President Muhmmadu Buhari has received news of the death of one of his longtime friends and associates, Mallam Isma’ila Isa Funtua with shock.
Funtua passed away on Monday evening reportedly from cardiac arrest.
Confirming President Buhari’s shock in a statement, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the death of Funtua would leave a huge vacuum around the President, considering the very close connection they shared.
“President Muhammadu Buhari received with deep sadness on Monday evening information on the passing of his longtime friend and associate, Malam Isma’ila Isa Funtua, who was Life Patron of International Press Institute and Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
“The President condoles with family members, government and people of Katsina State, and all associates of the former President of NPAN, especially the media industry, on the loss, describing him as “greatly admired and respected’’.
“President Buhari believes the demise of the publisher and businessman has created a huge gap as Malam Funtua consistently stood by him in his political journey.
“The President prayed to Allah for repose of Malam Funtua’s soul, and to grant the family strength and fortitude to bear the loss”, the statement said.
Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua was born in Funtua, Funtua council area of present day Katsina State in 1942.
He served as a Federal Minister of Water Resources in the second Republic and was a member of the 1994 Constitutional Conference organised by the Sani Abacha military junta.
A close ally of President Muhmmadu Buhari, Mallam Funtua was a member of the affabled Kaduna Mafia, a clique of influencing northern elite with professional and commercial background.
He attended the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, the University of Manchester, and was a member of the 9th Senior Executive Course at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies.
He was in public service, starting with the Katsina Native Authority and worked with the United Textiles Limited in Kaduna as Personnel Manager.
Retiring from public service, he went into private practice and served as Director in many organisations.
He founded many businesses, including Democrat Newspaper and Funtua Textiles Limited.