FORMER Minister of Information Tony Momoh has expressed sadness over the death of a media mogul, business icon, and former Minister of Water Resources, Malam Isa Funtua.
Momoh, in a statement he issued in Abuja on Wednesday, described Funtua’s death which occurred on Monday at the age of 78 years, as a monumental loss to the media industry, Nigeria, and the global community.
Momoh described Funtua as a great gift to the media and the nation, whose departure was sudden and shocking.
He said that Funtua became visible on the national plane when in the second coming of President Shehu Shagari in 1983; he emerged as one of the youngest ministers in the then cabinet.
“The regime was removed a few months after but Funtua has since then never been missing on the national and international stage.”
He said that he first met Funtua at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in the 80s when he (Momoh) was invited every year to speak on journalism.
“Later as Minister of Information, I was in Kaduna on April 15, 1988, to attend the launching of the Democrat, a newspaper that Funtua founded.
He said that Funtua later became the President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) which he was the life patron until his passing.
He said that Funtua would not be forgotten for his contributions to the development of media and the national development of Nigeria.
“In the next few days expect massive references to his work in growing the media in Nigeria and being the great driving power behind Nigeria’s participation in the meetings worldwide of the International Press Institute (IPI).
“The mourning by the media of this great gift to the print media will not only be national but also international,” he said.
He said that Funtua, who was a close associate to President Muhammadu Buhari, took an active role in Buhari’s presidential campaigns starting from his days in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2002.
“In spite of his known political associations, he was over the years very close to us as associates of Buhari since his sojourn in politics in 2002.
“During our campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2011, he was there for us to call on.
“My closeness to him was sealed late in 2010 when he called me and said Tony, I was told that you were asked to come and head Buhari’s party (that was the chairmanship of the CPC) and you had refused, saying you had a pain in your leg. Were you asked to come and play football?
“He encouraged me to join the race for the office of the first elected national chairman of the CPC. I did and won, and relocated to Abuja and have been there ever since. He even paid for my accommodation in Jabi for one year.
“Since we accessed power at the national level in 2015, Funtua has been close to the administration, so close that people associated him with being a member of a cabal in the villa. Funtua would never advise anyone to be arbitrary or deny people their due,” he said.
Momoh prayed for the soul of the departed and the families he left behind. NAN)
– Jul. 22, 2020 @ 18:05 GMT |