The Chairman Emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, Mr. Raymond Dokpesi, has advised leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to allow the north to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023 general election, in the interest of justices, equity and fairness.
Dokpesi also tasked journalists to continue to hold the government accountable to the citizens, within the context of the ethics of the journalism profession.
The founder of African Television Authority (AIT) and Ray Power 100.5 FM, stated this while speaking with journalists in Abuja as part of the programmes to mark his 70th birthday.
He said that the north had only been in power for less than three years, while the South for 14 – within the political arrangement of the PDP, added that there should be fairness, equity and justice if the party wants to achieve unity.
“The constitution of the PDP says there shall be zoning both for party offices and political offices. And I have remained very consistent in my argument. In 1998, after the G-34, it was Mr. Lawal Kaita, who moved at the G-34 meeting – I was going with Bamaga Tukur to attend all those meeting; Lawal Kaita, a northern moved that late Dr. Alex Ekweme shall become the next president.
‘’But Alex Ekweme said we were in G-34 meeting and not yet a political party, saying when we transform into a political party, we would canvass whether I should be the next president or not. But when the parties came in, the PDP leaders recognised that because of the injustices that have been done to the South-west, by the annulment of June 12, 1993 election, the South-west should be given the opportunity to produce the next president,” he stated.
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Dokpesi argued that because of the necessity, the PDP has agreed there should be rotation within the party, starting from the South.
He continued: ‘’Even in 1995 Conference Report, which Abacha trashed, it was recommended that each zone will have a turn of five years to produce the president of this country – so that in 30 years, every zone would have produced a president. And we would have ended up one united nation, and thereafter begin to explore merit in our political offices.
“But, after four-year of Obasanjo’s tenure there was an expanded caucus meeting of PDP where it was argued that the military had done huge damage to the system and that the PDP’s programmes cannot address all the issues within four years. That it was desirable to extend Obasanjo-led tenure for another four years –in line with the constitution.
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“All the bigwigs of PDP – Alex Ekweme, Dr. Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, and others were present at that meeting and the northern delegates didn’t object to it; they agreed to wait for another four years. And after eight years of Obasanjo’s tenure, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua emerged as the next president.’’
In his authorised biography, “The Handkerchief,” which would be unveiled on October 21 to mark his 70th birthday, Dopkesi spoke about the relationship between the media and the politicians.
He said that with his experience and interaction with all Heads of State and politicians, they love the media generally when they want power, and after attaining power the media became the enemies and the casualties of those in power.
“They want to hear good things only about themselves; they don’t want to hear criticisms or the opinions of people who interestingly elected them into offices.
“But the essence of the media is that there must be a balance; you must allow the people to know about government policies; just as government must allow the feelings of the governed,’’ he stated.
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The authorised biography revealed how he was told by medical experts in Poland that he would not live up to 35 years when he was ravaged by an ailment such that he could not talk for seven years.
According to him, “the doctors returned the same result: even if this young man survived in the immediate, he would not live beyond the age of 35.
“I had no faith in the fact that I was going to live beyond those years. And it was not only because I was told or I felt that I won’t go beyond the age of 35. I was in a hospital in Poland. I was aware that extensive tests had been carried out on me. The doctors came up with that same conclusion that I might not be able to survive.”
Dokpesi said with divine grace, he has lived up to 70 years.
Ohanaeze tackles Dokpesi
Reacting, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described as ‘unfortunate’ the comment of Raymond Dokpesi, who said that there is no candidate in the South East or in the entire South that can win the presidency in 2023 under the Peoples Democratic Party.
“The South East cannot win the election for the PDP. That is just the truth of the matter. I don’t beat around the bush; I treat issues as they are and as I understand them. There is no candidate from the South East, even I dare say there is no candidate from the South that you put in the North today that will be able to win. It is going to be a humongous challenge.”
But Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement on Tuesday signed by its National Publicity Secretary Alex Ogbonnia, titled, ‘Dokpesi Oscillates’, said the chairman of Daar Communications’ comments negated the position of the 17 southern governors that presidency should return to the South in 2023.
“Dokpesi’s assumptions are unreflective, weird and unworthy. Any person who loves Nigeria should be an advocate of power rotation, especially between the north and the South; and those our sons and daughters who lay claim to leadership should not, under any guise, give the impression that the south is a lame-duck, an electoral liability; and therefore must depend on the north to define the political trajectory of Nigeria.”
Ohanaeze regretted that as one of the leaders of the South-South People Assembly, Dokpesi should seek to promote south-south people of Nigeria with his fortune instead of playing to the gallery to appeal to his benefactors in the north.
The apex Igbo sociocultural body said it would have ignored his comment as a mundane distraction but was constrained to react to “save the gullible public from his shibboleth,” while it maintained that until there is justice in Nigeria, there can never be peace.
The statement partly reads: “Those who lament on the bleak future of Nigeria often cite the unpredictable character of our leaders.
“The Greek political philosopher, Plato, was so dissatisfied with leaders who lacked the moral strength to act according to the common good – in other words, rulers motivated by self-interest were not good leaders. Most do not realize that the forces of morality and justice constitute the transcendental cord that holds humanity in shape.
“In other words, there can never be peace in the absence of justice. Put differently, Nigeria will remain in crises until the leaders embrace justice, equity and fairness as a guiding philosophy.
“I sympathise with our southern son, Chief Dokpesi because he started as the personal assistant to Alhaji Bamaga Tukur at the Nigerian Ports Authority. Dokpesi also served under Alhaji Umaru Dikko and General Garba Wushishi. Records reveal that Alh. Bamanga Tukur paid his fees from secondary school to the post graduate level. To that extent, he owes allegiance to his benefactors and feels no compunction to profile the entire south as electoral liability.
“One can easily understand the psychological ambivalence in the Dokpesi persona. On the other hand, there is no reason for the condescension and disdain he handed over to the entire South.
Ohanaeze however, reminded Dokpesi that several educated refined patriotic northerners were allergic to the supremacist born to rule entrepreneurs which it said had created the current Nigerian dilemma.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is dismayed that Dokpesi could demonstrate this type of duplicity in a matter that is so clearly defined.
“The human spirit does not oscillate like a pendulum; East, West, North and South. The rotation of presidency between the North and the South is the truth. Two options are before the advocates of justice and progress in Nigeria; we either choose light or darkness”
Court orders EFCC to remove Dokpesi from watch list
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to remove the name of Chief Raymond Dokpesi, from its watch list.
Justice John Tsoho ruled that there was no justification to keep Dokpesi on the watch list since there were no criminal charges or allegations pending against him.
Delivering his ruling in an application filed and argued by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), on behalf of Dokpesi, Justice Tsoho said keeping Dokpesi on the watch list of the EFCC would amount to disobedience to the Court of Appeal judgment which in April this year quashed the N2.1bn money laundering charges against him.
Recall that the Court of Appeal (Abuja Division), had on April 1, dismissed the N2.1bn money laundering charges filed against Dokpesi by EFCC.
The court had upheld the no-case submission filed by Dokpesi and Daar Communications in the seven counts levelled against him.
Earlier a Federal High court in Abuja had in November, 2018 dismissed the no-case submission filed by Dokpesi on the grounds that a prima facie had been established against him by the EFCC in the alleged N2.1bn money laundering charges.
Dokpesi had approached the Court of Appeal and asked that the ruling of the lower court be set aside and his no case submission be upheld.