Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi is a Nigerian media businessman born in 1951 in Ibadan, Nigeria. His parents are from Agenebode, Edo state in a family including six sisters siblings. He entered the Nigerian mass media industry with his company DAAR Communications and set-up the Nigerian TV network Africa Independent Television (AIT) He was the organising committee chairman of the People's Democratic Party national conference in 2015.
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 did his undergraduate studies in the University of Benin Edo State and completed his studies in University of Gdansk, Poland where he earned his Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering. His studies, from secondary school to university level was sponsored by Alharji Bamanga Tukur.
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 Ibrahim 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 Dokpesi, and was also Africa's first satellite Television 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.
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) summarises 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 practised 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, dancedrama 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.
Expansion in the USA and Europe
Africa Independent Television has gained much coverage. On 20 September 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 organisation that seeks to promote south-south people of Nigeria.
Awards and honours
Dokpesi has received awards to his credit on behalf of DAAR Communications Plc, 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.
Raymond Dokpesi has built schools for community and also offered scholarships to prospective students into tertiary institutions.
Criticism and controversy
On November 11, 2015 Dokpesi, on behalf of the PDP party, made a public apology due to the mismanagement of Nigeria under the PDP governments.
“Make no mistake, the PDP is aware that there were errors made along the way. We admit that at certain times in our past, mistakes have been made; we did not meet the expectations of Nigerians. We tender an apology. But the past is exactly what it is. We call on all party faithful, supporters and sympathisers to partner us going forward."
He also criticised the PDP for fielding Jonathan Goodluck as the PDP's presidential candidate in the March 2015 elections.
Money-Laundering and Corruption Criminal Charges against Raymond Dokpesi
On December 9, 2015, Dokpesi and his company, Daar Holding and Investment Limited, were charged in the Federal High Court, Abuja in a $2.1bn money laundering scam. The money was budgeted for weapons procurement for the Nigerian military to fight against the Boko Haram militants, but was allegedly diverted by Dasuki Sambo, the then National Security Advisor, to Dokpesi's Daar Holding and Investment Limited.
The court charges marked "FHC/ABJ/CR/380/2015" and filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indicated that they are accused of violating the Money Laundering Act, the EFCC Act and the Public Procurement Act. The presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, remanded Mr. Dokpesi EFCC and adjourned the trial until February 17.
- "Raymond Dokpesi retires from Media outfit, hands over to son"}
- "I never said PDP lost by fielding Jonathan – Dokpesi"
- Oyinlola, M. (8 March 2005). Ordeals of the Nigerian media. Daily Sun on the web. Retrieved 29 May 2007 from http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/mediapeople/2005/Mar/08/mediapple-0
- Kolapo, Y. (9 April 2006). Why wont I like women? I am the only son out of thirteen Children-Chief Raymond Dokpesi. Sunday Punch on the web. Retrieved 25 May 2007 from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
- Dokpesi, R. (2006). High chief, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi. Retrieved From http://www.raymonddokpesi.com/
- Ojewale, B. (4 May 2004). Honors for embattled Dokpesi. Daily Independent Online. Retrieved 1 June 2007 from http://news.biafranigeriaworld.com/archive/2004/may/04/0138.html
- "PDP apologizes to Nigerians for “mistakes of the past”"
- "Fielding Jonathan for Election was an Error, Says PDP"
- "FG Files Six-count Charge against Dokpesi for Money Laundering"
- "How Jonathan gave Dokpesi the N2.1billion contract paid for by ex-NSA Dasuki — Family"
- "Dokpesi Pleads Not Guilty To 6 Count Charge Of Financial Crimes"
- "Dasuki, Dokpesi, others charged with money laundering"