By Uche Amunike
The remains of the founder of African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Raypower FM, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has been buried in his country home, Agenebode, in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, Thursday, amid tears by family members, friends, well wishers, including residents of Agenebode.
His funeral Mass, which took place at the open field of St Peters Secondary School in Agenebode and was presided over by the Bishop of Auchi diocese, Most Reverend Gabriel Dunia.
During his homily, the Bishop described the late Raymond Dokpesi as a humble person and extolled him for being very charitable. His words: ‘As the saying goes, charity covers a multitude of sin. He represented charity; he repented and came back to represent his creator. We must return to God. We must use this occasion, no matter who we are, to return to God. We must continue his charity work because the dead can no longer do charity, but he said that even in death, he will continue to do charity through his media outfit.’
Prior to his funeral ceremony in his home state, a farewell ceremony was organized for him by his family, Tuesday, in Abuja and was well attended by dignitaries in the communications terrain and beyond.
List of attendees included former president Goodluck, Ebele Jonathan, presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general polls, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, former governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and former governor James Onanefe Ibori of Delta State.
Speaking, during the event, Goodluck Jonathan extolled the late septuagenarian and described him as a great motivator who encouraged and stood by him after he lost the presidential election in 2015 and taught him that there was life after the election.
On his part, Atiku Abubakar said that the reason why he has enjoyed a friendship of over 40years with Raymond Dokpesi was because of how much he cared about Nigeria and showed commitment towards developing it.
Dokpesi established the first private radio station in the country, in 1994 while his TV station, AIT came onboard in 1996. AIT was the first satellite television in Africa, while Raypower FM was the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria. He has also contributed significantly to the media industry in the country and his TV station, AIT was the first African broadcast station to transmit to the United States of America. He was also conferred with the national honour of the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2008.
Sadly, he died on May 29, at 71, after he fell down while using a treadmill machine as he was advised, in order to recover from a yet to be disclosed illness. He would have turned 72 in October.
Also to witness Raymond Dokpesi buried, were National Security Adviser to President Bola Tinubu, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, immediate past Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Senator Ben Obi, and representatives of traditional institutions.