Abuja was agog a few days ago when High Chief (Dr.) Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi celebrated his 70th birthday. The turnout was impressive as eminent Nigerians turned up for the celebration. It was also tributes galore as past heads of state, Senate President, Speakers, Governors, Ministers and other top Nigerians revealed a lot about this great Nigerian.
Eminent Lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome called him a pacesetter. Though the Ezomo of Weppa Wanno Kingdom, High Chief (Dr) Raymond Dokpesi was born in Ibadan, on 25th October 1951, and hails from Agenebode, Edo State, he has demonstrated through his endearing qualities that excellence is always possible and achievable. It all begins with belief and drive. DAAR Communications Plc, which he formed, is a testimony to his iconic globalization. DAAR is an acronym from his names DOKPESI ALEOGHO AYAOGHENA RAYMOND.
His early schooling at Loyola College, Ibadan and Immaculate Conception College (ICC), Benin City, where he was the pioneer member of Ozolua Play House (a dance/drama group), adequately prepared him for the task ahead. It is said that the morning tells the day. Having earned his undergraduate degree in the University of Benin, he completed his studies in the University of Gdansk, Poland, where he earned his Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering. Not only did Dokpesi graduate with a distinction and award as the best graduating student in Marine Transport Engineering, which was the first in the last 50 years of Gdansk University’s history at the time, he also served as the President of The Nigerian
Students Union and the African Students Union, Gdansk University, Poland, between 1972 and 1974.
Having thus cut his intellectual teeth, the Ezomo first served as a General Manager in the Federal Ministry of Transport before birthing the African Ocean Lines (AOL) Ltd (the first indigenous shipping line) with late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as partners.
Aleogho will probably be more remembered for blazing private television and radio broadcasting in Nigeria through the establishment of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower. His National honour, plumages of chieftaincy titles across Nigeria, and several honorary degrees testify to his recognition. They demonstrate that excellence, intelligence, industry, drive, resilience and faith in God, are the essential qualities one requires to be great. His love for Nigeria knows no bound. Daily, he is committed to making Nigeria a better place through participation in decent pro-masses politics and human capital investment. A philanthropist per excellence, the Alaba of Osololand’s place in history is best captured by the words of Thomas Carlyle: “no great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men”. As you celebrate your platinum jubilee, may God energize you with long life (Gen 6: 3) and peace that passeth all understanding. (Phil 4: 6).
He studied in Poland. Chief Dr. Olasupo Alli-Balogun, one of Dokpesi’s friends who met him in Poland in 1972 wrote:
In 1972, Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi became the president of the Nigerian Students Union in Poland and his Executive Committee organised a get together for all Nigerian Students to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day on 1st of October in Gdynia, the Northern city of Poland. I came with my then-girlfriend, now my wife, Dr Mrs Wanda Alli-Balogun, from Katowice, a long distant southern city in Poland. Another friend, Joseph Ugonoh, introduced me to him. He later invited us to his flat the next day. That was how our friendship started. Fate smiled at our first meeting. Since our paths crossed in 1972, we have remained inseparable, our friendship blossoms to this day. Our watchword is ‘absolute loyalty’.
Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi’s biggest asset is his loyalty to his friends and causes. I have never seen any man with such a high degree of unquestionable loyalty. He never betrays his causes, his friends, if he believes in you and your cause, you can count on him and go to sleep. There have been so many events, good and bad over the nearly forty-five years that we have known each other that if I try to catalogue them, they will take a book, but suffice me to say again, the watchword for the two of us is LOYALTY which is in a short supply today among men.
A dog loves you, follows you, eats with you on your table, barks at your enemies and wriggles his tails at your friends but it is not the same story with human beings. However, RAAD is different, in his political life, his family life and business life, you see loyalty, he will not let go, he will not let you down. His loyalty and commitment to the Nigerian cause is not politically or financially motivated, it is natural to him, his dedication to Nigeria and Nigerians is the air he breathes, unlike many politicians in Nigeria. Loyalty is Raymond’s other name.
From 1972 when I met and knew you in faraway Poland till today, we have crossed many bridges of life together, we have swum many rivers of life together, we have dined in high and low places together, in all, you are truthful and loyal to yourself, family, friends, Nigeria and every good cause you hold dear and believe in. I have no regret knowing you and being your friend. High Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, you are always yourself. You have nothing else to prove to anybody, you make people know where you stand on issues uncompromisingly. Nothing can rob you of your net-worth, net-health, net-happiness, net thoughts, net-words and net deeds, though they are scrutinised every second by the world, those who do not agree with you and those who see you as a role model. You are Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi- Loyalty.