Senate President Ahmadu Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun; have mourned the passing of President Muhammadu Buhari’s friend and political associate, Isa Funtua.
They all paid glowing tributes to late businessman and condoled with the family and the President.
Expressing his heartfelt condolences, Lawan said the news of Funtua’s death left him with profound sadness, describing him as business mogul, community leader, social and political activist and nationalist.
“He was a man who touched many lives and impacted the development of Nigeria with his foresight, industry, enterprise, boundless enthusiasm, magnetism, friendliness and accommodating spirit.
“Mallam Isa Funtua made friends across tribe, religion, generation and class in Nigeria, and touched many lives in public service as well as in his private life. He was a man of many parts who brought to bear his great intelligence, energy and integrity on everything that he did.
“Late Mallam Isa Funtua was a pioneer and trail blazer who established an authoritative national newspaper and a giant construction company through both of which he has left indelible footprints on the physical and sociology-political landscapes of Nigeria.
“Even in death, Mallam Isa Funtua’s presence will continue to be felt for a long time by Nigerians.
“I heartily commiserate with President Muhammadu Buhari who has lost a close friend, trusted ally and in-law as well as the Government and People of Katsina State over the loss.
“I pray Allah to comfort the loved ones that Mallam Isa Funtua left behind, forgive his sins and accept his soul in Aljannat Firdaus,” said senate president.
In his tribute, Gbajabiamila expressed sadness over the death of the former President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
The speaker said Funtua, who was a lifetime patron of NPAN and the International Press Institute, lived a life full of service to humanity.
Condoling with Buhari over the loss, Gbajabiamila prayed Allah to give his family, the people and government of Katsina State the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Tinubu, on his part, described Funtua as statesman, nationalist and renowned businessman.
“The passing of elder-statesman, nationalist newspaper publisher and prominent businessman, Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, is a saddening national loss. He was a rare individual of immense talents, abilities and generousity.
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“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. 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.
“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.
“I commiserate with President Buhari at this time for we have suffered the loss of another person of great intellect and extraordinary character. Our national family mourns deeply because of this unexpected departure, May Allah give our President the added strength and grace to overcome this loss.
I mourn with the immediate and extended Funtua family who have lost a father, patriarch and much more.
“My condolences to Governor Aminu Bello Waziri of Katsina State and the Funtua Community.
“We have lost too many outstanding Nigerians in such a short time. We cannot question why for the will of Almighty Allah is sovereign and supreme.
“Yet, we must dedicate ourselves to continue and to finish the work started by these excellent souls. We must carry on so that we lend even greater meaning to the lives they lived.
“I ask Almighty Allah to accept the soul of Mallam Funtua and admit him to Aljanna Firdaus. May Allah in His munificence also grant his family and all those he left behind the inner fortitude, peace and dedication to continue after him,” Tinubu said.
Sanwo-Olu described the death of Funtua as a great loss to Nigeria, happening at a time when the country is desirous of more men of good conscience to offer wise counsel in the nation’s drive towards socio-political and economic development.
The commiserated with the President over the passing of his close friend and political associate.
“Although the loss of a loved one is usually a painful experience, we should take solace in the fact that death itself is a natural occurrence and it is inevitable,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu added that late Funtua would be missed by a wide range of people and professional bodies, especially NPAN, noting that “the late elder statesman lived a life of purpose, championing the right causes such as a free press, which is the soul of democracy. He was a philanthropist of note, a well respected personality with a lot of knowledge and experience.”
The governor commiserated with his immediate family, the governor and people of Katsina State, praying Allah to grant the deceased Aljanah firdaus and give those he has left behind the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Also, Ogun State Governor has commiserated with Buhari, the government and people of Katsina State over the demise of elder statesman and Second Republic Minister.
Abiodun described the former NPAN president and chairman of Bulet Intentional Limited (an indigenous construction company) as “a quality icon who will occupy many good pages in Nigeria’s history. His footprints are in the public service, journalism, entrepreneurship and indeed all spheres of our national life and living.”
He added: “Mallam Isa Funtua was a man of honour and a great achiever. He lived an exemplary life; he was a democrat and a fine gentleman whose idea of power was that of being a tool to serve his6 fatherland and humanity. He was an elder statesman in the truest sense of the word in and out of Government – as a technocrat in Northern Nigeria and later Minister in the Second Republic.”
The governor qualified the late Funtua as “an ideal businessman and a big player in the construction industry and across the various boardrooms, where he served meritoriously. I respect him for his contentment and as a man who did not abuse the goodwill of his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari. Of course, as a newspapers’ man, his contributions cannot be forgotten as a Life Patron of both the International Press Institute (IPI) and Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN). I commiserate with all the members of the fraternity of the pen on the death of this media colossus.”
Abiodun said Buhari has lost a worthy friend and brother, adding that Katsina State has not only lost a father-figure but one of its most prodigious products and Nigeria as a whole has lost one of her best.
“This is a further depletion of the tribe of quality Nigerians,” he said, adding that “Ismaila Isa Funtua was at once a frontline newspapers’ man, detribalised statesman, leading businessman entrepreneur and focused public intellectual rolled into one and he acted his parts perfectly.”
He prayed Allah to grant the soul of the industrialist a cozy place in Aljanah Firdaous.