By Dapo Akinrefon, Henry Umoru, Ozioruva Aliu & Ochuko Akuopha
The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, led by the South-South leader, Edwin Clark, and Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, have described the death of the founder of African Independent Television, AIT/Raypower, Raymond Dokpesi, as sad, shocking and painful.
Dokpesi died on Monday, aged 71.
Also, former Senate president, David Mark; former Enugu State governor, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani; former Edo State governor, Lucky Igbinedion; former Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Roland Owie; Edo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; former Edo State governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole; Edo State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu, and Mr. Afam Ogene, House of Representatives member-elect for Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Anambra State, have also mourned Dokpesi.
The Guild of Editors, in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Mustapha Isah and Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, described Dokpesi as a disruptive innovator in the broadcast industry, who worked very hard and firmly to promote independent press, freedom of the press and access to information.
They said: “Dokpesi played a strategic role in the liberalisation of broadcast industry in Nigeria, with his establishment of the first private radio station, Raypower 100.5FM, in Nigeria.
“An employer of many editors and hundreds of other journalists in Nigeria, he firmly used his media outfits to deepen democracy and raise the voice of the voiceless in our country.
“From several testimonies of his employees, the founder of Daar Communications treated his staff members and everyone who crossed his path with love and respect, always ready to listen and give useful advice when needed.”
On its part, PANDEF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ken Robinson, said: “The National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Emmanuel Essien, has on behalf of its National Leader, Chief Clark, the Board of Trustees, and the National Executive Committee, expressed shock and sadness at the sudden demise of the founder of AIT/Raypower, Chief Dokpesi, Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno Kingdom, Edo State.
“PANDEF notes that Dokpesi, as a pioneer in the private Broadcast Industry in Nigeria, contributed immensely in highlighting issues of the Niger Delta region, through his media outfits: Raypower FM, and Africa Independent Television, AIT.
“Particularly, the media mogul bestowed to PANDEF valuable media space, which helped to consolidate the efforts of the Forum.
“His passing is painful, a great loss not only to his family, the Media industry and the Niger Delta region, but, also the entire country, especially at this juncture of our nation’s history. Our deepest thoughts, at this time, are with his entire families.”
Dokpesi’s death a great loss to Nigeria —Oborevwori
Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Festus Ahon, said Dokpesi’s death was a huge loss to the media industry and the entire nation, especially at this period in the country’s fledgling democracy.
Oborevwori said: “It is with great sadness that I, my family, the government and people of Delta commiserate with the management of DAAR Communications Plc, the Dokpesi family of Aganebode in Edo State on the passing of a septuagenarian and elder statesman, Chief Dokpesi.
“His death remains a great loss not just to his family but to the entire nation given his role as a successful media entrepreneur, businessman and exceptional statesman.”
Dokpesi was a visionary leader—Mark
Former Senate president, David Mark, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Mumeh, said: “Dokpesi was the visionary leader who pioneered the emergence of private broadcasting in Nigeria with AIT television and Ray Power Fm radio.
“His exit at this time is devastating. He was so passionate about the development of Nigeria. We shall miss his robust and positive contributions to the socio economic and political development of Nigeria.”
Similarly, Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Nigeria/NEPAD, Senator Nnamani, noted that the astute politician and media giant was a man of the people, whose goodwill cut across religious and ethnic boundaries in Nigeria and beyond, recalling that Dokpesi’s pioneering role in the battle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria and rule law.
Nnamani, who lamented that Dokpesi departed when his services to the nation were mostly needed, said: “Dokpesi’s frontline role in the emergence of private broadcasting in Nigeria with AIT television and Ray Power Fm radio as well as 24 hours broadcasting is worthy of commendation.”
Igbinedion, Owie, Edo NUJ mourn Dokpesi
Former Edo State governor, Lucky Igbinedion, who described the late Dokpesi as a personal friend, noted that he was a rare bred ambassador of Edo State, who committed all “his time and resources to the development of Edo State in particular and Nigeria at large,” adding that his death has created a huge vacuum to both the Dokpesi and the PDP families.
On his part, Owie expressed sorrow over the passing of Dokpesi widely regarded as the “doyen of private broadcasting in Africa.”
In his statement, Senator Owie, said: “The Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno, Dokpesi was a trailblazer and a visionary. His remarkable journey began with academic excellence as a scholar in Poland before returning to Nigeria to establish himself as an expert in the shipping industry.”
On its part, Edo State Council of the NUJ in a statement by its Chairman, Festus Alenkhe, described the death of Dokpesi as a great loss to the Media Industry.
He recalled the various journalists that are in the employment of the AlT and described Dokpesi as a successful business executive.
Alenkhe said: “Dokpesi left behind a great legacy in the media world,” adding that his Radio and Television stations have also helped in deepening democracy in Nigeria.”
Also, Senator-elect for Edo North Senatorial District, Adams Oshiomhole, in a statement by his media aide, Victor Oshioke, said: “The news of Dokpesi’s death is hard to believe, shocking and devastating. It is a monumental loss to Afemai land, and the vacuum created by his departure will be hard to fill.
“Dokpesi is a household name as a pioneer in the development of private ownership of electronic media in Nigeria. He made an appreciable mark in the Nigerian political terrain just as he was a resourceful captain of industry. He will be remembered for his resilience and tenacity in the battles he fought during the dark days of military dictatorship, for the emergence of a vibrant, independent, and responsive media in Niger.”
Similarly, Edo State Deputy Governor, Shaibu, in a statement said: “The deceased until his death was a chieftain and one of founding fathers of the PDP and Chairman, Daar Communications, owners of AIT/Raypower.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of an illustrious Edo son and distinguished Nigerian, High Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, at the age of 71 years.
“May his gentle soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen.”
His iconic legacies would live after him —Gani Adams
Also, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, yesterday, expressed shock over the death of Chief Dokpesi, saying his iconic legacies would live after him.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said the late media tycoon and politician played his part by impacting the media world like a colossus, birthing the first private television and radio broadcast in Nigeria.
He said: “I received with rude shock the news of the death of one of our brilliant patriots and media tycoon, the late Chief Dokpesi.
“He was an accomplished and respected businessman, a pioneer in the media industry and a philanthropist who dedicated his life to the service of this country and his community.”
Ogene mourns Dokpesi
Mr. Afam Ogene, House of Representatives member-elect for Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Anambra State, described the passing of Chief Dokpesi as a big blow to the media industry and Nigeria’s democracy, both of which his innovation in the media industry helped to nurture and sustain.