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Ladi Lawal: Missed by colleagues, mourned by the nation

He practically trained a lot of journalists like me. My background had always been that of television. He came from radio and was teaching me…

He practically trained a lot of journalists like me. My background had always been that of television. He came from radio and was teaching me television.  He handed over Kakaki to me. We used to have Good Morning Africa. In short, he made us good journalists. If you become disillusioned and feel dejected, he would tell you that if you are brooding over that situation, you will get more dejected. He also taught us that whatever the situation, we have at home, regardless of our status, as long as we are getting to the gate of DAAR Communications, we should drop that toga and come in as journalists.  He was an all round perfectionist.

Adebayo Bodunrin, Director, Editorial Operations

He was a man of many parts, a multi-professional journalist, an outstanding administrator, a keen sports lover, an activist, an outstanding unionist. The unique thing about him is that he excelled in all these areas. As a unionist with the Nigerian Union of Journalists, he played an active role, he rose from the Secretary of a State Council, to the National President and Vice President representing Africa at the International Association of Journalists. As a professional journalist under whom I worked, I can attest to the fact that he was like a teacher always having something new to teach. As an administrator, he practised best theories that could facilitate the growth of organisation. He had an unwavering commitment to excellence. He succeeded in recruiting best hands. As a sports lover, he was a sports reporter, a sports editor. In fact, his interest in sports made him develop our sports section here in DAAR Communications just as he did when he was at the FRCN, and he capped it all by setting up an academy which he funded from his own purse. This academy nurtured young ones.

He had a friendly disposition and was totally detribalised. When he was chairman of the Lagos State Council of NUJ, the council under him provided the funds, posters and logistics with which Sani Zoro from Kano State Council, who won the election, used for his campaign. Ladi’s slogan was that the NUJ must be socially relevant, not only to journalists, but alsoto Nigerians at large. He had a radically uncompromising posture of not being one of those who would sell their conscience for anything. He played his role in such a way that the union is transformed positively. He preached strict adherence to the ethical conduct of journalism that every side of the story must be properly represented.

Nwabueze Njokwu, News Director

Ladi Lawal was a humanist and that expressed itself in his interest in caring for those around him. His life was journalism and the goings-on in journalism. Instead of finding faults of journalists who worked with him, he made efforts to find their strengths. Virtually all journalists under him would survive no matter their weaknesses. He never spared training in the management of journalists. He believed in training and re-training of journalists. He was an activist who believed in fairness and equity. Ladi believed that a journalist is as important as any other professional in the society. We will really miss him. His approach will be missed a lot. I enjoyed working with him as a colleague.

Gbenga Aruleba, Director, Ray Power

Ladi was an exemplary man. If you had ever come across him during his lifetime, you would know that he was an exemplary man, an all round leader. He knew how to use men and materials to achieve a predetermined goal. He was a consummate thinker. The nation has lost an illustrious son. His death is a national loss. I am yet to recover from the shock.

Tonia Ike, Head, Reportorial

How does one describe a man who played many parts so excellently? Ladi was a jack-of-all-trades and master of all because he excelled in whatever he laid his hands on. I knew him as far back as 1985 when I worked at Radio Nigeria and he was there too. I was an on-air person, but he aroused my interests in news. He initiated a programme called cut-out involving news on notable events in the paper, put them together and present them on air. He had a passion for the profession. He wanted to see the right changes effected not only in the profession, but in the nation at large. He joined DAAR Communications in 1994 about 4 months before the company was granted licence.

Some of the eminent Nigerians, who paid condolence visited to DAAR Communication, made varying remarks on the death of the late Ladi lawal.

Senator Ayogu Eze described the late journalist as a perfect gentleman, a diligent worker, a humanist and a completely detribalised Nigerian; while Senator Ndoma Egba hailed Ladi’s efforts in deepening democratic gains in Nigeria thus: “I cannot forget Ladi’s support to the Senate at every crucial point in time especially during my tenure as Chairman, Senate Committee on Media Affairs.

John Momoh, the Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television said that the late Ladi would be missed by all broadcasters, stressing that his legacy would be unmatched while his aggressive reporting and unique interview style would be deeply missed.

For Idi Hong, the Minister of State for Health, Ladi Lawal’s departure is indeed a great loss not only to DAAR Communications, but also to the entire nation.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Andoakaa described Ladi’s demise as a great loss to the journalism profession and to Nigeria at large.

Others who paid condolence visit included Dimeji Bankole, the Speaker of Federal House of Representative; former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili who described the late Ladi as a patriot and strong pillar of support for High Chief Raymond Dopkessi. Others included the Editor-in-Chief of TELL Magazine, Nosa Igiebor, Senator Olorunibe Mamorah, former Senate President Ayim Pius Ayim, and the Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyuli. Representatives of various diplomatic missions in Nigeria, who also paid glowing tributes to the late journalist, included delegates from the American Embassy, the British High Commission, among others.

Bio data

Born 1955, Ladi Lawal attended the Lagos City College between 1969 and 1973, and the Kwara State College of Technology between 1976 and 1978 where he obtained a Diploma in Secretarial Studies. He later obtained a certificate in Reporting from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos, in 1978.

In 2000, Ladi proceeded to the Lagos State University (LASU) from where he obtained a degree in History in 2005.

He worked with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) from 1978 to 1993 and joined DAAR Communications Plc as Director of News, Ray Power 100.5FM (1994-1996).

Ladi became the General Manager in 1999 and later the Chief Operations Officer, DAAR Communications plc (2001-2005). He was the Executive Director, Operations, (2005-2006), and later Managing Director in December 2006.

He was elected Chairman, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council (1989-1994) and National President of the Union between 1994 and 1995.

Ladi died at the age of 54 and is survived by a wife and children as well as aged parents.

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