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Opinion: Celebrating The Enigmatic Guru, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. At 68

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By Michael Effiong

I was rummaging through my old files earlier this week and stumbled on this card-and today, the angel of mercy who sent this simple but classy white and gold card is adding another year.

In case you have not seen the crest or the name, this was sent many years back by none other than the man we used to fondly called “The Bull” and much later “The Great Guru”, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr.

I have known Dr. Mike Adenuga long before Globacom, in fact back in the day, you only knew him by name and reputation and hardly ever saw him or his picture. He was and still is mysterious.

But later on, I have had a few personal encounters with this great son of Africa and they are fond memories. He always makes an impression any time you meet him one on one. No encounter is the same, and one thing is guaranteed, you will never leave the same way you came.

Trust me, Dr Adenuga Jnr. epitomizes the word enigma. In fact, like Chief Dele Momodu often says, he is a spirit. He is one of the few people you dream over, someone you need not see but feel. And when you feel him, it is usually not a gentle breeze, his, is often a very heavy wind, sometimes so shocking that it hits you like a tsunami.

The business titan has wowed many with his act of generosity and any one who has received one of these personalized cards or a call from his Executive Office will attest to the fact that the “Chairman of Chairmen” never calls or asks someone to call, except it is a Big Deal!

Personally, anytime we met, he often begins with the greeting “Edemfo”, that is “how are you” in Ibibio, of course, I will beam with a smile, and respond, Asong-and then we will go on to speak or he just moves along if it is a public function.

Left for Dr. MA Jnr, he would have loved to enjoy his life under the radar, but after Globacom, all that changed. It was not because of anything he did personally, but the impact that Globacom has had on the Nigerian and African economy.

With Globacom, Adenuga showed his strength of character, tenacity and his penchant for daring to tread where others dread. The whole country is aware of how he devastatingly lost the first bid for a telecoms licence through his company, Communications Investment Limited (CIL) in 2001.

During that bid, he lost a fortune ($20 million) but never lost focus nor give up hope. Thus, when he rebounded with Globacom and introduced many unique services, especially the per second billing, which the foreign-owned operators had stubbornly insisted was impossible, Adenuga and in deed his wholly-owned company, GLOwed with Pride! The company has since gone on to Rule The World.

Many years after this card, Adenuga on account of his business acumen, doggedness, determination and sheer guts has since won the highest national honours in Nigeria (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON), Ghana (Companion of the Star of Ghana) and France (Chevalier de la Legion d Honneur)

Described as a typical Taurean, bold and bullish, Dr Adenuga is a perfectionist who is passionate and compassionate as well as someone who never settles for anything but the very best. He has zero tolerance for indolence.

Many people say he is the richest black man alive, and I cannot doubt their assessment going by his humongous investment in telecoms, oil & gas, real estate, construction, banking and more.

The joke in town is that Adenuga is so loaded that Forbes has been too scared to announce his actual worth!

God has indeed blessed this man of means immensely, maybe that is the main reason he has built a chapel in his Ikoyi, Lagos mansion to enable him thank God daily for His mercies.

Please join me today as I raise a toast to wish this great son of Nigeria and Africa’s gift to the world happy 68th birthday. May God grant him UNLIMITED grace and excellent health. Amen!

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Enough is Enough, PDP Governors Tell Tinubu

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By Eric Elezuo

The government of President Bola Tinubu has continued to come under serious knocks across Nigeria’s geo-political zones, sectors, individuals and political parties. The latest of the knocks is coming from the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is serving a red card the administration, saying enough is enough.

The knocks and barefaced condemnation are not unconnected with the economic hardship in the country, which is a direct consequence of very unpopular economic decisions the administration has taken so far, ranging from the removal of petroleum subsidy and floating of the naira to removal of tariffs on electricity and other essential services.

As at date, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is floating between N617 and N650 depending on the part of the country. In the same vein, the dollar is worth a whopping N1600 as at date. The ripple effect has resulted in the exorbitant rise in the prices of essential food items such as rice, garri, beans, flour, sugar, tomato and other household items, and families are groaning in excruciating agony.

As a result, angry and hungry Nigerians have denounced the emilokun (meaning it’s my turn) slogan, and chose ebi mpawa (meaning we are hungry) in exchange.

Consequently, rising from a one day retreat on the state of the nation, the PDP Governors Forum, also found faults and looming loopholes in the nine months old administration of Tinubu, thereby asking the president to step aside as the challenges confronting the nation seems to have overwhelmed him and his team. The Forum advised the APC-administration headed by Tinubu to as a matter to ‘Throw in the towel if you can’t govern Nigeria anymore’.

The governors, who were elected on the platform of the PDP, noted that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, has failed woefully, and should graciously throw in the towel if it cannot mobilise Nigerians as well as all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions to the various problems plaguing the nation.

The governors specifically noted that the hardship and suffering being faced by Nigerians have no tribal, religious or party colouration, stressing that “a hungry man is an angry man”.

They further reminded the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of the need to be guided by the fact that it is (APC) that sought power to solve the problems of Nigeria, not to compound them or shift blame and use propaganda to confuse issues.

The PDP Governors Forum’s advice is contained in a statement signed by its Director-General, Hon CID Maduabum in Abuja.

The PDP Governors expressly pointed out that the buck ultimately stops at the President’s table as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Chief Salesman and leader of Nigeria.

The PDP-GF, nonetheless, assured that as stakeholders in governance, it would continue to work collaboratively with the President in finding lasting solutions to “a very difficult situation created or exacerbated by the APC since 2015”.

The PDP Governors frowned at the Minister of Information, APC Governors’ Forum and other officials of the APC-led Federal Government who criticised the the PDP-GF for their suggestions, advice and patriotic intervention on the way forward for the country in a communique issued at the end of their recent meeting in Abuja.

The Forum categorically declared, “It must be noted that though Nigeria is a Federation, there is indeed only one economy.

Accordingly, the governors said while all tiers of government have a role to play, the APC led Federal Government has a disproportionate role to mobilise Nigerians and all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions, adding that “If it cannot do so or is unable to do so, it should graciously throw in the towel.”

The statement reads in details:

“Hardship and suffering being faced by Nigerians have no tribal, religious or party colouration. A hungry man is an angry man.

“While all tiers of government have a role to play, the APC led Federal Government has a disproportionate role to play in mobilising Nigerians and all organs and tiers of government for sustainable solutions.

“If it can not do so or is unable to do so, it should graciously throw in the towel.

“Attempts by the Honourable Minister of Information, APC Governors’ Forum and other officials of the Federal Government who criticised the PDP Governors’ Forum for their patriotic intervention should be guided by the fact that the APC sought power to solve the problems of Nigeria not to compound them or shift blame, or grandstand or use propaganda to obfuscate or confuse issues.

“PDP governed States are comparatively the best in Nigeria in terms of developmental policies, programmes, and projects that benefit their States positively, regular payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities, and minimum wage to their workforce.
“State governments that are delinquent on these issues are not of PDP extraction. It is false to say so.

“Even the food crises are exacerbated by insecurity and high exchange rate issues, among others, which are largely federal subjects.

“The PDP Governors as stakeholders in governance would continue to work collaboratively with Mr. President to find lasting solutions to a very difficult situation created or exacerbated by the APC since 2015. We believe in co-operative Federalism.

“The buck ultimately stops at Mr. Presidents table as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Chief Salesman and leader of Nigeria.

“We are not in doubt that he is trying his best. We only hope and pray that his best is good enough to take Nigeria out of the woods in the shortest possible time.”

The PDP, like every other Nigerian, has continued to lend its voice to what a major cross section of the nation has termed ‘total mismanagement’ of the economic fabric of the nation.

“Nigerians have not had a day of peace since Tinubu was sworn in on May 29, 2023,” a respondent told The Boss, echoing the lord complaints of majority of the citizens.

It would be recalled that Tinubu, on inauguration day, on inauguration ground, waved away petroleum subsidy, thereby throwing the nation into the darkness of hardship that has refused to ease nine months after.

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‘Bwala, Not Ex-Aide to Atiku Abubakar’

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The Atiku Abubakar Media Organisation has said that Mr Daniel Bwala, who worked for the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation during the 2023 elections, was never an aide of the former Vice President, warning that the media and members of the public should desist from addressing him as such.

A statement from the Atiku media office clarified that Bwala offered his services as a spokesperson for the campaign organization, and never an aide to the former VP, adding that he moved on with his career after the elections.

The statement reads:

Bwala is a former spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation and not a former aide to the former Vice President

It is important that the media and the general public take corrective note of defining Mr. Daniel Bwala as an aide to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar.

Bwala offered his services and support to the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization as a spokesperson – and it was a position he held during the last presidential campaign.

Subsequently, and after the election, the need for a campaign spokesperson has terminated, and Bwala has moved on with his career.

This, therefore, serves as notice to the media and the interested public to desist from defining Bwala as an ex-aide of Atiku Abubakar.

We duly urge the public to henceforth recognize, introduce, and define Daniel Bwala by his current vocation and alliance.

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Good Night Great Banker, Herbert Wigwe, Family and Friend

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By Eric Elezuo

The death on Friday, February 9, 2024, of the Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, has brought much more than tears to the eyes of a crowd of Nigerians. The reason is obvious; Wigwe is among a few Nigerians, who have used their wealth to affect the lives of the ordinary citizens as well as celebrities and high profile people.

It is more saddening that he died on the day the Access sponsored Lagos Marathon was underway in the city of Lagos.

Wigwe, in company of his son, Chizi, his wife, Doreen and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, a former chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group, died after the helicopter they were traveling in,  crashed between California and Nevada, in the United States of America. It was revealed that the fun loving family was traveling to Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl billed for Sunday evening.

While the world ruminated over the plausibility or otherwise of the news of Wigwe’s death, his company, Access Holdings Plc, put all doubts to rest, confirming the death in the Eurocopter EC130 helicopter around 10pm on Friday in California; 7am on Saturday in Nigeria, near the Nevada border.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Access Holdings said Wigwe “brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience” to transform the company.

“Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024 in a helicopter accident in the United States of America,” Access Holdings said.

“The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.”

Abubakar Jimoh, chairman of Access Holdings, like majority of Nigerians, said Wigwe’s death was a major loss, adding that the Access family owed him a debt of gratitude.

“The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman,” Jimoh said.

“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.”

The statement was issued hours after Access Bank, a subsidiary of Access Holdings, said it lacked detailed information concerning the helicopter crash.

Access Bank had said it was actively collaborating with the US authorities for updates on the situation.

Meanwhile, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said preliminary investigation into the crash pointed to rainy and wintry weather as possible causes.

The ill-fated Flight N130CZ, operated by Orbic Air LLC, took off from Palm Springs, California, at 8:45 p.m. but was last seen near Fort Irwin/Barstow, California, at 9:49 p.m., Friday before it was reported crashed at 10:12pm.

Wigwe, only a few weeks ago, supervised the burial of the Access Bank Group Head, Media and Corporate Affairs, Abdul Imoyo, who died in December.

 

THE MAN, HERBERT WIGWE 

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, who was born on August 15, 1966, in Lagos, hailed from Omueke Isiokpo in Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State, Nigeria.

Wigwe earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1987.

In 1990, he received the British Council Scholarship to study at the University College of North Wales (now Bangor), earning a Master of Arts in Banking and Finance in 1991. He later earned a MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London in 1996. He was an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme, and in 2018, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Wigwe originally started his career at Coopers & Lybrand, from where he later joined Guaranty Trust Bank, where he committed over a decade of his working life.

In 2002, Wigwe and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, bought Access Bank, marking the beginning of a transformative journey in the Nigerian banking sector. Between 2002 and 2017, the bank grew to become the 4th largest bank in Nigeria.

 

Between 2002 and 2014, he served as the company’s Deputy Managing director. Wigwe also served as the chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited starting in 2013, Access Investment & Securities Limited, and Central Securities and Clearing System.

At the time of his death he was the chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited. He was a board member of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and a member of the advisory Board for Friends Africa.

He was also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, a fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

From January 2014 until his death, he was CEO and group managing director of Access Bank.

Wigwe was involved in the creation of a leadership series known as the Access Conference. The biennial event is Access Bank’s response to a global call for corporate involvement in resolving the major challenges facing humanity. Since its inauguration in 2013, the Access Conference has consistently engaged global leaders by provoking debates on issues of threats and opportunities to the world. In the 2013 edition, themed “Sustainable Leadership”, Wigwe spoke alongside George W. Bush, Nicolas Sarkozy and John Kufuor, reaffirming the importance of leadership to national and corporate successes.

At the 2015 edition, Wigwe hosted global leaders such as Steve Wozniak, N. R. Narayana Murthy, José María Figueres, Muhammad Yunus[12][13] to discuss the theme “Leading in a Transformational World – The Imperative of Innovation”.

Wigwe philanthropic gesuures arw larger than life. He had partnered with Access Bank and UNICEF to offer support to vulnerable children, orphans, and internally displaced persons in the northern part of Nigeria. To raise awareness for this purpose, the bank organizes the annual high-profile Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo tournament.

In 2016, Wigwe founded The HOW Foundation, a non-profit organization.

In February 2017, he was named co-chair of Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS, a private sector initiative to help eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and support people living with the condition.

A few months before his death, he announced that Wigwe University would open in fall 2024.

Wigwe was named 2016 Banker of The Year by The Sun and Vanguard, two of Nigeria’s largest newspapers.

In recognition of “his exemplary role in the society and contributions to youth development”, the Boys’ Brigade inaugurated Herbert Wigwe as State Patron for Lagos State Council in 2016.

In October 2022, Commander of the Order of the Niger, a Nigerian national honour, was conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Wigwe was not only a prominent figure in the financial industry but also a philanthropist with a deep commitment to community development. He founded Wigwe University, a world-class institution aimed at providing top-notch education and facilities to students. During an interactive session with community stakeholders at the University hall in Isiokpo, he pledged to build a world-standard hospital and ensure 24-hour electricity in Isiokpo Ancient Kingdom, showcasing his dedication to uplifting the lives of residents.

The promise of a hospital and continuous electricity not only demonstrated Wigwe’s commitment to the community, but also underscored his vision for sustainable development. This initiative would not only benefit the students and staff of Wigwe University, but also improve the quality of life for all residents of Isiokpo Ancient Kingdom.

The community stakeholders expressed their appreciation for Wigwe’s unwavering commitment to their welfare and pledged their support for the success of Wigwe University.

Wigwe’s sudden departure leaves a void in the banking industry and the community he served tirelessly. His legacy of excellence, compassion, and dedication to community development will forever be remembered.

NIGERIANS REACT TO WIGWE’S DEATH

Nigerians on social media have continued to mourn following news of the sudden death of the group chief executive officer of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

The prolific banker, whi supervises one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions has been described as one of the country’s finest deal makers.

An X user, Seun, said “Appears it’s true. Herbert Wigwe was one of the biggest and finest deal makers in Nigerian financial services sector. May his soul RIP. 💔” he tweeted @Oluseun_akin1

Other respondents on the app described Wigwe’s death as a big loss to the nation and its financial sector.

He was just giving a farewell speech to Uncle Abdul Imoyo few weeks ago. Whaoooo… Life is truly fickle. He is one of Nigerias finest. May his soul be accepted by his creator. Rest on Herbert Wigwe,” another user, identified as Abby Curtis (@CurtisAbbi) said.

Tolulope Micheal, while bidding the late banker farewell, described his death as shocking and hard to believe.

“The news of the death of CEO of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe is shocking and horrible!!

May his soul and the soul of other victims involved in the helicopter crash, rest in peace.

It’s sad. I’m still hoping for someone to come out and debunk this,” he tweeted @im_tolumicheal.

Another X user, identified as AareMusbau (@musbauceo), who shared a short clip of Herbert Wigwe speaking to his community people about his university project, tweeted: “This video of Dr. Herbert Wigwe assuring his community people of providing them with the best university in Africa keeps flashing on my mind.

“Indeed, life is too short, and the next seconds is not guaranteed. Rest on.”

Lawrence Okoro (Sir Law), who tweeted @LawrenceOkoroPG, said losing both Wigwe and Ogunbanjo to a helicopter crash was a very sad incident.

“It’s a very sad day for Nigeria as two business icons are confirmed dead in a helicopter crash in the United States. Rest in Peace, Herbert Wigwe & Abimbola Ogunbanjo.”

Dr Dipo Awojide, while reacting to the passing of Wigwe, described him as one of true champions of human capital in Nigeria and African continent.

“Herbert Wigwe was one of the true champions of Human Capital in Nigeria and Africa. He wrote some much about skills, education and recently started a university. God please console his family and friends. This is tragic and heartbreaking 💔. God please have mercy!!! 😭😭😭”

TOP CITIZENS MOURN WIGWE 

Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, leads the crowd of mourners at the demise of Access Holdings boss. Tinubu, through a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale, described Wigwe and Ogunbajo as exceptional Nigerian business leaders adding that their passing is “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”

He condoled with the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident.

“I pray 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 agonizing moment,” Tinubu said in the condolence message.

In their condolence messages, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio; Peter Mbah, governor of Enugu; and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, paid high tribute to Herbert Wigwe.

HE’S A MAN OF INTEGRITY – Akpabio

Akpabio, in a statement on Sunday by Eseme Eyiboh, his media aide, described Wigwe as “a man of integrity”.

“I received with shock the news of the passing of Mr Wigwe and some of his family members in a helicopter crash in the USA. Mr Wigwe’s contribution to the growth of Nigerian banking industry and indeed the economy of the country were exemplary and commendable,” Akpabio said.

“In his chosen career he exhibited a high level of professionalism and unmatched leadership which marked him out as a true patriot. He was a man of integrity who never believed in cutting corners to achieve success in business.

“On behalf of the the 10th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I offer our condolences to the Wigwe family, the Board and Management of Access Bank, the Governor of Rivers State, the President and Commander-.in-chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria for losing such a great son, iconic entrepreneur a serial investor at such a time that our country needs his services the most.”

HE WAS A BROTHER, TEAM PLAYER, PHILANTHROPIST – Gov Mbah

On his part, Mbah said he received the news with “deep shock”.

The Enugu governor described Wigwe as “a brother, team player, philanthropist and throughbred professional”.

“This news comes with deep shock and rubs in, once again, the vanity of life,” Mbah said.

“Wigwe was a brother, a team player, philanthropist, visionary, and thoroughbred professional, who distinguished himself in the banking industry and corporate world, rising through the ranks to become a pioneer and titan of our time as well as an entrepreneur of global repute and reach.

“This incident is, therefore, an unspeakable disaster and monumental tragedy, not only to Nigeria, but also to the entire corporate world.

“My heart goes out to his immediate family, relatives, the Access Holdings Plc family, corporate Nigeria, and indeed the nation over these grave losses. May God grant their souls eternal repose.”

A ROLE MODEL TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS – Gov Abiodun 

Dapo Abiodun, in a statement by Lekan Adeniran, his chief press secretary, said he is deeply saddened by the incident.

He said Wigwe was a quintessential banker who contributed immensely to the Nigerian economy, adding that he was a pillar of support to his administration in Ogun.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Herbert Wigwe and five others. My thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time,” Abiodun said.

“Herbert Wigwe was not only a respected business leader but also a role model for many aspiring entrepreneurs. His contributions to the banking sector and the Nigerian economy will always be remembered.”

WIGWE’S DEATH IS A MONUMENTAL LOSS – Rivers Gov Fubara 

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, expressed shock at the news of the death of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife Chizoba, his son, and others in a helicopter crash in California near the Nevada border, United States.

Wigwe hailed from Rivers State.

The governor described the incident as a “monumental disaster.”

He said Rivers State and Nigeria were in tears over the development.

A statement on Sunday signed by the governor’s media aide, Boniface Onyedi, quoted the governor as saying that there were no words to convey how terrible the losses are, and the state and indeed Nigeria will miss “an unassuming, iconic, and accomplished illustrious son of Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“Rivers State and the nation are in tears because it would be extremely difficult to understand this sweeping loss of a family involving a strong pillar, accomplished banker and philanthropist with tentacles in the education sector.”

Fubara said the Wigwe University, which the deceased pioneered, must not be allowed to die.

I’M TERRIBLY SADDENED – Okonjo-Iweala

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said in a message posted Saturday on her X handle that she feels deeply saddened by Mr Wigwe’s passing.

“Terribly saddened by the news of the terrible loss of Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO Access Bank, his wife and son as well as Bimbo Ogunbanjo in a helicopter crash.

“My deepest sympathies and condolences to the Wigwe family, the Ogunbanjo family, Access Bank Group employees and Management @myaccessbank and my younger Brother Herbert’s partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace,” she wrote.

HE WAS A CONSUMMATE BANKER, EDUCATION PROMOTER, AND PHILANTHROPIST – Atiku Abubakar 

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election and former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, described the death of Mr Wigwe as an unfortunate incident.

He also expressed condolences and sympathy to the families and loved ones of the deceased.

“In the words of one of Nigeria’s finest CEOs, Herbert Wigwe, ‘Today and always, let us remember that life is a precious gift – a chance to breathe, feel, love, experience and connect. Let’s honour this gift by living with purpose, kindness, and gratitude, making every moment count. Let us number our days’.

“I’m deeply saddened to hear about the unfortunate incident that led to the loss of Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, and his family. Indeed, Herbert Wigwe, consummate banker, education promoter, and philanthropist, numbered his days. On behalf of my family, my heart goes out to their loved ones and everyone affected by this unfortunate incident. May their souls rest in peace.”

THIS IS A TRAGIC LOSS – Keyamo

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, also paid his tribute while describing Mr Wigwe’s passing as a tragic loss of a friend.

“The reported tragic loss of my friend, brother and not-far-away neighbour in Lagos, Herbert Wigwe, the co-founder of Access Bank, the CEO of Access Holdings and the founder of Wigwe University, is very devastating.

“He was in my office earlier this week (where we took the pictures below) and actually left my office to fly out of the country and never came back. I am also shocked to learn his wife, son and other friends were involved in this tragedy.

“We were on the verge of announcing something big for the aviation sector, the reason he actually came to the office with his entire team, both from Access and Wigwe University. This is surreal and I am lost for words.

“May Almighty God comfort his aged parents and siblings (who were also my neighbours in Lagos for many years as a very young lawyer in Anthony Village), his immediate family members, his staff, friends across Nigeria and dependents,” he said.

I’M SPEECHLESS – Gov Soludo

Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo said Wigwe lived a life of impact and purpose, and also expressed his sad feelings on the suddenness of his demise, which he said, had denied humanity the much more the deceased had to offer.

“To think that we were together about two weeks ago with a promise to meet again this week makes the announcement of Herbert’s death tragic.

“This is another stark reminder of the ephemerality of life. While Herbert lived a life of impact and purpose, I am pained that there was much more he had for humanity that his sudden exit has denied us.

“I am just speechless!” Governor Soludo wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.

ONE OF AFRICA’S BRIGHTEST MINDS’ GONE – Sanwo-Olu 

In his condolence statement on Sunday via X, Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described Wigwe as “one of the brightest minds in Africa” and a “visionary leader” who made unparalleled contributions to banking and the financial sector.

“Herbert was not just a brother and visionary leader but one of the brightest minds in Africa. His impact on our nation and beyond will be remembered forever. My heart mourns,” the governor said.

According to Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe was an “unapologetic believer in the Nigerian solution” whose dedication and passion for progress inspired many.

“Today, we mourn not just a leader but a true friend and brother. Lagos and Nigeria have lost a remarkable soul. Rest in peace, my brother,” he added

Other notable Nigerians that sent in their condolences include Kwara governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulfatta, former Ekiti governor, Kayode Fayemi, Senator Shehu Sani, and a host of others.

There is no doubt that Wigwe will be missed. His turnaround of Access Bank remains a phenomenon, his bias for education, and quest to empower women arw debatable standards. It is no secret that Access Bank is the bank of choice for the female folks. This is not forgetting the ambitious Wigwe University, with state of the art facilities, billed to take off in September 2024.

We at The Boss wish enigmatic banker a glorious journey to eternity.

May your soul rest in peace sir!

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