Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari on the passing of his age-long friend and in-law, Mallam Isa Funtua, at 78.

Okowa also condoled with the family of the deceased, who he described as a consummate leader, shrewd boardroom player and elder statesman.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Tuesday in Asaba, Okowa said Funtua’s death was a huge loss to the President and the entire nation, especially at this period in our fledgling democracy.

He recalled that the deceased, who was Minister of Water Resources in the second republic, pioneer Managing Director, Democrat Newspaper and former President, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), presented the Independent Newspapers’ “Man of The Year, 2017’’ award to him as Chairman of the occasion.

The governor urged Buhari and the entire Funtua family to be consoled by the legacies of integrity and capacity exhibited by the elder statesman who reportedly died on Monday night at an Abuja hospital after a cardiac arrest.

He assured them of the support and prayers of his family, people and government of Delta at this their trying period.

According to Okowa, it is with great sadness that I, my family, the government and people of Delta commiserate with Mr President, the Isa Funtua family and the people of Katsina State on the passing of a septuagenarian and elder statesman, Mallam Ismaila Isa Funtua.

“His death remains a great loss not just to his family and President Buhari, but to the entire nation given his role as a successful businessman, media patron and exceptional statesman.

“Indeed, the late Funtua was very supportive of the president and I can only imagine the grief and sorrow that has befallen our dear president on this loss.

“Mallam Funtua will be sorely missed by newspaper publishers and all those whose lives he had touched in positive ways.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, Buhari and the entire nation that the soul of the deceased rest peacefully and may God grant his immediate family the fortitude to bear his demise,” he said.