• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Roads deserted in Isiokpo community over tragic death of cherished son, Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe’s hometown (1)

It has been revealed that Herbert Wigwe has so far employed over 5000 youths. Now, his tragic death along with some members of his family has led to major roads and streets being deserted in Isiokpo, the traditional headquarters of Ikwerre ethnic nationality and headquarters of Ikwerre local council area of Rivers.

Shops are closed and other businesses under lock and key since news spread over the death of the son, Herberth Wigwe, founder of the world class institution of higher learning, the Wigwe University.

Clusters of men and women wearing gloomy faces dotted the entrance to family houses along the road feeling very sad. Youths dressed in black marched in procession, reciting traditional dirge common among the Isiokpo communities to register their sadness and the depth of their grief for the irreparable loss. That was the only sound that could be heard asides that trickling from the churches along the road, across Umuike Community, home of the deceased CEO of Access Holdings.

A dark cloud of silence right now hovers over the entire Isiokpo town as many are yet to recover from the shocking news of the death. The atmosphere spoke to the reality of the situation of the broken community. The heavy silence could be felt miles away from the family home of the deceased.

Some residents of the community who spoke in an interview, described the death of Wigwe as a tragedy not just for the Umuike community, the ancient Kingdom of Isiokpo and Rivers State, but for the entire business community and the world at large.

One of the residents, Nsirim Samuel, an indigene of Umuike Community lamented that the death of the renowned banker and businessman said the news sent a shock wave that kept the entire community awake and weeping all of Saturday night. Everyone in the community has remained uncontrollable. He said that the sad event would have a negative but lasting impact on the economy of the community because, as he stated, Wigwe during his lifetime, engaged over 5,000 youths of the community in his various companies and was presently engaging more in the Wigwe University situated in the community.

Another resident, Wisdom Chijioke, said the entire community is mourning because Wigwe was a man who brought Isiokpo from darkness to the limelight, an enviable height never imagined by the people. He stressed that the community, Isiokpo, Rivers State and the country were bleeding.

Chijioke called on the international community and the Government of United States of America to investigate and tell the world what was responsible for the crash, saying that the people of Isiokpo would speak on the matter at the appropriate time.

He said the cause of his death is not one to be swept under the carpet.

He also wondered why such a tragic event would occur now that the renowned banker returned home to invest in his community. He stated that the death of Wigwe is a communal tragedy that befell all the households in the Isiokpo.

On his part, Kenneth Ezewemgbe Nsirim, said the death has created a vacuum that cannot be replaced in the community, State or country, describing Wigwe as one who revamped and elevated Isiokpo community to an enviable position. He stated that the impact of Wigwe was felt by all in the community irrespective of age, sex or religion.

When BusinessDay visited the community Sunday afternoon, it was found that market women, business owners, students and even children in Isiokpo were crying. They said, no Wigwe, no more business, no more education, employment or empowerment, as his act of philanthropy was felt by all in the community.

He stated that the demise of the business magnet will result in a huge economic setback in Isiokpo. Families and individuals who were dependent on him would now be forced to return to a life of penury.

Speaking on the development, the Youth Chairman of Umuike Community in Isiokpo, Elechi Nyeche, said the community is in a state of mourning as the Access Bank CEO was at the forefront of the drive for development of the community.

He went further to lament the negative impact of Wigwe’s demise saying that it has truncated the massive academic and economic programmes driven by Wigwe.

The atmosphere in Isiokpo town remains heavy as some are still in disbelief of the sudden death. The reactions of residents and visitors to the community remain the same; confusion and sadness.

As the community continued to count it’s loss caused by the death, business in the area appear to the most hit by the sad occurrence.

Ends/