The Nigerian Press Organisation yesterday renamed the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) House in Lagos as ISMAILA ISA HOUSE in honour of the late media icon and foremost business mogul, Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua.
Funtua, a minister in the Second Republic, founding managing director of The Democrat Newspaper and former president of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), died on Monday night at the age of 78 after a brief illness.
The renaming of the newly rebuilt NIJ House after the late Isa Funtua followed a resolution by the Nigerian Press Organisation – Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The late elder statesman and President Muhammadu Buhari’s close friend and associate passed on following cardiac arrest during a medical checkup at an undisclosed medical facility.
His remains were buried at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, after the Janaza (funeral prayers) was held for the deceased at the Shehu Shagari Central Mosque Area 1, Garki Abuja.
A statement signed by president of the Nigerian Press Organisation and president of The Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nduka Obaigbena, on behalf of the collective leadership of the Nigerian media community, noted that the NIJ House was renamed after the late Funtua in recognition of his untiring contributions to the development of journalism and freedom of the press not only in Nigeria but globally.
Funtua was founding president and life patron of Newspapers Proprietor Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and until his demise, he was the association’s grand patron.
The statement noted: “For his untiring contributions to the development of Journalism and Freedom of the Press in Nigeria and around the world, it is the privilege of the Nigerian Press Organisation – Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria ( NPAN) , Nigerian Guild of Editors ( NGE) and The Nigerian Union of Journalists ( NUJ) -to name the newly rebuilt Nigerian Institute of Journalism House, Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island ,Lagos, as ISMAILA ISA HOUSE to honour the life and times of Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, OFR, Mni , who died on Monday July 20,2020 after a life of dedicated service to Nigeria that spanned politics, business and media.
“His contributions to the development of journalism is innumerable: including, but not limited to his co-founding of Democrat Newspapers; presidency of the NPAN at a time of national crises, and later a life patron; services to the international Press Institute where he served on the global board; contributions to journalism education as Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, ETC, ETC. Samaila Isa Funtua, 1942 -2020, will be deeply missed but not forgotten.”
PMB, Ministers Observe One Minute Silence At FEC In Honour Of The Late Media Icon
Meanwhile, President Muhmmadu Buhari and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday observed a minute silence in honour of his late friend and associate, Isa Funtua, at the council’s weekly meeting.
During the virtual meeting, ministers and other members of FEC who joined Buhari at the council chambers of the presidential villa, from where he presides and those who attended virtually from their offices all observed a minute silence in honour of the late Funtua.
After reciting the National Anthem, secretary to government of the federation (SGF, Boss Mustapha, called for a minute silence in honour of the late business mogul.
Cabinet members who joined the president physically for the council meeting are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the SGF, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, and the National Security Adviser, Babangana Monguno.
He Will Be Remembered For Supporting Women – Aisha Buhari
First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, said yesterday that the late Ismaila Isa Funtua would be remembered for the prominent role he played in securing appointment for women into boards of agencies in the last five years of the Buhari administration.
Mrs Buhari made the revelation in a tweet on her personal Twitter handle, while condoling with the wife and the family members of the late Funtua.
Consoling the family over the demise of their patriarch, the First Lady tweeted: “Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Raji’un, on behalf of my family, I extend our condolence to Mrs Hauwa Isa Funtua and the entire family on the sudden death of Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua.
“We pray that Allah SWT will grant him Aljannatul Firdaus. Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua will be remembered for his support to female politicians, especially his role to get them appointed into different boards in the last 4 years”.
Funtua’s Demise, A Colossal Loss – APC Govs
However as tributes continue to trail the late Funtua’s demise, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), an umbrella body for governors elected under the platform All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday described the death of the late Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua as a colossal loss to the nation and patriots.
The forum, in a condolence message signed by its chairman and Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu, also said the demise of the foremost businessman was a loss to the business community.
Bagudu noted that the PGF received the death of Mallam Funtua “with heavy heart and gratitude to Allah (SWT) for a life well blessed”.
He said, “The Forum joined President Muhammadu Buhari, people and Government of Katsina State and as well as the nation to pray for repose of the soul of the elder statesman.
“We, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), join the family, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, people and government of Katsina State and the nation to pray for the repose of the soul of our dear and beloved Mallam Isa Funtua. His death is a loss to the nation, Nigerian business community and patriots.
“We pray to God Almighty to grant the family the fortitude to bear this heavy loss. May Allah reward all the good work of Mallam Isa Funtua, forgive his limitations and bless what he left behind. May the soul of Mallam Isa Funtua rest in peace.”
Similarly, chairman of APC caretaker committee and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, condoled with President Buhari, the family, government and people of Katsina State over Funtua’s demise.
A statement signed by the director general, press and media affairs to the governor, Mamman Mohammed, stated that Nigeria will miss Funtua’s patriotic contributions and passionate selfless services to the nation.
Governor Buni described the death of late Funtua as a huge national loss and a personal loss to President Buhari, his family, associates and Katsina state.
The Yobe governor described the late media icon as a statesman who contributed immensely to national development, the economy and media industry. “He was a bridge builder with immeasurable contributions to national unity,” he said.
Governor Buni prayed Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljannatur Firdaus. “May Allah comfort his family, the President, relations, associates and the nation over this national loss” he prayed.
Also, the apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday reflected on the demise of Funtua and said it has lost a cherished foundation member who was actively involved in the conception and formation of the forum 24 years ago.
Similarly, the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) said they were saddened by the death of the “elder statesman, describing him as Nigeria’s foremost industrialist and public administrator.”
In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, the ACF said the late Funtua was a multi-talented Nigerian who served his country to the best of his ability in many role, starting his public life as a member of the National Part Nigeria (NPN) in the 70s where he was also a foundation member and was elected the party’s deputy national publicity secretary.
ACF noted that late Funtua was later elected President of Newspaper Proprietors Association (NPAN) and until his death was the life patron not only of NPAN but of the International Press Institute (IPI) adding that as a businessman, he is best remembered as the founder of Bullet International, a wholly Nigerian owned construction giant.
ACF consoled “the families of Isa Funtua and General Wushishi over the deaths of their loved ones”.
NUTGTWN in a statement jointly signed by John Adaji Adaji and Ali Baba, president and acting general secretary respectively, noted: “Our Union in particular has lost an iconic friend who has been a great source of inspiration in both profound advice and guidance.
“His commitment, dedication, foresight, zeal and steadfastness towards the growth and development of Nigeria Textile Industry are unrivalled.
“We wish to place on record his commendable singular achievements as the Executive Director of Funtua Textiles Limited, Unitex Nigeria Limited Kaduna, Nichemtex Nigeria Limited Ikorodu Lagos and Zamfara Textiles Limited, Gusau. We will forever remember him for his commitment to industrialisation and a formidable key player in the Nigeria Textile Industry”.