Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has paid glowing tributes to the late business mogul and politician, Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, saying Nigeria owes him a debt of gratitude for his invaluable contributions to the development of both public and private sectors.
The founding Managing Director of The Democrat Newspaper and former President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria died of cardiac arrest on Monday.
Obasanjo in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Tuesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, described his demise as “grievous loss to the country and his family.”
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.”
“Our nation also certainly owes him a debt of gratitude for the immense contributions he had made over the years to the development of media industry in the country. He was the publisher of the Democrat Newspapers during military dictatorship, particularly the regime of General Sani Abacha, when decrees restrained freedom of speech and his newspaper thundered against the ills of that era. Until his death, he was the life patron of Newspaper’s Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and his contributions were always that of a committed patriot with a well-developed sense of equity, justice and fair-play.
“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,” he said.