Chief Edwin Clark the renowned  South-South Leader has expressed shock and sadness over the demise of the chairman of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) on Christmas day.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the 29th of December, Clark, said, “In one of the most painful moments of my public life, l was woken on Christmas morning, 25th December, 2020, to the shocking news of the death of the National Chairman of our flagship, regional organization, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) at the age of 68 years.

“The news has beendevastating to me personally, and we, the entire people of the South-Southgeopolitical zone. Coming just months after our Deputy National Chairman, lateChief Francis Doukpola died under similar circumstances, in June this year.

“AVM as l used to callhim was my most trustworthy and dependable ally and deputy in the leadership ofthe people of the zone. He brought along wide experience as a senior member ofthe Nigerian Armed Forces, where he left a towering record of service, and asformer military governor of Akwa Ibom State.

 He was, therefore, able to, within a remarkably short time, bring PANDEF to par with other existing groups in the country such as Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Middle Belt Forum.

“AVM was also able to bring greater clarity in articulating various issues about the Niger Delta. His close interactions with the governors of the region, the National Assembly, and other critical stakeholders helped to maintain the relative peace in the Niger Delta and offered renewed vigour to the quest for equity, justice, and fairness.

“At the recent visit ofthe Federal Government Committee, led by Chief of Staff to the President, ProfIbrahim Gambari, he led the Leaders and Elders of the zone to articulate ourposition.

“AVM did exceedingly well as PANDEF National Chairman within the short period, he crystallized our efforts and also inaugurated the State Executive Committees of the Forum in the six South-South states, which he personally attended. His death is true, most painful, and a big loss to the organization; the vacuum created by this irreparable loss will be very difficult to fill.



Since the death of his Deputy, Chief Francis Doukpola from similar circumstances, the position of deputy national chairman has not been filled, and now we have lost the National Chairman.

“I have since contacted all our Governors of the zone, in particular, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel to commiserate with him and our people. I have also spoken to his widow, Funmi Nkanga, who is still receiving medical attention and covet our prayers to be healthy and consoling.

“As your father, I urgeall our people to be comforted, knowing that we are not able to question thewill of God. Let us also observe greater caution against the spread of Covid-19which is still very much around, even in our zone.