I’ve been in so much shock, since the news broke, yesterday night, of the passing of Samaila Isa Funtua. I wanted to write a tribute, no matter how hurried or short, but believe me, I couldn’t bring myself to do so, all night. I was devastated and sad! I called Uncle Sam Amuka, who was in a very sad state. His “twin brother”, Samaila, had suddenly left him.
I also spoke with Nduka Obaegbena, the President of Nigerian newspaper proprietors, who is also a close confidant of Malam Samaila. And for those who didn’t know them, Samaila Isa Funtua and Uncle Sam were the venerable old men of Nigerian journalism, whose trouble shooting efforts in recent years, have helped considerably, to bring about peace in the media in particular, and the Nigerian society, in general.
Samaila Isa Funtua was a genuine peace maker; a remarkable conciliator, and a wonderful elder and a most decent human being. When we closed down AIT/Ray Power in June 2019, Nduka Obaegbena arranged the intervention of the duo of Uncle Sam and Samaila Isa Funtua. We met in Samaila’s residence for several hours, until the outline of an agreement was agreed, by all parties.
From my days as pioneer Editor of DAILY TRUST newspaper, he was constantly on the look out for significant markers in my life; I found out later, that he did that, for so many younger people from all over Northern Nigeria, and even further afield, around Nigeria. Samaila Isa Funtua was a true patriot who loved our country very sincerely. He will be sorely missed, because he was an incredible repository of the history of a most significant period in Nigerian history. Allah gafarta masa; ya jikan sa da rahama; ya kuma sa Aljanna ce makoma nsa. Amin