Daily Independent Online.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004.
Honours for embattled Dokpesi
By Banji Ojewale
Head, Covers & Investigation,
Rambunctious Raymond Anthony Aleogho
Dokpesi, executive chairman of Daar Communications well-known operators of even
more popular RayPower FM (1&2) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), has
come a long way from Ibadan (Loyola College) through Sopat (University of
Gdansk, Poland) and down to Lagos where, as a budding socialite and
philanthropist, he inspired King Sunny Ade to wax a melodious panegyric which
deejays still turn on in a collection of tunes of yesteryears.
That long-winding trajectory of
Dokpesi’s life isn’t the full-orbed picture. For the man was also the Managing
Director of Africa Ocean Lines. He
rendered priceless work to Nigeria when he served on the committee on
Decentralization of Nigerian Ports (1983), Shipping Policy Implementation
committee (1985) and committee on the Commercialisation of Nigerian Ports (1987).
There are literary activities to boot. A Dokpesi watcher told Daily
few Nigerians are aware that Dokpesi has churned out some seminal works on the
maritime industry. I readily
recall two publications: Thoughts
on Nigerian National Shipping Policy in 1980 and The issue of a shipping
policy for Nigeria six years later … We in the industry value these
But his foray into politics was
tragic. The National Republican
Convention he sauntered into was plagued with the ill-luck of its
creator’s devilry. Had the
party, along with its twin survived, it would have been the eighth wonder of
A wonder of a sort did come eventually for
Dokpesi when he launched Nigeria’s first private FM Radio Station in
1994. He brought colour and
panache to the nation’s dour airwaves, which had lost the old
glamour. Two years later there
came something more ambitious: the entry of AIT.
The instant success or rather the reception
accorded the channel in Lagos and several other cities as it spread its reach
was phenomenal. One newspaper
writer exaggerated the situation when he said that “What Dr. Dokpesi has
done to the TV industry is akin to the revolution Chief Obafemi Awolowo
initiated when he started Black Africa’s TV station, WNTV, in Ibadan in
Obviously that was a precipitate,
far-fetched comparison. For so
early in its life, AIT posted signals of a poor run of operations at all
levels. Dokpesi broke his covenant
with the staff when he cut their salaries twice. Later there were a series of yearly retrenchments. Finally, the era of perennial salary
delays and defaults set in. It is
still the order of the day.
To Dokpesi’s credit, however, AIT and
Ray-Power remain unbowed before this welter of storms. He has even dug in through studio and
editorial outposts in key cities in Nigeria, Europe and North America, even if
output is a far cry from thoroughness.
Industry watchers say the elemental
never-say-die spirit Dokpesi has applied in keeping his broadcast chain afloat
is what he would also resort to as he battles the National Broadcasting
Commission in his capacity as the Chairman of the Independent Broadcasting
Association of Nigeria. They
don’t descry defeat in his path.
If victory at the local scene is yet to
come for the Daar Communications boss, it is already a reality at the
international level. It came last
week through the esteemed Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award in Accra, Ghana
and the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dokpesi received the prestigious awards for
“your Daar Communications foresight and meteoric rise to the top in
Africa … Your Radio and
Television stations’ contributions and achievements as a focused establishment
that has placed Nigeria on the world map… are therefore
Threatened and beleaguered at home, Dokpesi might just rest
in the nest of last week’s awards, where he would take consolation and
inspiration in the company of other illustrious winners like Gani Fawehinmi
(SAN), Ufot Ekaette, Secretary to the Nigerian Government, and Kola Daisi, a