Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday reacted to the death Ismaila Isa Funtua.
Funtua was President Muhammadu Buhari’s long time ally and confidant.
Obasanjo said his contributions to the implementation of the nation’s capital between 1999 and 2007 would not go unrecognized.
The former Nigerian leader, in a statement by his spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, described the demise as a grievous loss to the family, friends, associates, Katsina State and the nation.
He called Funtua an elder statesman, an accomplished business mogul, an astute politician and a frontline industrialist, whose contributions to governance and public administration would remain evergreen.
“As the founder of Bullet International Nigeria Limited, Mallam Isa-Funtua’s robust identification with the objective of my administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 in implementing the master plan of the nation’s capital, FCT, cannot go unrecognised. He built some of the iconic public buildings in Abuja and remained steadfast in making the FCT a more habitable place and a major tourist and investment zone.”
Obasanjo also acknowledged Funtua’s efforts in educational and philanthropic activities.
“In particular, his great contributions, as a member of Board of Trustees of the Bells University of Technology (BUT) to the orderly growth and development of the institution will remain evergreen in the annals of the University. He exhibited boundless generosity through his kind donation, to the erection of the entrance gate of the BUT.”
The ex-Head of State said that Nigeria owes Funtua a debt of gratitude for the immense contributions he had made over the years to the development of the media industry in the country.
“He was the publisher of the Democrat Newspapers during the military dictatorship, particularly the regime of General Sani Abacha when decrees restrained freedom of speech and his newspaper thundered against the ills of that era.”
Obasanjo added that Funtua will be remembered: “by those who knew him and those who care about the evolution of a virile democratic culture in our nation”.
The former president prayed God to forgive Funtua’s sins and comfort his family and friends.