Prior to the advent of the Ibrahim Babangida regime (1985-1993), the Nigerian broadcasting industry had been a government monopoly. The policy of liberalisation of the economy opened the door for private participation in this area. Dokpesi was one of those who took advantage of the new policy environment. He quickly established his FM station, Ray Power 100.5. The station caught on instantly as a popular entertainment and information medium. It was later followed by his television station, the Africa Independent Television (AIT). At a later stage still, Dokpesi ventured into the area of Digital Satellite subscription television service without the success recorded by either the FM or television ventures.
It is also on record that Dokpesi established the first indigenous shipping line on the continent. Now defunct, the African Shipping Lines was involved in the formulation of Nigerian Shipping Act Decree 1986 which birthed cargo sharing formula between developed and under-developed countries. He was also in the presidential committee on long-term measure to contain piracy and security problems in Nigerian seaports and territorial waters in the early 80’s.
Born on 25th October 1951 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Dokpesi hailed from Agenebode in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State. He attended Ebenezer African Church School and Loyola College, both in Ibadan, as well as Immaculate Conception College, Benin. He worked briefly with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as a marine office cadet in 1969 before proceeding to Poland for further studies. At the Universities of Wyxsa Szokta Morska Gdynia and Gdnask Sopot where he obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, Dokpesi was at various times president of the Nigerian Students Union, African Students Union, Poland, and the International Students Association.
Upon completing his doctorate degree programme, Dokpesi started work at his alma mater, University of Gdnask as an assistant lecturer in marine transport economics before returning to Nigeria in 1978. Back home, Dokpesi worked with the federal ministry of transport and aviation as the head of water transport division. His adventure in politics started during the Second Republic. From October to December 1983, he was the Chief of Staff to the then Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) Governor, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. When the military toppled the government, Dokpesi ventured into the private sector. Under the current dispensation, Dokpesi was a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The late Dokpesi was a Fellow of several professional bodies among them, the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Automotive and Locomotive Engineers Institute, Chartered Institute of Transport, Nigerian Institute of Management, Nigeria Institute of Shipping, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and the Institute of Transport Administration, United Kingdom. He also authored several publications, including ‘Optimal size of tankers for Nigerian international trade’, ‘Technology change in shipping and its impact on Ports’, ‘The role of seaports in the structural adjustment programme,’ etc.
In all his engagements, Dopkesi was hard to ignore. He left his marks in every field that he was engaged in. And with his death, Nigeria has lost a veteran media giant, an astute businessman, a political titan, and a philanthropist. We commiserate with his family and wish them strength as they navigate this most difficult period.
The sudden death of the Chairman of DAAR Communications, Dr. Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, has come as a rude jolt to the media community. Apart from his general prominence as a social icon, Dokpesi will be remembered more for his pioneering role in the onset of private broadcasting in Nigeria.
Raymond Dokpesi, marine engineer, media mogul and politician, dies aged 71
DAAR Communications Plc. is an independent privately owned broadcasting organization in Nigeria. It was established on 31 August 1998. On 23 April 2007, it was converted into a public liability company.
Africa Independent Television, also known by its acronym AIT, launched on 22nd November 1996, is a privately owned television broadcaster in Nigeria. It operates Free To Air in Nigeria as the largest privately operated terrestrial television network with stations in twenty-four out of thirty-six states in Nigeria. AIT also broadcast via satellite television from its operational headquarters in Abuja. AIT is a subsidiary of DAAR Communications Plc., available throughout Africa, and via Dish Network to North America.
Ray Power FM, another subsidiary of DAAR Communications Plc. is a group of independent private Nigerian radio stations broadcasting in multiple cities nationwide with broadcast stations is some major cities in Nigeria which includes: Kano, Lagos, Osogbo, Ibadan, Bauchi, Delta, Plateau, Bayelsa, Kastina, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Abuja.
As of today, Ray Power FM is the first private radio station with over 20 sub stations spread across the country.