Examining The Life of Dokpesi At 66 – By Edwin Emeka Aboh
There is no doubt that birthday mean different things to different
people. To some, it is time for celebration while to others it is a
time for reflection or taking stocks of one’s life. Whichever angle it
is been viewed or celebrated the major thing is that birthday gives us
the opportunity to look at our lives, examine it and make amend where
necessary and then consolidate in the course of accomplishing our
mission in this material world.
It is in the light of the above of expression or reality that I
examine the life of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, his struggles, his
business, politics and accomplishments as a man who has contributed in
no small measure in making Nigeria better than he met it.
Born on October 25, 1951, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi began his early
education at the Loyola College, Ibadan. Thereafter, he moved to the
Immaculate Conception College (ICC) Benin City.
While in the ancient city of Benin, he started off his undergraduate
studies in the University of Benin before going abroad to complete his
studies in Poland where he obtained BSc, MSc and PhD in Marine
Engineering from the University of Gdansk Sopot, Poland.
As first class brain of the great institution, High Chief Dokpesi
became lecturer in the University of Gdansk, Poland. As an Assistant
Lecturer in Marine Transport Economics, Dr. Dokpesi was highly
regarded and respected for the vibrancy and dynamism he brought in to
play in the school lecturing activities before returning back to
Nigeria on a special invitation from the then Head of States who was
on a state visit to Poland.
While in Poland, Dr. Dokpesi served in the following capacities;
President, Nigerian Students Union, University of Gdansk, Poland.
President, African Students Union. President, International Students
Association and President, Nigerian Students, Eastern Europe.
Before traveling abroad for further studies, Dr. Dokpesi briefly
worked as Marine Officer Cadet in 1969, here in Nigeria.
Upon his return to Nigeria, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi started work
with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Transport and Authority as Head
of Water Transportation Division on Secondment from Nigerian Ports
between 1978 and 1983. He also served as the Managing Director,
African Ocean Line Limited between 1984 and 1988. It also good to
state here that African Ocean Line was the first indigenous shipping
company in Nigeria and Africa at large.
High Chief Dokpesi also served as Chairman, Baldok Shipping Lines
Limited before becoming the Executive Chairman of DAAR Communications
It is also worthy of note that DAAR Communications Limited is a
product of the deregulation policy of the Federal Government of
Nigeria in the broadcasting industry.
As a result, High Chief Dokpesi launched Ray Power FM, the first
Nigerian private FM radio station in 1994. Two years later, the High
Chief launched the African Independent Television (AIT) which is also
the first private TV station in Nigeria. Today, AIT is a household
name as it is now received in America, Europe, Mexico, Caribbean among
other continents or countries of the world. Also, the AIT is the first
Nigerian TV station and at the same time, first African Satellite TV
station on records.
Dr. Dokpesi is also the pioneer of the first Nigerian TV station to
run 24 hours nonstop in Nigeria’s broadcasting industry entirely.
Apart from pioneering the first radio station in Nigeria, Dr. Dokpesi
is also the pioneer of the first indigenous shipping line in the
country. That was why his deep and insightful intellectual power was
put to use in the formulation of the Nigerian Shipping Policy Decree
High Chief Dokpesi also served as the President of the Independent
Broadcasting Association of Nigeria from 1999 to 2003. He was also the
Co-Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) in 2001.
The High Chief is also a recipient of Dr. Kwame Nkurumah Africa
Leadership Award and Gold Medal for Excellence in Business Practice.
He is also the recipient of the prestigious Institute of Directors
(IoD) 2007 Entrepreneurial Award.
It is also right to state here that High Chief Dokpesi is not only a
business guru, but also a political Juggernaut of the highest order as
he has successfully headed governorship and presidential campaign
projects of many great politicians in the country. Some of the many
projects includes; Campaign Manager for Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur. The
governorship project was very successful that Alhaji Tukur became
Governor of the then Gongola State and subsequently appointed Dr.
Dokpesi as the Chief of Staff to the State Government in 1983 before
the military intervention which terminated the fledgling democracy.
Dr. Dokpesi was also the Campaign Manager for the Alhaji Adamu Ciroma
Presidential Campaign Project which was very successful until
government banned old breed politicians from the scene so that younger
politicians could grow.
The same stroke of cain was applied by the Federal Government when he
was the Campaign Manager for the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur Presidential
Campaign Organisation in 1993.
As the Campaign Manager for Dr. Peter Odili Presidential Campaign
Organisation, every close watcher of Nigerian politics knew that Peter
Odili was on his way to becoming Nigeria’s President until the former
President Obasanjo intervened to allow power to rotate to the North.
Similar scenario played out when High Chief Dokpesi was the
Director-General, General Ibrahim Babangida Presidential Campaign
Organisation. Babangida would have won the Presidential Election
before the census arrangement of the Northern Political Leaders Forum
led by Alhaji Adamu Ciroma produced another candidate for the North.
High Chief Dokpesi is also one of the leaders of the South South
Peoples Assembly as well as the South South Elders Forum.
Dr. Dokpesi is also a great author as he is the author of the
following books: ”Optimal Size of Tanker for International Trade, ”
- ”West African Shipping Range,” 1975. ”Technology Change in
Shipping and Its Impact on Ports,” 1976 among many other books.
High Chief Dokpesi also holds the National Honour of the Officer of
the Order of the Federal Republic OFR which was bestowed on him by the
Federal Government in recognition of his numerous contributions to
Nigeria’s development on February 14, 2008.
Other honours and chieftaincy titles bestowed on him includes:
”Ogieorumoa of Weppa Wanno, ”1986. Araba of Osooroland,” 1987.
”Gbobaniyi of Ilawe-Ekiti” 1994. ”Sardaunna of Kpaduma, Abuja”
- ”Ezomo of Weppa Wanno Land” 2003 among others.
On the political front, High Chief Dokpesi is a strong pillar of the
Nigerian Democracy and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
as he has used his personal resources to fund several activities of
the PDP at different times.
Therefore, for a man who has done both Nigeria and his party, the PDP
proud in several ways, I think the best birthday gift that should be
given to him by his party is to make him the National Chairman of PDP
in the December Convention so that he can reposition the party
properly ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
Mr. Edwin Emeka is an award-winning Columnist.
He writes from Abuja.
Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org