation to Mr. Babangida during official state functions.
He mentioned a particular instance where he said the former president got embarrassed, when he wanted to honour an invitation from a traditional ruler in the state.
“Some years back he (Babangida) was invited by the Oku Ibom Ibibio during the anniversary of his coronation. The Oku Ibom had told Babangida that he was going to honour him with a traditional title, for what he did for the state. The man (Babangida) was very excited and enthusiastic.
“He called me and said he was coming. But somewhere down the line, the man was told that they couldn’t guarantee his