•Tinubu, Atiku, Lawan, Gbajabiamila, Sanwo-Olu, Obaseki, Abiodun, others mourn
Chuks Okocha, Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Founder of Daar Communications Plc, the parent company for AIT and Raypower, High Chief (Dr) Raymond Dokpsesi is dead.
Dokpesi died yesterday, Monday, May 29, 2023 at the age of 71 years.
According to a statement issued by his family and signed by his first son, Raymond Dokpesi (JNR), the deceased businessman was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many, who will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of High Chief Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi (Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno Kingdom), who passed away on May 29th, 2023. High Chief Dokpesi was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
“High Chief Dokpesi was also a respected and accomplished businessman, a pioneer in the media industry, and a philanthropist, who dedicated his life to the service of his country and his community. His legacy will live on through the impact he made on the lives of many.
“The Dokpesi family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. We ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our patriarch. We also ask for privacy during this time as we grieve together as a family.
“The family will release further details on the funeral arrangements in due course. May his soul rest in peace,” Dokpesi Jnr stated.
However, in another statement by the Group Managing Director, Daar Communications, Tony Akiotu, he passed away Monday in Abuja after a brief illness.
Akiotu, who wrote on behalf of the Board and Management of DAAR Communications, said, “He had been ill in the last few weeks but was well on his way to recovery. He had a fall earlier today, while on the thread mill during a routine gym exercise,” Akiotu said.
Meanwhile, condolences have continued to come from Nigerians from different walks, including President Bola Tinubu, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, his Edo and Ogun States counterparts, Godwin Obaseki and Dapo Abiodun, among others.
President Bola Tinubu
Tinubu, in a statement issued by Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, expressed sadness over the death of Dokpesi and described him as a huge loss to the Nigerian media industry and the country.
“The death of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi is a blow to the media industry, where he has played pioneering roles in private broadcasting. His pacesetting investment in the industry is an inspiration to many who come after him.
“The history of the evolution of the Nigerian media industry will be incomplete without prominent mention of Dokpesi and his giant footprints on the media landscape. I express my sincere condolences to the management and staff of DAAR Communications and the family of the late media entrepreneur for this monumental loss.”
Atiku, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, noted that the late Dokpesi was a trailblazer, who reshaped the Nigerian business landscape in every sphere of his endeavour.
“Ezemo, as we fondly called, was an enigmatic business personality, a news maker in life and, sadly, even in death,” he said, as his immediate reaction to the news of Dokpesi’s death was an expression of grief and shock.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I am in a state of shock! As we say in Islam: from God we came, and to Him, we return. I am in prayers and will continue in prayers! My everlasting and deepest condolences to the Raymond Dokpesi family. May God forgive his sins and grant him eternal rest. Ezemo, not on a date like this should you leave us!”
Lawan, in a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, described his death as a great loss to the Nigerian polity and media industry in the light of his immense contributions to politics and the evolution of private media in Nigeria and Africa.
The Senate President said it was to the credit of Dokpesi that he established the first private television network in Nigeria, Africa’s first private satellite television and first privately owned radio station in Nigeria.
“I commiserate with the immediate family of Dr Raymond Dokpesi, staff of AIT/Ray power FM radio and the media industry at large on this great loss. They should all be consoled that Dr Dokpesi made his mark in business, politics and the media industry and lived a fulfilled life,” Lawan said.
Gbajabiamila, on his part, described Chief Dopkesi as a patriotic Nigerian, who would be sorely missed, saying he received the news of the media entrepreneur with rude shock, noting that he has left a vacuum in the Nigerian media industry as the pioneer of private radio station in Nigeria.
The Speaker recalled how Chief Dopkesi combined his media entrepreneurship with politics, which he said provided the late owner of AIT/Raypower FM the opportunity to appreciate leadership in the country.
Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, sympathised with the entire management and staff of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM as well as friends and associates of the deceased.
The governor said the late Dokpesi would be remembered for breaking the monopoly of government-owned broadcasting in Nigeria with the establishment of the first private radio station, Ray Power FM.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I mourn the passage of businessman and media guru, who contributed his quota to the economy of Lagos State by providing job opportunities for many young Lagos residents in the media sector,” he said.
Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, described the death of the Edo State born media tycoon as a great shock.
He noted that the Dokpesi, who established the first thriving private television and radio stations – African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower – was renowned for his passion for portraying the African continent via his media outfits.
Abiodun, who expressed his condolences to the immediate family of the deceased, said Dokpesi would be sorely missed, particularly in the field of politics, and prayed for the reposed of soul of the deceased, that God should grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Obaseki, in a statement, the governor said Chief Dopkesi was an illustrious son of Edo State, who recorded indelible achievements that marked him out as one of Nigeria’s most impactful media executives.
“The Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno, Chief Dokpesi was an outstanding businessman and indeed, a media mogul, who took the bold step to venture into private broadcasting and broke the ground for many who came after him. He was a pacesetter and brave in his quest to build Africa’s most enterprising, private broadcasting brand.
“Chief Dokpesi was a man of many parts. From his early academic exploits as a scholar in Poland, he returned to Nigeria to establish himself as an expert in the shipping business. He set up Nigeria’s first shipping line before venturing into broadcasting upon the deregulation of the media business in the country.”
Also, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives, has expressed shock and grief over the news of the death of Dokpesi.
The caucus, in a statement by its leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, described the late Dokpesi as a highly resourceful, respected and accomplished entrepreneur, very brilliant, humble and insightful touch bearer; a remarkable philanthropist, who remained steadfast towards the unity, stability and development of the nation.
“As a pioneer in the media industry, High Chief Dokpesi used his array of media houses under the Daar Communication, including the Africa Independent Television (AIT), Ray Power FM and Faaji FM to promote access to information, enhance good governance, educational activities, private entrepreneurship as well as showcase the rich cultural heritage of our nation, Nigeria and Africa in general to the world.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, has said it was devastated by the death of Dokpesi.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the PDO said Dokpesi was an exceptionally committed and courageous nationalist, an insightful and loyal Partyman; brilliant and resourceful entrepreneur who was steadfast in his selfless contributions towards the unity, stability and development of the Party and the nation at large.
“As a patriotic Nigerian, High Chief Dokpesi deployed his media empire of Africa Independent Television (AIT) Ray Power FM and Faaji FM to champion the course of national development, promoted greater and affordable access to information across the country, stimulated good governance, enhanced economic growth and development in all critical sectors and opened our nation to international limelight and opportunities.
“He was a detribalized Nigerian, who put the interest and wellbeing of our nation above every other consideration and made numerous positive landmarks in our national political, economic and social landscapes.”