Entry By Olorunyomi Adedigba Pauline


It is very difficult to try to stand in the shoes of a giant, one of the greatest men that the world ever saw. However, that is the responsibility that I bear today, as the daughter of the late Tony Lawson. Though it is very saddening that  he is not here today to see how you all have gathered here to honour him. This brings reconciliation and healing to our family and the Nation at large knowing that his works are recognized to be in the interest of the people’s liberty. Even though he had to lay down his own liberty. I am very  proud to be receiving this posthumous award on behalf of my father because it is well deserved. He might be dead, but his works live on. We will always remember him for his great works. I must also celebrate Bada pinnick my father’s video journalist who was also a great writer, that lost his life for the same cause as my father. I love you uncle Bada and I promise your part of this great story, will not go untold.  
    All Tony Lawson  ever wanted, was a better country for us all, which was very evident in all of his writings. The last book which he was never able to complete, revealed to the world the eloquence in his heart, the fidelity of his commitment, and his deep abiding wish to see us become a better nation with better citizens. Which is why you all have agreed to honour him with this award, even in death.  I say that Tony Lawson is one of the most courageous men that the world has ever seen not because I am his daughter. I was with him when he was killed and all I can say is that he was a great man. Even when he was face to face with death, he didn’t compromise our integrity. Which is why the day before he died, he told me that he possessed a reformer’s pen and not a destroyer’s sword. Of course I only got to think about that after his murder.  
    After his death, I watched; month after month people rise up on our behalf to take up the case, and we are very grateful for that. He died a hero…(sobs)   
    Two days after Bada was kidnapped, gunshots thundered ominously close to our house. The Evening was cool, the sun dipping into the horizon threw long streaks of bloodlike red into the sky. I was scared for my father. He knew they had come for him. 
       Amidst so much screaming and so many enraged voices, we didn’t .. No. I didn’t know what was happening. Father said,” to the store, quick!” For the first time, I heard the sound of desperation in his voice. And when I tried to look to him for reassurance, he turned his face away.  I was so scared for him, I did not know when a tear slid down my light skinned face. Just like father’s. 
       We froze when we heard our door forcefully opened, and being turned upside down. I felt fathers hands search for my face. He pulled my cheeks, and then with a smile let them go. I sniffed and hot tears ran down my cheeks.  
       Then they broke down the store room  door, father went out first with his hands raised above his head. I felt a warm liquid run down my thighs and formed a pool around my feet. And as though paralyzed by a sudden stroke, I was stung to stillness. 
       They covered our faces with hoods but I knew we got into a car at some point. Later they removed the hood from our heads. 
       “Should I kill him now?” A very young boy, roughly seventeen years old asked. “No. not yet” an older man replied . He was dressed in the uniform of one of the country’s security agencies. 
       We were taken to an office, they asked father for some documents and tapes in his possession he swore that he did not have. They asked him again and when he said for the second time that he didn’t have them, they immediately began beating him. They punched him, pushed him down, and handcuffed him. They pushed a pipe behind his legs so he could not move his hands even though he was already handcuffed. They grabbed him and suspended him from two nearby cabinets which were about a metre high. 
       As soon as they had done that, they attached wires to his little fingers of both hands. A couple of seconds later, they turned on the current and started beating him with rubber truncheons wherever they could. He couldn’t stand the pain and started to yell. In response so as not to have to listen to his screams, they put a black hood over our heads. How long this went I can’t really remember but when he began to lose consciousness from the pain, they stopped for a while. Then, the young boy came into the room again, he face was as fierce as 

 
 
that of a  hungry lion who could not wait to pounce on his prey. He raised his machete and brought it down. Bright red blood, warm and sticky splashed across my face and dotted in a fine spray the teal green dress given to me last year, on my 18th birthday, by my father.    
       As if paralysed by a sudden stroke, I was stung to stillness by the sight. I cried out his name but my tongue had become stiff. Later all I kept on saying was : Father father father…..till it vanished and all I could hear were echoes. 
        They threatened me not to reveal any part of what I had seen. And that if I did they would arrest me and do the same thing to me, and shame me by degrading me in a sexual manner. I was to say that some men had attacked us at home and killed father. 
       After that they put a hood over my face and the next time they took it off I was at home. Still in shock, starring into space. It wasn’t too long before family, friends, newsmen and father’s colleagues gathered. Where was his body?  

 
 
       People especially his colleagues were not convinced by the story  of us being attacked. And asked if his murder was related to an book about torture and liberty which he was preparing and announced on radio two days before his death,  on liberty news. 
       A few days later I saw his last pieces which I presumed might have been responsible for his death. I saw fragments from the book he could never complete. 
       He wrote “ I cannot imagine, the contagious nature of hate that makes one, kidnap, torture and murder people they  have never interacted with, or those whom they have laughed with, cried with and eaten from the same plate with, for the informative satisfaction of those in power, what could account for this kind of loyalty.” 
       His book contained eye witness accounts of the use of torture on some journalists who were kidnapped. It also contained a disk showing some journalists and other unidentified citizens in an office similar to where father was killed, being tortured and asked to produce some documents. The torturers themselves took the video and appear to be one of the country’s security agencies. 

 
 
        Father wrote further  “ the hatred in their eyes clearly shows how their mindsets have been toyed with, and this frightens me greatly because sooner or later, it will burst its banks and many more will become tools in the hands”… 
            Fathers text broke off here…           
When I saw these last pieces I knew his death had everything to do with the book. 
       At night, the sounds echo in my head. The dull thump of metal chopping into flesh and bones, the moans and the grunts.  I would wake up panting with frightened eyes starring into the  long night.  Today, Abdul being a seventeen year old, is the only person that was caught, of all my fathers torturers, which must have been due to his age. The older men are no where to be found. Today I do not hate Abdul and can not hate him or ask for “justice” because then he was a baby and now he is still a child.  Abdul is not going to be killed by this society because he was merely a victim. 
       My father in the last piece of his witting was frightened about how the mindset of young ones like 

 
 
Abdul have been negatively influenced due to poverty and lack of education. Yes, he killed my father, but as a victim. My family would like to be a  part of Abdul’s life. What we want, is not revenge. Revenge solves nothing. It will not bring back my father. We want to help Abdul see a better way of life so that this doesn’t happen again. 
       My father’s pen reigns supreme over the sword. His pen was a reformer and not a destroyer. 
     As I turned to leave the stage, hot tears blinded my eyes. The hall was silent and I could hear people sniffing, and some let the tears slid down,  while others wiped their faces with their handkerchiefs. 
 As though an afterthought, I turned and said “thank you once again for this award God bless you.”