Home / News / Local / A 2023 agenda for southern Nigeria… (3) + Funtua: Honour not deserved… By Bola Bolawole
Isa Funtua

A 2023 agenda for southern Nigeria… (3) + Funtua: Honour not deserved… By Bola Bolawole


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I feel the compelling need to yield space to a few of our teeming readers for reasons that columnists should encourage dialogue with readers once in a while; hence we have feedback. We have a lot to learn from one another as no one is the repository of knowledge or an island of wisdom. Readers must know that their opinions – especially on the vexed issue of 2023 – not only get to us but also that they are warmly received and greatly respected, even where they are critical of the views we have expressed.

Before then, however, let me fire this riposte on the Ibrahim Magu/EFCC/Malami circus show presently trending, and the NDDC/Tinubugate diversionary tactics that the North is adept at. These, ironically, have proven to be the set-pieces at which the South’s intelligentsia and political elites have floundered again and again.

Kindly do not let these anymore irritate or confuse the South, nor distract its attention from the set course of wresting power from the North in 2023. The Southern thieves they are “catching” and pilloring are by far lesser thieves compared to their Northerner counterparts they are venerating, giving soft landing or allowing to totally escape unhurt.


I am pretty surprised that none of you foresees what is going to befall Tinubu. The North saw greed in his eyes and went for it, though it is divine punishment upon all those that fostered the Buhari/APC evil enterprise upon Nigeria and Nigerians. Even the North is paying heavily, security-wise. Please tighten your seat belt! The flight will be rough for the Jagaban! Remember how PDP got swept out of power? Have you seen the same signs for the APC? The burial date is 2023! Tinubu will pay for his folly! – Ogbadu.

NB: Greedy Nigerians are everywhere – North, South, East and West! And is the same Buhari/APC not alive and well among Ndi Igbo?

I thought you had grown above tribal sentiments! Everyone who loves Nigeria thinks of the South-east in 2023 but, alas, you and Tinubu are busy “worming” yourselves to the North instead of “warming” yourselves into the heart of Ndi Igbo. You have no conscience! Pity you! – Dr. Okocha, UNYA Dept. of Surgery, ABSUTH, Aba.

NB: The ones you have just expressed are both gibberish and tribal! Certainly, not everyone who flaunts academic titles has the capacity to read between the lines!

Do you think the factors that stopped Awo and Abiola will also not stop Tinubu? Fighting Jonathan in 2015 and the Igbos at Okota in 2019 closed his chances of Southern solidarity. Awo’s dethroning of Zik as premier of Western Nigeria and Abiola’s Jos Convention remarks that he can rule Nigeria without the Igbo was repeated in Tinubu’s APC power-sharing formula. – Hon. Ngozika Ihuoma.

NB: You are quick to remember the “offending” statements of Yoruba leaders but conveniently ignore worse statements from Northern leaders. You always only remember Yoruba leaders that you love to hate but dubiously forget the heroics of Victor Banjo, Wole Soyinka, Tai Solarin, Obasanjo, etc for the Igbo. Point at any heroics in Igbo support from the North! The accommodation given to Ndi Igbo in the South-west, including appointments; is not reciprocated by Ndi Igbo. Insults and bad manners will not pull the Yoruba into the Ndi Igbo corner in 2023.

Bola Tinubu should learn from the past. He is too important to end up like Abiola. Let him remain a kingmaker rather than striving for kingship. It will be more honourable if he puts his heavy weight behind an Igbo presidency. – 0704 083 8983.

NB: Once 2023 is myopically reduced to Igbo or no Igbo presidency, the battle is lost ab initio. But if a candidate with winnable credentials from the entire South is the target, then, there is hope.

We need a fighter like Tinubu to engage the North. – 0813 487 5450.

You hit the bull’s eye on the eventual disintegration of Nigeria; there is no assurance Buhari intends to hand over power to the South. I hope you are not threatened as a result of your writings! – Sam.

I agree with your conclusion that Tinubu could put up a fight on behalf of the South to get the Presidency. But my fear is that the North might spring the Alex Ekwueme strategy. In 1987, Ekwueme, the VP, was to be the NPN presidential candidate and he would have won. Then the North staged a coup, removed Shagari and brought in Buhari. We in the South sheepishly accepted Buhari because the Lagos/Ibadan media and the UPN who were removed from power … in massively-rigged elections demonized Shagari and the NPN… Another option, like in the case of Obasanjo and Jonathan, is for them to have a Southern stooge as President. I strongly suspect Okonjo-Iweala is being prepared for that role. – Anonymous.

NB: Let the Igbo stop focusing on the specks in Yoruba eyes; then, they will see the log in their own eyes!

Here is a regional summary of leadership in Nigeria: North-Central: 14 years and 201 days; North-West:14 years and 179 days; South-West:11 years and 341 days; South-South: 5 years and 25 days; North-East: 4 years and 203 days; South-East:0 years and 0 days! Supporting Igbo presidency in 2023 should be the responsibility of all patriotic Nigerians, not just Igbos. – Anonymous.

NB: The full record of leadership also includes: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe: Governor-General, November 16, 1960 – 1963; Ceremonial president, 1963 – January 1966. Major-Gen. JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi: First Nigerian military Head of State: January 1966 to July 1966.

Funtua: Honour not deserved…

The so-called honour which the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); the Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) purport to have bestowed on Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua, who died recently, is not deserved. It was hasty. At best, the decision was the personal opinion of the individuals purportedly speaking for and or acting for the organisations in question. They exceeded their mandates and abused their powers. There are by far many more Nigerians deserving of that honour many times over than Funtua.

Funtua did not do enough for the journalism profession to deserve that honour. He published a newspaper – and that newspaper crashed. Many journalists, their families, careers and destinies crashed with that newspaper. He had the opportunity to resuscitate the newspaper but did not. He chose instead to apply his ill-gotten wealth elsewhere. What advocacy did Funtua put up for the newspaper industry that was comatose even before COVID-19?

We may expect employers living a life of opulence at the expense of the journalists working in their stables to see Funtua as a hero. He could as well have been their role model! Birds of a feather! And they may have had personal favours to thank him for. But dashing him our common professional patrimony without batting an eyelid imitates how the Nigerian treasury is looted with audacity by the same ruling class.

The malfeasance and putrid odour of corruption enveloping Funtua even in his grave is enough to disqualify him from any honour. But, again, anyone honouring a thief must know a few things hidden from others. Whenever these clouds clear, a man who announced himself as “the cabal” must eternally stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the Hall of Infamy with the other who described himself as “the evil genius”!

I knew Funtua. May his soul rest in peace! Our paths crossed on many occasions. I attended NPAN meetings representing the PUNCH newspapers both when he was a member and, later, as its chairman. In the giddy days of incessant newspaper closures and proscriptions by the military dictators, Funtua NEVER stood firm for the media. In fact, he always complained that our CONFRONTATION was too much!

A few days before one of the closures suffered by THE PUNCH newspapers while I was the Editor, I got an invitation to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja. In-between, the closure order came. The PUNCH authorities, however, decided I should still attend – if I was allowed.

I made the trip to Abuja and was allowed into the dinner venue at the Presidential Villa. During question time, I got up and asked the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (who chaired the occasion), Aminu Saleh, I think, why PUNCH and the other newspapers were shut down.

Funtua sprang to his feet and asked Saleh not to answer the question. He ordered me to sit down. I maintained my stand and repeated my question. Funtua flagged his NPAN status, attempting to use it to shut me up but I asked him why, then, did he not use the same pedestal to fight for the newspapers that were being assailed by the military dictators.

There was silence! When he recovered, he said, “Okay, let us discuss that after dinner. I will lead you to the SGF myself.” After dinner, Funtua zoomed off! He never took me to the SGF as promised.

Now, that is the man they claimed to have honoured on behalf of ALL Nigerian journalists. This is one honour not deserved – and it will not stand. It shall be reversed. And someone worthy of the honour shall receive it. Certainly not Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua.

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