Top personalities in the political, corporate and ecumenical spectrums turned the funeral service of the father of Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel to a carnival of the sort.
The service held at United Evangelical Church (UEC), Awa Iman, the country home of Governor Udom in Onna Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and wife, Patience; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu, immediate past Deputy Senate President.
Among governors included Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia; Prof. Ben Ayade, Cross River; Dave Umahi of Ebonyi; Ifeanyi Umahi of Enugu; Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Senator Douye Diri of Bayelsa State.
Others were Engr Oluwaseyi Makinde of Oyo State Governor; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State Governor; Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State Governor; Alhaji Abubakar Bello of Niger State and Alhaji Umar Ganduje of Kano State.
Among former governors included Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State; James Ibori of Delta; Attahiru Baffarawa of Sokoto; Obong Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom; Unoma Ekaette, wife of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta; Ayo Fayose of Ekiti and Donald Duke of Cross River State.
Other former governors were Peter Obi of Anambra; Senator Gabriel Suswam of Benue State; Boni Haruna of Adamawa; Ibrahim Dankwambo of Zamfara; Senator Liyel Imoke of Cross River.
Other personalities included Alhaji Sanusi, the Emir of Kano; Jim Ovia,.the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc; Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria; PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; Senator Jibril PDP BoT Chairman; Atuekong Don Etiebet, APC BoT member; Mr. Udom Inoyo, Vice-Chairman of ExxonMobil; Obong Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director of OGFGA; Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs.
The rest were Sen. Bassey Albert, Sen. Akon Eyakenyi, Sen. Chris Ekpenyong; Moses Ekpo, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State; Aniekan Bassey, Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, among others who joined other sympathisers at the event.
Speaking at the funeral service, Osinbajo said he was at the ceremony to represent the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the people of Lagos where the deceased lived for many years before his death.
The VP, who also said he was at the occasion as Udom Emmanuel’s friend, paid a glowing tribute to the late evangelist.
He described the late Nkanang as a devout evangelist, who spent the greater part of his life to preach the gospel and impart virtues to the lives of many.
Osinbajo said, “Papa was in his lifetime a legendary teacher and headmaster as we heard, who taught thousands of students, many of whom are here to pay tribute to him today.
“But his greatest achievement was in the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, where he planted so many churches, not only in this state and the environs, but in the North-Central zone of Nigeria.
Speaking about the deceased, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan said Nkanang lived a fulfilled life of service to God and humanity.
In his verified personal handle twitter, @GEJonathan, the former president said the deceased, while alive, raised leaders and impacted many lives.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who spoke on behalf of the governors of the 36 states, said Nkanang would be sorely missed.
He said, “We are here for a celebration of life; we are not here to mourn our father, not only because he lived a worthy life, but because he raised great children, some of who have gone on to excel and also made him proud.
Elder Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang passed into eternal glory on December 1, 2019, at the age 90.
The late Nkanang was a revered teacher, who had shaped and distilled the intellectual and moral foundations of thousands of young men and women across the State.
A devout Christian, he helped expand the frontiers of growth of the United Evangelical Church (UEC) founded as Qua Iboe Church.
“We are saddened by his demise but are inspired by the noble life dedicated to the service of others, the pursuit of excellence and character and our common humanity which he led” Governor Emmanuel was quoted to have said at a recent event.