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Dignitaries mourn as Isa Funtua bids Nigeria farewell

An elder statesman and minister during the Second Republic, Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, who died aged 78 on Monday, was buried on Tuesday at the…

An elder statesman and minister during the Second Republic, Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, who died aged 78 on Monday, was buried on Tuesday at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja.

Funeral prayers were earlier held at the Shehu Shagari Central Mosque Area 1.

Dignitaries present at the funeral included the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Media Trust Limited, Malam Kabiru Yusuf;  a former FCT Minister, Aliyu Modibbo Umar; a former Minister of State for Health, Aliyu Idi Hong; a former Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; an elder statesman, Alhaji Isyaku Ibrahim; a former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, the publisher of Blueprint Newspapers, Malam Mohammed Idris; members of the Diplomatic Corps, among others.

In his tribute, Kabiru Yusuf described the Late Funtua as a big man who left a big vacuum in many areas of life.

“My association with him was mostly in the media, journalism. But I am aware of the roles he played in business in which he was very successful; in politics, as we all know, he was a minister nearly 40 years ago; and in community relations, because one area that a lot of common people would miss is how he has intervened in countless activities and stories and situations of people who needed it in order to bring succour to their lives.  “So, this is very huge. I think that Nigerians who know him and even those who don’t know him would see the impact of his loss,” Yusuf said.

On his part, Mohammed Idris said: “Malam Funtua has contributed a lot in the area of press freedom and generally in the development of the media in Nigeria. We will miss him a lot”.

The Northern Governors’ Forum, through its chairman and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said: “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,” he said.

Nigeria owes Funtua debt of gratitude – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a statement in Abeokuta by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, described Funtua’s demise as “grievous loss to the country and his family.”

He said Nigeria owed the Late Funtua debt of gratitude for his invaluable contributions to the development of both public and private sectors.

He described Funtua as a well-respected elder-statesman, an accomplished business mogul/publisher, an astute politician and a frontline industrialist whose various contributions to the development of governance and public administration “have ensured for him an evergreen memory in the hearts of many admirers and associates.”

“For his patriotism, courage, frankness and steadfastness, Malam 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,” Obasanjo said.

PDP lauds Funtua’s roles in Nigeria’s devt

The Peoples Democratic Party expressed sadness over Funtua’s death.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, particularly commiserated with President Buhari over the death of  his very close confidant, long-time friend and associate.

The PDP noted that Funtua would be remembered for the roles he played towards the development of the nation while alive.

He loved Nigeria with uncompromising passion – Tinubu

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, expressed sadness over Funtua’s death, describing it as a saddening national loss.

Tinubu, in a statement, described the late nationalist newspaper publisher as a rare individual of immense talents, abilities and generosity. “We spoke but two days before, as we often do. He spoke vibrantly, with his trademark logic and deep knowledge. We ended our conversation agreeing to resume soon again.

“There was no indication that this would be our last talk. I had the distinct honour of knowing this man for many years.

“Malam 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 Nigeria and its people and worked diligently in his private capacity to advance the course of Nigeria.

“As a long-time friend, associate and in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, he served as a strong buttress of support for the president and for his progressive administration,” he said while he commiserated with President Buhari,” he said.

He lived a life full of service to humanity – Gbajabiamila

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, condoled with President Buhari over the death of his long time friend, Mallam Isma’ila Isah Funtu’a.

Gbajabiamila, in a condolence message by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, said Funtua, a lifetime patron of NPAN and the International Press Institute, lived a life full of service to humanity.

We’ve lost an iconic Nigerian brand – Masari

Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari, in a statement by his spokesman, Labaran Malumfashi, expressed deep sorrow over Funtua’s demise.

He described Funtua’s death as a loss of monumental proportion the impact of which, he said, would be felt beyond the shores of Nigeria.

He said Funtua was an iconic Nigerian brand who had acquainted himself well in business, media industry, politics and philanthropy with hardly any place in Nigeria where his fame had not reached.

Masari described the deceased as a prince of the world who, as a successful businessman, politician and a top notch member of the International Press Institute, had traversed the globe promoting and advertising the very best of Nigeria.

A true Nigerian patriot is gone – Obaseki

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, described Funtua’s death as a huge loss to the country and humanity.

Obaseki said:“He was a complete gentleman and true Nigerian patriot who showed tremendous interest and contributed immensely to the progress of the country.”

He championed right causes – Sanwo-Olu

Lagos Governor, Sanwo-Olu, described Funtua’s death as a great loss to Nigeria, saying it happened at a time the country was desirous of more men of good conscience to offer wise counsel in the nation’s drive towards socio-political and economic development.

Sanwo-Olu, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Gboyega Akosile, said Funtua lived a life of purpose, championing the right causes such as a free press which is the soul of democracy.

His death, severe blow to Nigerian media – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described Funtua’s death as a rude shock and a severe blow to the nation’s media industry.

He lauded Funtua’s contributions to media development and his untiring defence of free speech and the freedom of the press, starting from his days as the founder of the Democrat Newspapers to his stint as the President of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria.

He was a patriot, int’l media figure – IPI

The International Press Institute expressed shock and profound sadness over the death of Funtua who was also its patron.

The condolence message was jointly signed by Kabiru Yusuf,  Chairman, IPI Nigeria; Wada Maida, member, IPI Executive Board and Raheem Adedoyin, Secretary, IPI Nigeria. The statement said Funtua’s colossal influence and contributions to national development transversed the fields of public service, business, politics and the media.  “A man of immense international stature, Mallam Isma’ila was a  life patron of IPI- the global network of editors, senior journalists and media executives-  with a lifetime devotion to a free press. Severally, he led Nigerian delegation to IPI events outside Nigeria. He was an elected member of the IPI Executive Board and a major financier and sponsor of the Vienna- based global body.

“Mallam Isma’ila will be most remembered as the arrowhead of Nigeria’s successful hosting of the historic 2018 IPI World Congress & General Assembly in Abuja. IPI mourns the departure of this patriot and international media figure. We commiserate with his family, the government and people of Nigeria and the media community. We beseech the Almighty Allah to grant Mallam Isma’ila Isa, Aljanah Firdaus.”

Funtua, pillar of media education in Nigeria – NIJ

The Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, has commiserated with Funtua’s family and described as the pillar of media education and professional practice in Nigeria.

NIJ Provost Gbemiga Ogunleye said Funtua was more than a strong pillar of support for the institution. “He treated the institution as a major assignment, Almighty Allah bestowed on him, devoting his time and resources.

He was a committed and passionate defender of freedom of speech, press freedom and democracy. “In pursuit of this commitment, he established the Democrat Newspaper during the era of military dictatorship in Nigeria. He was also quick to rally the media community against any legislation or policy targeted at stiffing the media.

“His love for the media industry and commitment to training and retraining of journalists endeared him to many. We have lost a benefactor, a father, a mentor and a friend”.



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