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 the 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 meetings; 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.
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.
“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.
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.”