• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Tinubu, Obi, NESG, others mourn Wigwe, Ogunbanjo, others

Wigwe gets Juris award for outstanding contributions in banking sector

President Bola Tinubu, on Sunday, expressed deep shock at the sudden death of Herbert Wigwe, group managing director of Access Holdings Plc; Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, and Wigwe’s wife and son.

They died in a helicopter crash in the State of California, in the United States of America, on Saturday.

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, described the death of Wigwe and Ogunbanjo as “devastating”.

Tinubu, in a statement by Ajuri Ngelale Presidential Spokesman, called their deaths “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”

The President, in his condolence message to their families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident, prayed for the peaceful repose of the departed and asks God Almighty to comfort the multitude of Nigerians who are grieving and the families of the deceased at this deeply agonising moment.

Obi said on social media platform X: “I’m deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, along with his wife and son, and another close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of NGX Group. This loss is profoundly felt across the nation.

“I first met Herbert during his early days, on the brink of starting his marital journey. I vividly remember assisting him in preparing for his traditional wedding and being there for the ceremony with his wife, Chizoba, from Achina, Anambra State.

“Since then, I’ve maintained a connection to his endeavors in my own modest ways. Herbert, a determined and forward-thinking individual, led Access Bank to new heights following his brother Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. His noteworthy contributions extended beyond the professional realm, with commendable philanthropic efforts in health and education, exemplified by the establishment of Wigwe University, showcasing his deep commitment to education as a driver of development.

“The loss of such an exceptional individual reminds us of life’s fleeting nature, encouraging us to live with a purpose that contributes to the betterment of humanity.

“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Herbert, his beloved wife, his son, and all those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash. May God grant them eternal rest and provide strength to Herbert’s family, Access Holdings, and all of us mourning this irreplaceable loss.”

Obi lamented that the unfortunate incident meant he would miss the final match of the AFCON cup, between Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire.

Tayo Aduloju, chief executive officer of Nigerian Economic Summit Group, said the “painful, sudden, shocking finality overwhelmingly weight of the irreparable and irreplaceable loss” has left the entire country, the African and Nigerian business community and the NESG networks and communities mourning.

He said: “The late Dr Wigwe, CFR epitomised leadership excellence, impact and visionary institutional transformation that took a small bank and transformed it along with a rare crop of business executives into an African financial services giant.

“Ogunbanjo was the former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group. For those who do not know him, he was one of our country’s foremost champions of sustainable corporate governance and financial inclusion. His vision of our six decades of stock exchange was to transform it into one that ‘reduced the number of adult Nigerians who are excluded financially and give them the ability to make well-informed financial decisions’.”

Femi Otedola, chairman of Geregu Power Plc, said he was shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of “a banking genius Herbert Wigwe, his dear wife Chizoba and first son Chizi”.

He said on X: “Exactly two weeks ago, Herbie and his wife hosted myself and Aliko to dinner at his newly built home in Lagos. I will cherish and fondly remember my memories of time spent together with him over the years.

Herbie, we will all miss you. Your leagcy will live on forever. My heartfelt condolences go out to his children Tochi, Hannah and David. I pray God comforts them during this tragic time.”

Tony Elumelu, chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc, described Wigwe and Ogunbanjo as “great lights” and “true patriots”.

He said: “Nigeria, indeed Africa, has lost two of our brightest minds. I admired them both and we all shared the desire to drive Nigeria’s transformation.

“Herbert was an exceptional talent, committed to advancing the banking and financial sector in Nigeria, with Access Holdings. Likewise, Bimbo’s tenure as Group chairman of the NGX group was distinguished by excellence.”

He said their leadership and entrepreneurial drive would continue to serve as shining examples to millions of young people.