||This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject. (October 2009)|
In the early 1990s, as a result of the historic National Broadcasting Commission decree, according to Muyiwa Oyinlola (2004) Nigerian media was dominated by the government only. Information was only made possible from government owned broadcasting firms. However, the Head of State then General Babangida, issued another decree which allowed private broadcasting in Nigeria. After this decree came the first private television network in Nigeria, Africa Independent Television (AIT). AIT was pioneered by High Chief, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, and was also Africa’s first satellite T.V. station. Today Dokpesi is regarded as the media guru of Nigeria. Some also refer to him as the Ted Turner of Nigeria. Dokpesi not only pioneered the first satellite TV but also the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria. According to the journalist Kolapo (2006), Raymond claims that AIT set the standard for salary structure in the media industry in which Nigerian Television Authority imitated),.
His full name is Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi. Born in 1951 in Ibadan, Nigeria of Agenebode, Edo state parents. He has six sisters. Dokpesi started his early schooling with Loyola College Ibadan. After which he joined the Immaculate Conception College (ICC) Benin city where he was the pioneer member of ozolua play house, a dance/drama group. He was also part of the pioneer students of University of Benin Edo state where he did his undergraduate studies. He completed his studies in University of Gdansk, Poland where he earned his Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering under the sponsorship of Alharji Bamanga Tukur who saw him through his secondary school days to his University level.
Dr. Raymond Dokpesi started as the personal assistant to Alhaji Bamaga Tukur one of the General Manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority. Dokpesi also served as a civil servant in the Federal Ministry of Transport under Alhaji Umaru Dikko and General Garba Wushishi. The association of Raymond Dokpesi with the likes of the Tukurs and the late Abiola, resulted in the birth of African Ocean Lines (AOL).
Africa Ocean Lines:
Dokpesi (2006) summarizes African Ocean Lines; one of High Chief, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi first businesses was the first indigenous Shipping Line in Africa. It was established in the 1980s. Although the business did not last long, it contributed a great deal to the Nigerian shipping Industry as it helped formulate the Nigerian shipping act Decree 1986 which stated the sharing formula 40:20:20 for cargo between developed and developing countries.
However, as High Chief, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi practiced in his field of study; he never forgot his first love, showbiz and entertainment. This can be traced back to his early days in secondary school when he was the pioneer member of Ozolua Playhouse, dance/drama group. He decided to put his dream to reality when he conceived the idea of starting a radio station during the Ibarahim Babaginda regime when the atmosphere was conducive enough due to the deregulation of broadcasting in Nigeria. In 1994 he launched the first Nigerian private FM radio station. Two years later, he launched Africa Independent Television. Thus, according to Oyinlola (2005)he became the pacesetter in the world of Nigeria media for the likes of Galaxy TV, Silverbird TV, MBI television, Rhythm FM and a host of others. raymond was a babangida boy
Expansion in the USA and Europe
Africa Independent Television has gained much coverage. On September 20, 2003, Africa Independent Television launched its signals in the United States. Presently, AIT is received in America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe-wide on the Hotbird satellite as well as countries within Africa.
Dokpesi’s accomplishments include
- Established the first indigenous shipping line in Nigeria.
- Established the first privately owned radio station Raypower FM in Nigeria.
- Pioneered Nigeria’s First global TV which was Africa’s first ever Satellite TV station.
- Established the first TV station to run 24 hour broadcasting in Nigeria.
- Launched the African Independent signals in the United States.
- Chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria.
- Helped in the formulation of the Nigerian Shipping Policy Act(decree) of 1986
Dokpesi also has his hands in politics. One of his first political assignments was as a political campaign manager for the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, which saw Tukur into the then Gongola state government house. He also assumed the same role during Alharji Adamu Ciroma presidential campaign, and Alharji Bamanga Tukur’s presidential campaign in 1993.Likewise during Peter Odili’s presidential campaign. Dokpesi was one of the leaders of the South-South People Assembly (SSPA) an organization that seeks to promote south-south people of Nigeria.
Awards and honors
Dokpesi has received awards to his credit on behalf of Daar Communications, and has been conferred with titles from his hometown in appreciation of his tremendous efforts towards Nigeria. From his hometown, he was confined with two titles, two of which are only bestowed on worthy sons. He is Oghieumua and Ezomo of Weppa Wanno of Edo State and also the Araba of Osoro Land Okpe. According to Ojewale (2004), as mentioned during the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award ceremony in Accra, and the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice Geneva Switzerland, Dokpesi was praised for Daar communications rise to the top in Africa and contributions of Radio and Television station that has placed Nigeria on the world map.
Criticism and controversy
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- Oyinlola, M. (2005, March 8). Ordeals of the Nigerian media. Daily Sun on the web. Retrieved May 29, 2007 from http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/mediapeople/2005/Mar/08/mediapple-0
- Kolapo, Y. (2006, April 09). Why wont I like women? I am the only son out of thirteen Children-Chief Raymond Dokpesi. Sunday Punch on the web. Retrieved May 25, 2007 from http://odili.net/news/source/2006/apr/9/402.html
- Dokpesi, R. (2006). High chief, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi. Retrieved From http://www.raymonddokpesi.com/
- Ojewale, B. (2004, May 04). Honors for embattled Dokpesi. Daily Independent Online. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from http://news.biafranigeriaworld.com/archive/2004/may/04/0138.html