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Corporate Nigeria shuts down Lagos for Wigwe

• As Dangote, Edun, Cardoso, Sanwo-Olu, Adesina, Aig-Imoukhuede others pay tribute

Corporate Nigeria and some political titans turned up yesterday to celebrate the life and times of the late Chief Executive Officer of Access Corporation Plc, Herbert Wigwe who all of them described as a titan.

In  an emotion laden ‘Night of Tributes’ with touching memories, dignitaries from the public and private sectors, led by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, governors of Lagos and Ogun states, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor and bank chief executives sang praises of the late bank chief.

Wigwe, 57 years old,   who was also MD/CEO Access Bank Plc, died in a helicopter crash in United States on February 9, 2024, alongside his wife, Chizoba Wigwe, his Son, Chizi Wigwe amd former President, Nigeria Exchange, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Other dignitaries at the event include President, African Development Bank, AfDB, Adesina Akinwunmi, Chairman Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, Chairman Coronation  Capital, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO, GTHoldings Plc, Segun Agbaje, CEO of FirstBank Nigeria Limited, Adesola Adedutan and the President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Mr. Ken Okpara.

* Dangote

In his tribute, Dangote descibed the late Herbert Wigwe as a loyal friend and a pillar of support for him and his family.

Fighting to hold back tears, Dangote narrated how late Herbert encouraged him in his business pursuits.

Dangote described the late Herbert as a visionary role model with courage second to none.

“I am proud to name him my devoted friend, mentee and supporter. I will forever cherish the warmth of his friendship,” Dangote said.

Dangote also disclosed plans to   immotalise the late banker by naming the road to the Dangote Refinery as Herbert Wigwe road.

* Adesina

AfDB President, Adesina Akinwunmi, in his tribute said:  ‘’Herbert Wigwe brought pride to Nigeria and   to Africa.

“He was relentless, determined, bold, visionary, inspiring, with exceptional drive   for excellence. Everything he touched became gold

“Herbert is a   bankers   banker, and investors asset holder. His drive for major achievements sparks courage. Herbert was bankable and Access Bank was bankable.”

* Aig-Imoukhuede

The chairman, Coronation Capital, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, described Herbert Wigwe as a brilliant banker who help to transform the banking industry in Nigeria.

* Edun

Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, described late Herbert as a pillar of support who was full of knowledge, ideas and creative thinking.

“He gave me his time and thinking. He had solutions, never at a loss,” said Edun.

* Sanwo-Olu

Governor, Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, paid glowing tributes to the leadership qualities of late Herbert Wigwe, especially in rallying support to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Herbert led from the front during the difficult period of COVID 19.

Describing the late banker as a brother, friend adviser, who supported the infrastructure drive of his administration, Sanwo Olu said Lagos would not forget Herbert Wigwe.

* Gov Abiodun

Herbert believed in Nigeria—Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State governor on his part, praised the late Herbert for his commitment to Nigeria

“Herbert believed in Nigeria. He did everything to support Nigeria.  He was intelligent, bold and lived two lifetimes in one.”

* Cardoso

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso described  late Herbert Wigwe as a trully exceptional individual who played a pivotal role in transforming Access   Bank into one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions.

I spoke with Herbert 2 weeks before he died —Agbaje

* Agbaje

The Group Chief Executive Officer of GT Holdings, Mr Segun Agbaje, in his tribute, said he spoke with the late Herbert two weeks before he died, just as he described him (Herbert) as a fierce competiton.

Agbaje said: “It is indeed a very difficult for me. Herbert was my colleague, friend, competitor and brother. Only Herbert could have been all those things to a human being.

‘’We started as colleagues. I met Herbert in November 1991, we were both in the corporate bank. And then, as we all matured, Herbert became my real brother.

‘’He would alweays make the phone call to get you out of the spot you were in. It is weird that my last conversation with him was two weeks before he died.

He came to my house to talk about his obsession which was his university.”

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