Tinubu Speaks with Grieving Herbert Wigwe’s Parents, Comforts Couple

•Ghana’s president, Akufo-Addo calls, offers condolences 

•We lost a gem, bright star, Osinbajo, Obaseki, Anyaoku declare

•Kogi, Cross River governors, Zenith Bank commiserate with families, Access Holdings 

•You’re irreplaceable, says ex-Emir of Kano, Sanusi 

•Emir of Zazzau: his death, a great personal loss 

•Herbert was a first class guy, Wale Tinubu

Wale Igbintade in Lagos, Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

President Bola Tinubu and President Nana Akufo-Ado of Ghana yesterday called Pastor and Mrs. Shyngle Wigwe, the grieving parents of late Group Managing Director of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe, to offer them words of comfort. He died in a helicopter crash in California, the United States of America, last Friday, at the age of 57.

Wigwe, a top banker and entrepreneur, was killed in the crash alongside his wife, Chizoba, son, and former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Tinubu, it was gathered, spoke to Wigwe’s parents through Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede’s phone to commiserate with them and provided them very comforting words. The president made the call at 12.02pm, while Akufo-Ado called Aig-Imoukhuede at 3.17pm and both offered condolences on the passing of the great African Banker.

Equally, yesterday, former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; former Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II; Emir of Zazzau, Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli; and former Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, alongside other associates paid condolence visits to the parents of Herbert Wigwe.

Others, who signed the condolence register at the residence of the Wigwes in Lagos, were Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu; former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku;  former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke; former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; and former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etiebet.

Kogi State Governor, Ahmed Ododo, and his counterpart in Cross River State, Bassey Otu, in separate press statements, condoled with the management and staff of Access Holdings over the death of Herbert Wigwe.

In his tribute, Osinbajo wrote, “We lost a gem, a brother and a decent man. May the Lord comfort Daddy and Mummy. May the morning joy come quickly”

In his condolence message, Sanusi, wrote, “Adieu my brother, my friend. What a tragedy. You are irreplaceable. We will miss you forever. Rest in peace.”

Emir of Zazzau, Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli wrote, “A great personal loss to us. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”

Amosun wrote, “Brother Herbert, goodbye. Good manager, adieu. May your soul rest in peace and may the good Lord comfort your aged parents, your siblings and the entire Wigwe family, adieu.”

Adebayo wrote, “This is very sad and awful day.”

In his message, Group Managing Director (GMD) of FBN Holdings Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, wrote, “What can I say, Herbert, you lived a life of impact. We can’t question God. Only He knows why He allowed this. RIP dear brother.”

Speaking with THISDAY, Anyaoku said, “Herbert was a great star, with huge prospect of further illumination before he was plucked from the universe. It is a terrible loss in his sphere of activities, the banking sector, and to the country. I say adieu to him.”

Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu said, “Herbert was a first class guy, he was kind, courageous, intelligent and supportive and a loving gentleman. I worked with him from 1999, we did business, we met challenges and we fought them, and stayed true to our goals.

“It’s a great loss, he was very supportive to lots of charitable causes, helping people to pay their school fees, and their welfare. He was able to actualise his dream of the Wigwe University. His legacies are fundamental institutions that will really impact on the society.

“Access Bank is not just an African bank, it has branches in US, France, Dubai and in China. The fact is that Herbert has done a lot for African business community. So, his legacies are institutions that will endure.”

Zenith Bank, in a statement, condoled with the family of Herbert Wigwe, describing the late entrepreneur as an icon.

It stated, “We mourn with the Wigwe family and Access Holdings on the sudden transition of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife Chizoba, and his son, Chizi.

“Dr. Wigwe was an inspiring leader devoted to positive change and human empowerment. He left indelible footprints not only as the Group CEO of Access Holdings, but also with his numerous contributions to the advancement of the financial services industry and growth of the Nigerian economy.

“In this trying period, we remember the values he lived by and his humble and generous nature that made him so dear to many.

“We reflect on the impact he had in the lives of others and thank God Almighty for the legacy he left behind. May the souls of Herbert, Chizoba and Chizi rest in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In a condolence message he personally signed, the Kogi State governor described the late CEO of Access Holdings as an amiable and hardworking individual, who was driven by patriotic fervour and commitment to the ideals of nation-building.

The governor recalled his recent meeting with the late Wigwe during which they had a robust conversation on how to explore areas of partnership between Access Holdings and the Kogi State government in line with his administration’s agenda to expand public-private partnership for accelerated growth and development of the state.

According to Ododo, “The late Herbert Wigwe was an exceptional individual whose impact transcended the banking industry and his generation. He was a humble and hardworking businessman who meant so well for the transformation of Nigeria and I am deeply saddened by his painful exit.

“As a government and people, our thoughts are with the Wigwe family who suffered far too many losses in one accident and all his colleagues at Access Holdings in this trying moment. 

“Our thoughts are also with the government and people of Rivers State and my brother, Governor Siminalaye Fubara, for the irreparable loss of one of Nigeria’s most impactful businessmen, investor and a pathfinder for the younger generation. Nigeria and, indeed, humanity lost a colossus in Herbert Wigwe.”

The governor prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of the late Herbert Wigwe, his wife, Chizoba, and other Nigerians who lost their lives in the unfortunate air accident.

Otu, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbeche, expressed condolences over Wigwe’s tragic death alongside others in the helicopter accident.

The statement quoted Otu as saying, “I received with utmost shock and sadness the tragic death of one of Nigeria’s sterling bankers and business icons, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, alongside his wife, son and others aboard a helicopter in the United States.

“This a huge blow to the banking and financial sector, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa and the world.

“Dr. Wigwe was a shining example of industry, brinksmanship and dedication to all of humanity. Dying at a time when he was pioneering world class education through his Wigwe University is a devastating loss to this lofty dream and all who hoped on him.

“My deepest condolences to his family, his community, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc., his friends and associates.

“As painful as this death is, Dr. Wigwe will be remembered for the impactful life he lived and his unflinching dedication to excellence.”

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Sani Musa, (APC Niger East), expressed sadness over the tragedy.

In a statement he personally signed yesterday, Musa stated, “I am deeply saddened and devastated by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, 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 am down in spirit that we have to lose Herbert Wigwe this early in life. He was a man of integrity and strong conviction to work, he was a great personality and 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 who never believed in cutting corners to achieve success in business.

“He was a visionary, charismatic and transformational leader, who contributed significantly to the development of the banking industry in Nigeria and the economy at large.

“I wish to on behalf of my family and the people of Niger East Senatorial District 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.

“My heartfelt 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.”

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