By Qasim Akinreti
The announcement of death of our revered father, Broadcaster and Ace Sports Columnist, Pa Bisi Lawrence, was a rude shock to the Nigerian Journalists and the profession at large.
This is apt considering the tremendous role played by Pa Bisi Lawrence to the sustainable growth of Journalism and Sports development in Nigeria.
A great Mentor
Papa Bisi Lawrence well known in the media parlance at *BIZLAW*, was a thoroughbred Broadcaster of the Radio extraction, from Radio Nigeria stable- (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria),FRCN to Radio Lagos/Eko FM, BIZLAW defined the airwaves, demonstrated the candour of a season radio Broadcaster, mentor and role model.
He started Radio Lagos/Eko FM from the scratch and launched the station to its stardom before his exit. As a pioneer General Manager Pa Bisi Lawrence mentored season broadcasters like Mrs Tinu Aina Badejo, Lekan Ogunbanwo,Isreal Ajao,Adeyinka Adagun,Bayo Tijani, Yaya Salaam and the current General Manager of Radio Lagos/Eko FM, Mrs Ayo Sotonwa, among others.
All Papa’s mentees except Haj Bayo Tijani and Yaya Salam , rose to become General Managers of Radio Lagos and Traffic Radio respectively.
Mrs Tinu Aina Badejo said on Radio Lagos popular Yoruba programme “Ojutaye” monitored on 12th Thursday November,2020 ” I learnt a lot from Late Pa Bisi Lawrence in terms of dedication to duty,high taste of professionalism,human and material management. Papa will monitor our activities on air ,anywhere , everyday and correct you immediately. He taught us to be an all rounder – studio manager, continuity announcer, and station manager. He was a Manager of human and material resources”.
Alhaji Yaya Salaam, a retiree from Radio Lagos shared another heart warming testimonial of Pa Lawrence in terms of hardwork and discipline in a private discussion with me shortly after his retirement.Both Yaya Salaam and Mrs Tinu Aina Badejo were among young staff seconded from Radio Nigeria to Radio Lagos.
I read his column religiously in the Punch and Vanguard Newspapers. His choice of words were succinct,very appealing and directional to issues of the moment. His contemporaries are late Muslim kola Animashaun of the “Voice of Reason Column”, late Ishola Folorunso, (It is a Goal). Late Earnest Okonkwo,- one of the Doyen of sport commentary, Pa Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard Newspapers and Pa Sola Odunfa among others.
He was an inspirator to many young Journalists including myself. Each time I read his column in the Newspapers and hear his voice on radio, I am inspired by his great depth of analysis and thought provoking commentaries.
My consolation is that Pa Bisi Lawrence lived a good life worthy of emulation. He was an epitome of success in Journalism and a trail blaser.
My condolences to his immediate family, the Journalism and the Nigeria Union of Journalists,NUJ Lagos State council.
May his gentle soul rest in peace. Good night Papa Bisi Lawrence- BIZLAW.
Dr Akinreti is Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State council