It is with a deep sense of sorrow that the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, commiserates with the family of MallamIsmaila Isa Funtua, OFR, mni, whose sudden death occurred on Monday, July 20, 2020. He was 78 years old.
The Guild is deeply saddened by his demise and prays the Almighty God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss of an elder statesman, newspaper publisher, a brilliant administrator, a former minister and a feisty defender of free press.
A friend and political associate of President MuhammaduBuhari, MallamIsmailaFuntua has, over the decades, remained consistent like the Northern Star whose influence stretched beyond journalism to manufacturing and politics. In him, the nation will miss a forthright and bold patriot who deployed his defunct newspaper, The Democrat, to foster national unity, promote free speech and engender a culture of high ethical standard in journalism.
The Guild mourns a friend and supporter whose appearances and seminal contributions at our annual conferences helped to deepen discourses and provide a compass for the younger generation of journalists in the country.
The late Funtua was the Founder of Bulet International Nigeria Limited, one of the biggest indigenous construction companies in the country, which built most of the magnificent public buildings in Abuja.
He founded the New Africa Holdings (publishers of the defunct Democrat newspapers). He was also a former President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN.
Until his death, MallamFuntua was a life patron of both NPAN and the International Press Institute, IPI.
Journalism and the nation would miss this rare patriot.