TRIBUTE: Fare thee well, Sola Lawal

Sola was brilliant and courageous and exceptionally unique in his style. His script was him. He romanticised his scripts and gave life to them

By Godwin Adindu

He wasn’t your kind of organized staff but you cannot sack him. He would not come to work in time, will not arrive at editorial meetings in time. You can harass him but you cannot sack him. He would disobey your rule and assert his personality but you cannot sack him.

You cannot sack him because you cannot drop his script. He needed his freedom to develop that kind of script. Leave him with his beer and his Benson and Hedges and then wait for your script. He wasn’t the management favourite. They never liked him, never promoted him but they priced his scripts highly. They never sacked him. Society promoted him.

Our boss, Muyiwa Akintunde, once said about him:

“They don’t know how to handle Sola. They should know that somebody who writes that kind of thing cannot be a normal human being”

Indeed, Sola Lawal was not a normal human being.

But, he was the favourite of Ndaeyo Uko, the Sunday Editor, who told us: ” I don’t want to see your face. All I want to see is a good script. You can slip it in through my door”

Sola was brilliant and courageous and exceptionally unique in his style. His script was him. He romanticised his scripts and gave life to them. He was sent to special missions because his style of prose was needed. A highly creative style. He presented himself in his writings….his jokes, his carefree nature, his epicurean bent. I wouldn’t call him a bohemian but Sola lived for a day, a jolly good fellow, who gave himself to friends and family.

Sola is one writer, one colleague, that lives in me. I had a file of the cuttings of his writings. Sola encouraged me to develop more skills and strength in writing features. “It will make you more prominent and more influential in society,” he said. He was right.

He would trace me to my house at the Journalists’ Estate with another senior colleague, Yemisi Fadairo, in 2008, for an evening hangout. Jide Oke, Our former Property and Estate Editor, who lives in the estate with me joined us. Our former Deputy Editor, Muyiwa Akintunde, came with his wife. Another great writer, Chido Nwakanma, was also in attendance. It was a gathering of MADMEN, becuase the old Newsroom was designated as a mad house.

Some few days ago, during an evening sit out at the greenery of another MADMAN, Ray Echebiri, I asked Jide about Sola and how I cold hook up with him. Jide informed me that he was still the Chairman of Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority and promised to send me his number.

Yesterday, instead of his number, Jide called me to announce that one of the MADMEN was gone. Sola died in the early hours of yesterday

Fare thee well, Sola.
We all shall die. Let it be.

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