By NBF News

Saturday,  November 5, 2011
It was a time for celebration last week when High Chief Aleogho Raymond Dokpesi, the media mogul and chairman of Daar Communications turned 60. It was an auspicious time for members of his family, friends, business allies and others to toast to his achievements and contributions to the socio-economic development of the country. Indeed, the huge gathering was a testimony of his personality, as the notable and the commoners converged in his honour.

The celebration started with thanksgiving at the Church of Assumption, Asokoro, Abuja and ended with a large reception at the DAAR Communications premises on the Kpaduma Hills, Asokoro.

Some of the guests spoke to Saturday Sun on the man Dokpesi, who means so many things to different persons, depending on how and for what they know him.

Senator Ken Nnamani, ex-Senate president
When you talk of people who have fought for and contributed to the success of the nation's democracy, Raymond stands out. There is a singular act for which history of the nation would forever remember him for good. That was the role he played when I was the Senate president. In so many ways, he made my work and that of the Senate easy. His courage to air the Senate debate on third term live changed a lot of things in the nation's course of democracy. And but for that courage, we won't know what would have come next in the nation. And I will tell you that with that, he offended many and he paid dearly for it. As you come into this premises, you will see the signs in the demolished buildings. That is what those who took offence for his act did to him. But he remains undeterred. That is the respect I have for him for loving Nigeria and serving her.

Chief Tom Adaba
It is not enough to say Dopkesi impacted on the media. If it were only the media, it would have been a different case. But Raymond has done so much more than impacting the development and enhancement of the media. He had impacted the nation, the world and mankind. You know where he came from into the media. He has made his marks in so many fields. But most of all, Raymond made his greatest impact on the evolution of our democracy on that day he defied the odds and broadcast live the third term debate. There are many Nigerians who would not exercise such courage and I assure you that if he didn't, the nation's political history would have been a different story. That step changed the course of the nation for good because as AIT beamed to the world what happened that day, a lot of plans that would not have been in the best interest of the nation were scuttled. That, to me, is the height of his exploits and I praise him for that.

Mike Ozekhome (SAN), rights activist, lawyer
Dokpesi is courage personified. He is a man of wits. He has carriage. He is a fighter. He is a hero of the nation in so many ways. He is a trailblaser. He is a creative mind. Dopkesi is a man of sagacity and a strong believer in the nation and humanity. In him is the true spirit of the Etsako man, the quintessential Edo man and an embodiment of the real values of the real African nationalist of our time. He is not done yet because I know God will still use him better and bigger. For him, eulogies and encomiums are endless, so I will stop here.

Peter Odili, ex- Rivers State governor
He is a great man. I can tell you with all seriousness that there are not many Nigerians like Raymond. He is steadfast, with solid character, principled, honest, sincere and a friend for all time. And above all, he is a highly gifted and talented human being. God has been extraordinarily kind to him and he has used God's gift to serve humanity. I wish him many more years and we pray that God will give him the grace to improve on what he has done in the past to the service of mankind.

Mojisola Dokpesi, wife
He is a gift to humanity. He is very kind, very generous, focused, courageous, ready to help at any time and with all his achievements, he is humble. He is not a conventional kind of father, not a conventional kind of husband but he is a good man. My wish for him is that God gives him emotional stability, physical stability and wisdom - which is mental stability and so shall it be in Jesus' name.

Tom Ikimi, ex-minister
Well, you can see from this event, that he is extremely popular and well regarded and quite a great achiever. He has made some long-lasting friends and you can see that they have all come here in full force to honour him. At 60, I wish him more years in good health because he seems to have great ideas all the time to enrich the system. So, he needs good health, strength, and I hope that he will have another ten solid years for his activities and another ten to rest.

Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State governor
You know, when we talk of fighters, people talk in terms of war, in terms of the oppressed. Dokpesi, with all his accomplishments, remains the fighter. He fights his rights to defend… I mean, he has been on the firing line in defence of our rights, we the ordinary people; our right to know, our right to be informed, our right to question, our right to interrogate power. Those are the rights that he keeps fighting for. And as you can see, the fact of his personal comfort has not in any sense, frustrated his commitment to identify with popular calling. And there are not too many people of his age and level that will put their business on the line just to ensure that the society can make progress.

We from Edo State are very proud of him. As a Nigerian, I am very proud of him. His whole life experience and accomplishments have taught us one lesson: that any human being, anyone, can rise to any level and that by sheer determination, there is nothing that is impossible. I think today is a happy day. For a country in which life expectancy is less than 50, and he has today celebrated his 60th birthday, by the grace of God, he will celebrate many, many more years. I think we have every cause to join him, join his well wishers to celebrate for what he has done in his life and what he has done for Nigeria and we, the ordinary people.

Julius Ihonvbere, kinsman, academic
I think God has blessed him. He has achieved all that many of his mates, contemporaries have not achieved. We can only pray that he continues to commit himself to the course of democracy of helping the underprivileged and continues to contribute to the growth of the fattening of the Nigerian media. I think he is a good role model. I admire him, he is a good friend of mine, he is a brother and I respect him and I believe that we have got together before and I believe that he has external leadership qualities. I think this is just the beginning for him.

Raymond Dokpesi, Jnr, son
Well, it is incredible! At 60, he has done so much. It seems he will be here forever. He is a wonderful father. He is not a conventional father and he tries as much as possible not to be a father of one person but a father of all. So, there is always that desire to praise him more as a father but I think overall, he is someone that we are very proud of, that we appreciate for all the things he has done and I think that deep down in his heart, he is also a very loving and caring person.

Bamanga Tukur, ex-Gongola State gov and businessman

He is my son. Therefore, I only wish him long life, wish him good health in a lot of capacity to Nigeria, West Africa and to the whole world.