As you journey to your maker, I cannot but look at the man, the schoolmate, the philanthropist, the humble but great trailblazer who has kept faith being a humanist et al.
HIGHCHIEF RAYMOND ALEOGHO ANTHONY DOKPESI
‘He had an open-door policy that made his Alagbado sprawling office a beehive of activities. Friends, colleagues and associates were always welcome but it never deterred his hands in the control of his growing media empire’
THIS gentle giant came from Loyola College Ibadan to Immaculate Conception College Benin and passed from the class of 1969. He was one year before me, I left in 1970. I didn’t see him again until many years later after he had returned from Poland with a PhD. He was a Personal Assistant to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur at the Ministry of Transport. He was also with Bamanga Tukur when he was Governor Gongola State in the 70s. Dokpesi was uniquely positioned to rise because he was a reliable, dependable confidant of his principal. the relationship lasted till the end.
It is worth noting that he was in the thick of the stormy shareholders’ relationship between Bamanga Tukur, MKO Abiola and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. it culminated in Dokpesi becoming the MD of Africa Ocean Lines. It was a short-lived success story as the main shareholders parted ways and allowed one of Africa’s largest shipping lines to go down. I had seen Dokpesi in his AOL London office. He stood solidly with Bamanga Tukur throughout the imbroglio. Unfortunately, that promising enterprise didn’t last but his resilient spirit did.
In no time he had been breeding his media enterprise when in 1992 he pioneered the first private radio station in Nigeria during the Babangida years. President Babangida granted the first set of private broadcasting licences and Ray Power 100.5fm Radio was born. It was a huge success from the outset. Raymond was never shy to seek advice from people. He always went for the best and he had a good crop of them from Kenny Ogungbe, Sesan Ekisola, Dayo Adeneye, Ladi Lawal (RIP), Tony Akiotu to name a few. There were many who consulted in the background like Muhammed Okorejior (RIP).
He had an open-door policy that made his Alagbado sprawling office a beehive of activities. Friends, colleagues and associates were always welcome but it never deterred his hands in the control of his growing media empire.
I was one of his privileged few who was invited to his beautiful home in Victoria Island to discuss how my programme Soni Irabor Live would have its maiden broadcast on his brand new African Independent Television, AIT. It was High Chief Raymond Dokpesi that named it Soni Irabor Live, SIL. Everyone at the meeting immediately agreed. Kenny Ogungbe, Sesan Ekisola and the late Ladi Lawal all agreed it was a good title. This was in late 1996. High Chief was to ‘stampede me to start immediately! This meant I had to get a Producer, a Director and of course a befitting guest! I got Ebis Ogunoyibo to act as Producer/Director. High Chief directed his staff to build a befitting set for the programme. I was very lucky to get the then High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Mr George Nene. We were over one hour late for the maiden edition of the programme! Reason: heavy traffic from Ikoyi to Alagbado at peak evening rush hour. High Chief Raymond Dokpesi was waiting calmly to receive us in person! I looked distraught; very anxious! But he calmly took us to his office, made us comfortable and I excused myself to go and prepare for the programme. He brought the Ambassador to the studio and we had a very fantastic programme!
I had some of the best guests on Soni Irabor Live on AIT because of High Chief Raymond’s welcoming disposition. Jerry Rawlins of Ghana, Ruth Perry of Liberia, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Senator Jibrin Aminu and Grace Alele Williams; to name a few.
The rest is history.
…hardworking as he was happy-go-lucky, humble yet firm
‘High Chief Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi was as hardworking as he was happy-go-lucky. He was humble yet firm. Very giving (generous is an understatement). His bulky hairy frame belied the simplicity he exuded’
ON a personal note, High Chief was my friend from Immaculate Conception College Benin and he played host to the old students of ICCOBA a few times at his Victoria Island Lagos residence. The last encounter between us was in December 2022 when I appealed to him to be the Chairman at our annual dinner at Federal Palace Hotel. He told me he was just arriving Abuja from Lagos but he would ask his wife Chief Moji Dokpesi to stand in for him. It was a glorious day for all our Old Boys as the wife not only showed up but gave a good account of herself in representing her husband.
High Chief Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi was as hardworking as he was happy-go-lucky. He was humble yet firm. Very giving (generous is an understatement). His bulky hairy frame belied the simplicity he exuded.
His sudden passing is a rude shock! But God gives God takes. One never knows when. We thank God for your great life. I remember you for all the good you represented to us. God bless you as you journey to your creator. May He grant you eternal rest. Adieu Raymond