Not long ago, the world of journalism has loss a media icon in Nigeria- Malam Abba Kyari, one time Editor of New Nigerian between 1988 and 1990, who until his death was the Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.
Dead of Malam Sama’ila Isa Funtua is coming at a time when the wrenching sorrow of the loss of late Abba Kyari is still revolving in our minds. The sudden dead of this veteran journalist of high repute has indeed thrown many of us in the field of journalism into a terrible dilemma. We have no choice than to accept his departure and pray for his rest.
I got to know Malam Isa Funtua when I was in my teenage years, date back in 2010 when I embarked on an independent research to know the role of Newspapers in promoting freedom of expression under the military regimes. I found the defunct Democrat Newspaper, which was founded by the late. Isa Funtua as one of the few. I read many of his contributions to actualizing the full press freedom under the military regime of late. Gen. Sani Abacha. Since then, I didn’t bother to turn attention to the deceased until 2014 in the built of the 2015 general elections. It was then I realized late Funtua was among the closest, confident and loyal friend of incumbent President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.
Records available indicates that Malam Isa Funtua was an exceptional statesman whose life has been impactful to generations since from his early career as Admin Officer at the Katsina Native Authority to the post of Personal Manager of United Nigerian Textile Company in Kaduna; and later as founder of Bullet International Nig. Ltd and New Africa Holdings.
The Manchester University trained administrator and business mogul was an employer of labour whose contribution to the continuous decline in the rate of unemployment for decades was immeasurable. He has indeed put smiles on the faces of many families through his philanthropic services.
They called him ‘Cabal’ and we always referred him as a ‘Staunch Defender’ for standing against killers of press freedom in Nigeria.
The world of journalism has indeed loss a great icon. Memory of Malam Isa will forever remain in our minds.
May Allah grant him Jannatul-Firdaus.
Safiyanu Danladi Mairiga writes from Gombe.
You can follow me on Twitter @Safiyanudm.