The former managing director and co-founder of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was 53 on Tuesday. The man, whose image resonates modesty and humility, marked the day quietly, but the charities he now devotes considerable time to celebrated him fervently, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu
“Happy birthday to our founder and Chairman – Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede CON”, reads the message on the Facebook page of Africa Initiative for Governance congratulating astute banker, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede on the occasion of his birthday as he marked 53 on Tuesday. As simple as the birthday shout out appears, it befits the co-founder of Access Bank whose image resonates modesty and humility.
Aigboje is not averse to big partying for birthdays. But the one on Tuesday was done quietly with family members. This entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and leading figure behind Nigeria’s finance and investment industry, now spend quality time on charities. Maybe, that was why merriment was limited on Tuesday.
He is passionate about quality public service, perhaps, because his parents were public servants. This was what informed his Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), a partnership programme with the Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. This incorporates a scholarship scheme that sends qualified Africans to Oxford for a Master of Public Policy degree. AIG works with governments, academic institutions and other partners to improve governance and transform public sector performance. This pioneering initiative brings proven private sector innovation, leadership and funding in a private-public partnership to attract, inspire and support future leaders of the public sector. “With our continuing support, these high-calibre individuals will drive best practice standards of governance across Africa, ensuring sustainable economic growth and social justice,” remarks Aigboje.
He is also involved in the improvement of wellbeing globally. Aigboje is the first African Co-Chairman of the Global Business Coalition on Health, GBC Health. His appointment as co-Chair of GBC-Health is consistent with his profile and reputation as an ardent advocate on issues of responsible business practices, good corporate citizenship and sustainability.
He is also the Chairman of Friends of the Global Fund – Africa (Friends Africa). In 2010, he made a $1 million contribution to the Global Fund, and he has since made donations to the Global Fund through the ‘Gift from Africa’ campaign. Friends of the Global Fund Africa are the strong voices communicating to donors the importance of financing the future of so many Africans. It was founded in order to create and sustain visibility and awareness for the Global Fund across the African continent, as well as to build political and financial support for the organisation.
It was at the 2001 Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, held in Abuja that African leaders jointly called on the global community to create a “Global Fund” to raise and channel large amounts of additional resources to assist countries in fighting the three pandemics. The Global Fund, as a lean and efficient organisation, does not have country offices. As a result, it needed to find another way to raise awareness and carry out advocacy efforts worldwide. Aigboje and others came to an innovative solution: independent associations known as “Friends” who help to develop contacts and allies, promote a good understanding of the Global Fund’s mission and mobilise political and financial support.
In 2010, Aigboje launched the “Gift from Africa” campaign, a first-of-its-kind initiative among African businesses which has so far raised several millions of US Dollars from African corporations in support of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. He assumed leadership at GBC-Health as the organisation broadened its mandate from fighting the three major infectious disease pandemics to a comprehensive global health mandate. This shift is meant to increase the scope and effectiveness of corporate engagement on strategic public health challenges around the world.
Where his peers flounder and stumble, Aigboje soars like falcon. His distinguished banking career spans over two decades and has seen the move of a “Fourth Tier” bank to a First Tier bank, amongst other achievements. Aigboje is a pioneer in Nigeria’s finance and investment industry and the CEO of Coronation Capital. Upon setting up Coronation Capital in 2014, he declared: “I have founded and I am currently Chairman of Coronation Capital. I am responsible for full scope leadership, strategy, governance, execution and return on investments for the company. In partnership with the board, I am ultimately responsible for the success of the company by guiding the Board and executive management team to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and polices.”
This former Access Bank CEO was born on 24 September 1966 in Ibadan, Oyo Nigeria to parents who were civil servants. He hails from Sabongida-Ora, Edo State. Aigboje lived with his family in Lagos but went to school in Kaduna. He later attended St. Saviours School in Lagos and at 16, he enrolled to study law at University of Benin. He graduated with a LLB degree in 1986 at 20 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987.
He holds a Trium MBA, awarded jointly by the London School of Economics, New York University, and HEC Paris. Aigboje is married to Ofovwe and they have four children – Aima, Zoje, Renuan, and Morenike. Interestingly, he is a pastor at the Promised Land Pentecostal Ministry in Lagos, Nigeria.
He was conferred with Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2011 by then President Goodluck Jonathan for his contributions to the development of banking and finance. In 2011 he was inaugurated into the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame as the Ernst & Young West Africa Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as the African Banker Magazine’s “African Banker of the Year” in 2013.
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed a member of the International Advisory Board of Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. He is a fellow of the African Leadership Institute through the help of Aspen Institute in Colorado, USA. He is also honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. In 2018, he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc) by the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.