• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Herbert Wigwe and the end of time

Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Herbert Wigwe and the end of time

The grief and celebration of the lives of Abimbola Ogunbanjo and Herbert Wigwe touch many minds, especially those in the banking and investment worlds. I commend the friends and families of the late former chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, who lost his life while on a private trip with the Wigwes. Abimbola was described as a noble gentleman who communicated with apt knowledge and respect for whoever he was talking to. He was known for being frank, pleasant, and driven by the impact he intended to make. Undoubtedly, the Nigerian capital market will miss Abimbola’s rich experience.

Read also: Who was Abimbola Ogunbanjo

The loss of Herbert, his wife, and his first son is traumatic to anyone who knows or does not know Herbert Wigwe. The deaths of three members of the same family are deeply felt by anyone. May God give the Wigwes the fortitude to bear the loss associated with the unfortunate event. The experience is regrettable, and it marks the end of time in the lives of the departed’s families, friends, associates, and colleagues.
Herbert Wigwe, a remarkable leader, lived a short 57 years but left an indelible mark on the minds of those he touched. His kindness, dedication, fearlessness, and drive for achievements are indescribable. His life is an attestation of influence, impact, and legacy. As a leadership coach, trainer, and speaker, I have studied Herbert at a distance, using real-life examples and Africa-related stories to drive home my points. Herbert’s philosophies have been under my radar since Access Bank was taken over in 2002.

I am not interested in how Access Bank was acquired or merged with Intercontinental and Diamond banks. There are always three sides to any story: the truth, mine, and yours. What is important at this stage for aspiring leaders is how Herbert used his platfThe author discusses the long-standing partnership in Nigeria between Fola Adeola-Tayo Aderinola, who founded GT Bank and grew it together without separating. Tayo succeeded Fola in a smooth transition. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe took lessons from Fola and Tayo, including excellence, mutual understanding, and resilience. In the early days of Access Bank, they focused on strategic business functions, with Aigboje as the managing director and Herbert as the business guru. Herbert would unilaterally make decisions impacting Aigboje and inform him via phone.orm to advance the course of banking and the lives of people before the end of his time.

Finding a strong, enduring partnership can be a challenge, especially in the fast-paced world of business. However, Nigeria offers a couple of inspiring examples that defy the odds. The first is the remarkable duo of Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinola, the minds behind GT Bank’s success story. They built the bank together, their leadership transitioning seamlessly from one to the other. Their unwavering commitment to their shared vision is truly inspiring.

Read also: Herbert Wigwe, wife, son, laid to rest in Isiokpo

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe, the leaders who shaped Access Bank, clearly took notes from Fola and Tayo. More than just replicating the partnership model, they adopted the core principles of excellence, mutual understanding, and resilience. In their early days, their roles were clearly defined: Aigboje, the managing director, handled strategic business functions, while Herbert, the “business guru,” led specific business units. Their trust in each other was evident; Herbert could make critical decisions impacting Aigboje’s area and simply inform him by phone. This level of clear communication and trust speaks volumes about the strength of their partnership.

Q: “They created fearless individuals with knowledge, confidence, and drive like no other.”

Unlike our traditional winner-take-all, Fola, Tayo, Aigboje, and Herbert are case studies of people with accommodating principles working together for a greater purpose than their ego, desire, and sentiments. It takes enormous courage to do that, given our tenacity to always want to be the showman.

Now to the late Herbert, a man whose work was larger than life in death. Herbert, to me, made the difference. He built an institution where anyone could become someone. In 2009, I sent one of my proteges to his bank. My boy worked for eight years and was promoted four times, unlike where he had worked previously for years without promotion. Is it that Access did something to bring out the best in him? That is the Wigwe’s factor.

I recently met one of Herbert’s staff who travelled to Cranfield University for a one-week executive programme. She is a middle-level officer aspiring to be a leader. Her employer is structured enough to invest heavily in her and many others. Undoubtedly, the brand Access is above and ahead of those miles from its beginning. In 2014, Access Bank started a frontier encroachment in the banking industry, becoming a new entrant into the league of top performance metrics.

Herbert and Aigboje created an institution where everyone eats part of the pie that has been baked. They made a system where you could benefit either from the appraisal bonus or the senior leadership bonus once deserved. They led a team of intrapreneurs in conquering the market and taking the wallet share of customers from other banks. They created fearless individuals with knowledge, confidence, and drive like no other.

Herbert Wigwe’s religiosity and alignment with the divine being were not hidden at every opportunity. That plays out in his disposition and the support he offers those around him. He differentiates building institutions from personal accolades, living a less publicised life except in the line of duty.

Read also: NGX Group, capital market community visit Ogunbanjo, Wigwe’s families

Unfortunately, the end of time arrived for Ogunbanjo and the three Wigwes at a time when their services were still required and relevant. What can we do? We must accept things in good faith.
Adieu, Herbert Wigwe!