• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
businessday logo


Wigwe’s Africa banking services legacy is unparalleled — Chike-Obi

Good deeds speak for Herbert Wigwe

Mustafa Chike-Obi, chairman of Fidelity Bank has said it will be difficult for those in the banking industry to replicate what Herbert Wigwe did and to achieve what he had achieved in his lifetime with the industry.

He said this in an exclusive interview with Arise News on Monday while reflecting on the late Wigwe’s achievements in the banking industry.

“It will be difficult for any of us to do what Herbert did. When he was acquiring Intercontinental Bank, I thought he was absolutely out of his mind, he made a success of it. A few years later, he wanted to merge Diamond Bank,” Chike-obi said.

“I can just tell you that the things that he thought about and the way he executed them were beyond what I, even as a banker, could conceive. So, I am at a loss to say, you can do this, go and replicate what Herbert did, I don’t think it’s easily replicated,” Chike-obi said.

“Their first big purchase was the purchase of Intercontinental Bank, I remember all the negotiations and all the conversations. And I came away thinking about Herbert to be a very tough, very smart, very hardworking, and extremely fair and kind person. The idea in the market that Intercontinental bank was given to them is very false,” he said.

Chike-Obi said what contributed to Wigwe’s success was his mental toughness, discipline, and also his ability to manage risks.

“I have had a few occasions, some people out there will remember that they’ve had to default on some loans to Access Bank, and that’s something you don’t do because his toughness comes into play,” he said.

He further said that Wigwe, along with Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, his then-partner at Access Bank, had a tremendous work ethic and one of the best work rates that he had seen in any banker.

“I think that that’s the reason for their success, that’s the reason why Access Bank will continue to succeed. I think that Aigboje and Herbert have imparted that on their employees, and I think we’re going to see greater things from the Access Corporation, I hope that any gaps left by Herbert’s unfortunate passing, that Aigboje will dust off his cap and step into the breach and help until new people are groomed.”

Speaking about the succession plan of Access Bank, he said, “I think that the vision of Access Bank was created, nurtured, and shared by Aigboje and Herbert and luckily for us, Aigboje is still around, so the vision is alive. I believe that based on that, the succession planning will be smooth, and I think it will be fairly obvious and I think it will be soon.

“I am sure there is a succession plan in place at Access Bank approved by the CBN, and I think that people should not have any concerns about the smooth transition to the next leader of Access Bank,” Chike-Obi said.

The late Herbert Wigwe 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, according to Tayo Aduloju, CEO of Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

He said on his LinkedIn that Wigwe was just getting started as an African leader on the global stage who would reflect the best the continent had to offer.

“Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Wigwe Family, the Access Bank Plc Family and those family friends lost, may the comfort and consolation that only the Almighty can give, be yours now and always. Adieu late Dr, Mrs and Master Wigwe. Rest in Peace,” NESG CEO said.