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IN THE POSTHUMOUS HONOURARY CATEGORY.
LATE. CHIEF RAYMOND ALEOGHO DOKPESI.
Chief Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi (25 October 1951 – 29 May 2023) was a Nigerian media businessman. His parents were from Agenebode, Edo state in a family including six sisters. 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. In May 2020, Dokpesi survived a serious COVID-19 infection. He suffered a stroke shortly after the 2023 Ramadan fast Raymond died from a fall on his treadmill.
Dokpesi started his early schooling with Loyola College, Ibadan. After this, he joined the Immaculate Conception College (ICC) in Benin City where he was the pioneer member of Ozolua Play house, a dance/drama group. He did his undergraduate studies at 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 Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
In the early 1990s, as a result of the historic National Broadcasting Commission decree, according to Muyiwa Oyinlola, Nigerian media was dominated by the government only. Information was only made possible by 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. Dokpesi not only pioneered the first satellite TV, but also the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria. According to the journalist Kolapo, Raymond claimed that AIT set the standard for salary structure in the media industry in which Nigerian Television Authority imitated.
Dokpesi started as the personal assistant to Alhaji Bamaga Tukur, one of the general managers 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.
Dokpesi also had 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 now-Adamawa state government house. He also assumed the same role during Alhaji Adamu Ciroma’s presidential campaign and Tukur’s presidential campaign in 1993, as well as 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 the South South people of Nigeria. In 2017, Dokpesi contested for the PDP National Chairmanship position, but lost to Uche Secondus.
His hometown conferred two chieftaincy titles upon him, both of which are only bestowed on worthy sons. Dokpesi was mentioned during the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award ceremony in Accra, and the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice Geneva, Switzerland for his work with DAAR Communications.