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Tearful Dangote, Aig-Imokuede, Sanwo-Olu, Edun, Cardoso, others pay tribute as Herbert Wigwe begins final journey home



It was an emotion-laden night on Monday, March 4, 2024 at the Eko Hotels and Suites as family, friends, professional colleagues and several others gathered to pay tribute to the Group Chief Executive Officer GCEO of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

Wigwe died alongside his wife, son, former chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo in a helicopter crash in the United States on February 9, 2024.

Ripples Nigeria reports that Wigwe, his wife and son were reportedly on their way to watch the super bowl game when their Helicopter that was headed to Las Vegas, crashed near a border city between Nevada and California which led to their demise on February 9.

However, on Monday, at a Nite of tribute titled “Celebrating Herbert Wigwe- A Professional Legacy” organised by Access Bank, captains of industries, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate the professional legacy of ‘phenomenal leader, banker and entrepreneur’

Some of the speakers included Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Chairman Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, Finance Minister Wale Edun, Access Bank GMD Roosevelt Ogbonna, Herbert’s high school mate-Henrietta Ugbo, CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso, Nigerian politician, Ibrahim Dakwambo, Herbert’s professional colleague Cathy Echeozo, Group CEO GT Holdings Segun Agbaje and Wigwe’s longtime business partner Aigboje Aig-Imokuede.

Others were MD, Access Bank, Ghana- Dolapo Ogundumu, CEO of MTN- Karl Toriola, President, CIBN Ken Opara, Co-founder of Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest integrated law firms in Nigeria, Gbenga Oyebode, CEO, FMDQ Group Plc Bola Onadele Koko among others.

In his eulogy, Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said he was a man who broke records and pushed boundaries.

An emotional Aliko Dangote broke into tears as he paid tribute to Wigwe whom he described as brother and friend.

READ ALSO:Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe reportedly dies in US helicopter crash

He said “he (Wigwe) was a pillar of strength and support for me and my family. He was proud to be part of my success story and I am proud to call him a dear friend. it will be impossible finding another Herbert. His courage was second to none and was really fearless, not scared of anything.

“We shared a common principle of perseverance. Bidding farewell to a brother, mentee and friend is indeed a hard task for me. I am consoled that Herbert had run a successful race and has gone to a better place.

“Tò immortalize my beloved friend, brother and mentee, I have decided to name our major refinery and petrochemical road, out of the 120km, the biggest road will now be named Herbert Wigwe”.

For Governor Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe embodied the true spirit of Lagos State, saying the nation’s commercial nerve centre won’t forget him.

According to Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe was a “completely detribalised” person whom ” Lagos will not forget”.

There were also tributes from Cardoso and Edun who both recalled the late Access Holding group CEO’s contributions to the nation’s economy.

“He was so full of ideas and creative in his thinking,” Edun said about Wigwe with Cardoso describing the death as a “profound loss”.

That was not all! The President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina also hailed Wigwe’s ingenuity, saying “everything he touched turned into gold”.

CBN Governor, Cardoso, disclosed that from the interactions he had with the late Wigwe, he could tell that the departed Bank CEO was really concerned about his country’s economic challenges and was collaborating with the apex bank to address them.

Like Cardoso, Edun also recalled the late Access Holding group CEO’s contributions to the nation’s economy.

“He was so full of ideas and creative in his thinking,” Edun said about Wigwe.

By: Babajide Okeowo

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