It is no longer news that a unique Nigerian bridge builder and exemplary storm calmer, Mallam Ismail Isa Funtua, OFR, mni, is dead.
The media waves throbbed with his obituary last Monday, July 20, 2020, with a reverberating effect across the world. He was said to have died of cardiac arrest.
A magnanimous gentleman of unequalled professional status, Mallam Funtua, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello and Manchester Universities as well as life Patron of International Press Institute (IPI), was simply a quintessential socialite with abhorrence for tribal and religious discrimination. He was particularly renowned for ventilating harmonious environments for peaceful coexistence across tribal and religious divides with his natural coolness and simplicity.
As a federal Minister in Nigeria’s second republic, Mallam Funtua practically demonstrated what the public conduct of a public officer ought to be in African setting.
In that office, his conduct as a Minister was like a magnet that drew many Nigerians to him as friends and associates irrespective of social status or faith professed.
His simplicity became more prominent when he joined the media business as an acute administrator and Managing Director of The Democrat Newspaper after his exit from ministerial post following the collapse of the country’s second republic.
As a Minister and a business administrator, Mallam Isa Funtua displayed a very rare trait that is generally lacking in most privileged Nigerians of today.
He was a skillful manpower builder and an ardent groomer of future leaders.
As a onetime President of Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), he tactically taught most of his colleagues and media executives the culture of humility and contentment with which only a few of them were then familiar.
From his experience of managing and coordinating the diverse cultural attitudes of over 10000 workers at Nigeria Textile Mills, in Kaduna, where he once served as a Personnel Manager, Mallam Funtua learnt the methodology of instilling confidence in workers as a precursor of patriotism.
The most unnoticed secret of his wonderful dynamism in social mixture was his combination of Western and Islamic education on the template of the fear of Allah. He was innately religious without exhibiting it.
At the age of 78 years, Mallam Ismail Funtua’s demise could not have been shocking especially to any genuine Muslim who knows that death, like life, has a divine schedule which no mortal being can alter.
Thanking the Almighty Allah for his exemplary life, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), ably led by its President General and Sultan of Sokoto, Dr. Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, hereby commiserates with his life long friend and associate, President Muhammad Buhari and the entire family of the deceased wishing them all the fortitude with which to bear any agony that may arise from his demise. We are all from Allah and to Allah we shall all return. Inna Lillah wa inna ilayhi raji‘un.
Chairman, Media Committee,