Brief history of Late Samaila Isa Funtua, multimillionaire, Katsina elder statesman
Samaila Isa Funtua is the Chairman of the popular Bulet International Construction Company. He is said to be a personal friend of the President, hence he has Buhari’s ears on national issues, including appointments.
Although Funtua, like Daura, does not hold political office, he has much influence on the President even more than those who are holding offices.
He has been part of Buhari’s delegation on some of his foreign trips, including his official visit to the United States in July 2015.
Isa Funtua is a smart businessman and silent politician. His rise to wealth and politics started decades ago as an employee at Katsina Native Authority.
Isa Funtua was born and raised in Katsina State but spends most of his time in Abuja the government capital of Nigeria. He once served as Minister for Water Resources under then-president Shagari.
As a member of the 1994-1995 Constitutional Conference, the statesman was on the committee that came up with models in key areas of Nigeria’s existence.
One of such was a special committee of 37 people on zoning and rotational presidency, which resolved that rotation of power between the North and South be entrenched in the Constitution.
Like a real statesman, Funtua is a symbol of a call to service and the act of putting Nigeria first. This is profound given that selfless leaders are in short supply in this society, where the nation matters less to leaders.
Notwithstanding, Funtua is among the few, whose inputs are still valuable in Nigeria’s current narrative. Born in Funtua, Katsina State, he was a pioneer student of the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna.
He trained as an administrative officer at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria and also as an administrator at the Manchester University in the UK.
He was the Monitor General of the Course 9 of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru.
Funtua served the Katsina Native Authority for seven years as Administrative Officer. He later served in various ministries in the defunct Northern Region before his secondment by the Northern Region government as the Personnel Manager of the 10,500 strong United Nigerian Textile Company, Kaduna.
From there he became a successful entrepreneur. Funtua is the founder of Bulet International Nigeria Limited (the largest wholly owned indigenous construction company) which built most of the iconic public buildings in Abuja.
He is the founding Managing Director of the New Africa Holdings (publishers of the defunct Democrat newspapers).
Funtua was elected Vice President to the late MKO Abiola as President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, where he declined to succeed MKO as President while being incarcerated by General Sani Abacha.
He later became the President of the NPAN. Funtua, who was the youngest minister in the Shagari administration, is a life patron of the NPAN, a staunch defender of a free press and free speech, philanthropist, humanist, chairman and director of many successful companies.