Former Abia governor and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has expressed sadness over the demise of the founding managing director of New Africa Holdings (publishers of the defunct Democrat Newspaper) and life patron of Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Mallam Isa Funtua.
Acknowledging the contributions of the late business mogul to the social, economic and political development of Nigeria, Kalu described the passing of Mallam Funtua as a huge loss to the country.
While commiserating with President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and people of Katsina State, the former governor urged the Funtua family to sustain the good legacies of the deceased.
In a condolence message from the office of the Chief Whip of the Senate, Kalu said the deceased will be remembered for his patriotism and selflessness.
“I received with sadness the news of the demise of prominent industrialist and Chairman of Bulet International Construction Company, Mallam Isa Funtua.
“He was a statesman, who contributed to national development in different capacities in the private and public spheres of life. The late industrialist lived a purposeful life and left behind remarkable legacies for his family, associates and loved ones to emulate. “He will be greatly missed”
Kalu prayed to Allah to grant the deceased Al- Jannah Firdaus and give the Funtua family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
In his reaction, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, also eulogised Funtua for his contributions to the implementation of the nation’s capital between 1999 and 2007, which he said would not go unrecognised.
Obasanjo, through his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said: “For his patriotism, courage, frankness and steadfastness, Mallam Isa-Funtua will be long remembered by those who knew him and those who care about the evolution of a virile democratic culture in our nation. We pray that the Almighty will forgive him his sins and comfort his family and friends”.
In his tribute, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said he was a rare individual of immense talents, abilities and generosity.
“I had the distinct honour of knowing this man for many years. Mallam Funtua loved our nation with uncompromising passion having served Nigeria with dedication and commitment at different times in many important capacities.
“He wanted the best for the country and its people and worked diligently in his private capacity to advance the course of Nigeria.”
Northern govs, Obaseki, information minister mourn
The Northern Governors Forum has expressed shock over the death of Malam Isma’ila Isa Funtua, elder statesman, veteran journalist and life patron of the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
Its chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, in a statement said the Forum was saddened by news of his demise.
“This is a great loss to his family, the Northern Region and the entire Nation considering his immense contributions to national development. He is one person that has built bridges among people of different ethnic, religious and political persuasions and also encouraged unity, peace and tolerance.
Lalong said the late Mallam Funtua distinguished himself as a journalist where he not only led the clamour for freedom of expression and the press, but also encouraged responsible journalism practice that is geared towards nation-building and propagation of truth, justice and the fight against corruption.
Lalong said the business acumen, humility and hardwork of the late Mallam Funtua among his many achievements will continue to inspire the younger generation especially now that the nation is in dire need of role models.
He said Nigeria and in particular the Northern Region will miss his wealth of wisdom and knowledge which he was ever ready to offer particularly during critical times.
Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, described his death as a huge loss to the country and humanity, praying that God grants his family and associates the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“He was a complete gentleman and true Nigerian patriot who showed tremendous interest and contributed immensely to the progress of the country. As a longtime close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari, Isa Funtua proved himself a worthy ally, who was loyal to any course he believed in. He will be greatly missed. I share the grief of his immediate family and associates as well as President Buhari. May his soul rest in peace.”
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Funtua’s passion for the media industry saw him serving as the life patron of the NPAN and taking active interest in matters concerning the industry until his death.
“Mallam Isa Funtua was a man of many parts, with his eventful life highlighted by service, whether as a media icon, an entrepreneur or a philanthropist. He also served as a government minister and a member of the 1994-1995 Constitutional Conference, hallmarking his versatility,” he said.