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2023: Ohanaeze Ndigbo knocks Dokpesi over comment on Southern presidency

Prof. George Obiozor
High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder, Daar Communications PLC

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has lashed out at the Chairman of Daar Communications Ltd., Chief (Dr.) Raymond Dokpesi for saying that no candidate for the presidency from the Southern part of the country could win the 2023 election.

The position, canvassed by Dokpesi in a recent interview with Daily Trust Newspaper, which runs contrary to the resolution of the 17 Southern Governors, that the presidency of the country must rotate to the South in 2023, according to a statement by Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, is “unreflective, weird and unworthy” of a man who would in a matter of days clock 70 years.

Chief Ogbonnia also pointed out that Chief Dokpesi, in the interview, was oscillating between his position that no southerner could win the election, and the position that “if we believe in the unity of Nigeria and we also believe in equity, justice, and fairness, there is no reason we should not give it to the South East” and support for the presidential aspiration of Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Suggesting that ”the psychological ambivalence in the Dokpesi persona” could be as a result of his attempt to satisfy his Northern benefactors, some of who he mentioned, Ogbonnia quickly pointed out that there are “several educated refined patriotic northerners” who “are allergic to the supremacist born to rule entrepreneurs which has created the current Nigerian dilemma.”

The Ohanaeze spokesman expressed confidence that “a class of Northerners with conscience will join the moving train” of power shift, stressing that 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.”

Full text of the statement reads:

 DOKPESI OSCILLATES

The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been drawn to the press interview granted by the Chairman, Daar Communications Ltd Chief Dr. Raymond Anthony Dokpesi to the Daily Trust Newspaper on Saturday, October 9, 2021. One would have ignored some parts of the interview as a mundane distraction but coming from a man who is held in a high esteem at various quarters, it becomes very imperative to save the gullible public from the Dokpesi shibboleth.

 In the said interview, Dokpesi stated: “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.”

Before we respond to the High Chief, it is important to note that in the lottery of life, Dokpesi has been so favoured by providence. One would think that he has everything going for him. For instance, in 1994, Dokpesi launched the first Nigerian private FM radio station, the Ray Power; two years later, he launched Africa Independent Television (AIT) to run a 24 hour broadcasting service in Nigeria with signals in the United States and Europe; established the first indigenous shipping line in Nigeria. Above all, Dokpesi is self-actualized with a doctorate degree, PhD in engineering. By all standards, Dokpesi is a wealthy man. Interestingly, records show that Dokpesi is one of the leaders of the South-South People Assembly (SSPA) an organization that seeks to promote south-south people of Nigeria. So, Dokpesi is no less a leader.

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. In the words of Chief Obafemi Awolowo; “Those of us placed in a position of leadership must be prepared to grasp the nettle, and if we unite in doing so, and if, in addition, we set a worthy example in probity, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice, the people will follow, all too readily, in our footsteps.”

I sympathize with our southern son, Chief Dokpesi because he started as the personal assistant to Alhaji Bamanga 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. According to him; “even I dare say there is no candidate from the South that you put in the North today that will be able to win.” In another development,  Dokpesi recalls his friendship with Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his support for Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

 For the avoidance of doubt, several educated refined patriotic northerners are allergic to the supremacist born to rule entrepreneurs which has created the current Nigerian dilemma.

All the 17 Southern Governors in their meetings have resolved on the need for a power shift to the South. The Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi committee on zoning has declared that the national chairmanship of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, should go to the North, while the Presidency should go to the South. I want to use this opportunity to commend Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; a man with a clear leadership prospectus, a moral edifice and democracy archetype.  He has by the PDP zoning exercise written his name in gold.

It is therefore curious the kind of appraisal parameters or the kind of epitaph that the business mogul, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi wishes to be remembered. In one sentence, Dokpesi proclaimed that “If we are the Nigerians, I want us to be, if we believe in the unity of Nigeria and we also believe in equity, justice, and fairness, there is no reason we should not give it to the South East if the slot is given to the South.” In another breath, Dokpesi averred that “whoever emerges as the president of Nigeria would have to compensate the people of the South East if truly, we want the emergence of the new Nigeria.” 

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is dismayed that Dokpesi could demonstrate this type of duplicity in a matter that is so clearly defined. 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. 

Finally, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi is reminded that in a few days’ time, he will join the pantheon of elders at 70. He is therefore persuaded at 70 to appreciate the enormous powers of the human spirit. The human spirit breaks the physical boundaries which the mundane circumstances usually impose in order to limit the human imaginations and possibilities. In order words, as water finds its level and objects obey the law of gravity, so is the constant and predictable characteristics of spirituality. The human spirit does not oscillate like a pendulum; East, West, North and South.

I congratulate the 17 Southern governors in their resolve for power shift. That is the ideal and surely, a class of Northerners with conscience will join the moving train. 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

Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide

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