Bayelsa to Immortalise Wigwe as Adeboye, Sanwo-Olu, Adeola, Adelusi-Adeluyi Visit Deceased Parents

•Zimbabwean billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, mourn late Access Holdings boss 

•US agency releases photos of helicopter crash

Wale Igbintade

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration was considering immortalising the late Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, for his contributions to the development of the state.

Speaking yesterday in Yenagoa, during the inauguration of sections two and three of the 22-kilometre Yenagoa Outer Ring Road, Diri said he would consult with elders and stakeholders in the state with a view to naming the road after the late consummate banker and businessman.

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, were among early visitors at the residence of Herbert Wigwe’s parents yesterday to condole with the family over his death.

Wigwe, his wife, son, and a former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Abimola Ogunbanjo, died in a helicopter crash last Friday in the United States.

London-based Zimbabwean billionaire, founder and Chairman of Econet, Strive Masiyiwa, expressed shock at Wigwe’s demise, in a post shared on Facebook.

Diri said at the inauguration of the Yenagoa Outer Ring Road, which was constructed by Lubrik, that Wigwe was instrumental to the completion of the road project. He said the contract sum had been fully paid to the company, assuring that in his second term, the other part of the dual carriageway would be completed.

The governor stated, “With the completion of the first part of this road, it means that we can drive from Elebele to Igbogene and from there to the Ecumenical Centre and then to Tombia.

“In our second tenure, the remaining part of it will be completed to make it a complete ring road.”

Inaugurating the project, the governor of Niger State, Mohammed Bago, said the idea of immortalising Wigwe was a welcome development.

While congratulating Diri on his electoral victory and second term inauguration, Bago described the governor’s success as a clear manifestation of the people’s support for his administration.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei, said the construction and completion of sections 2 and 3 of the ring road, running from Okarki to Imiringi road, brought to full completion one of the single carriageways out of the dual carriageway from Elebele to Igbogene with a length of 21. 911 kilometres.

Adeboye, Sanwo-Olu, and Adelusi-Adeluyi were among the early callers at the residence of Herbert Wigwe’s parents.

Adeboye, a revered man of God, drove into the compound shortly after Sanwo-Olu’s arrival and both had a closed-door discussion with the Wigwes.

Other early callers to the family were Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; former Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; co- founder of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank Plc), Mr. Fola Adeola; and Chairman of Access Bank Plc and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Paul Usoro.

Speaking with THISDAY, Adelusi-Adeluyi described Wigwe’s death as a big tragedy.

He said, “Herbert was one of our children, and we used say to ourselves, in him a star was born, and that star developed into a gem. And now we are witnessing a situation that the star that was born that has turned into a gem is gone.

“It needs a lots of careful patience to be able to cope. It’s a big tragedy. We don’t know the way of God, there is nothing that He does that is not for the good of mankind. So we say, may his soul rest in peace.”

Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, said, “We pray for the soul of the departed. May God comfort all those left behind.”

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa lbom State, Chief Don Etiebet, wrote, “May the soul of my friend, wife and son rest in perfect peace. I shall miss you, Herbert.”

In her condolence message, the first female Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Rose Ukeje, wrote, “Dear Lord, You know it all. Nothing happens without Your consent. Please, Lord, comfort Pa Pastor Wigwe and Lady Stella. “We commit them to Your care, may Your abiding grace see them through this tragedy. We pray and we believe thou will grant our prayer. Amen.”

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Norrison Quakers, said Wigwe was hospitable, unpretentious, and one who made sure his wealth went round.

Quakers said regarding the late Wigwe, “He was hospitable, he was unpretentious, no airs about him. Someone that you could consider as reliable, someone who stood by family and friends.

“Someone who made sure that his wealth went round. He didn’t limit his wealth to family members. And he did a lot of things, silently, that a lot of people are not aware of. School fees were paid for some people.

“His commitment to God was unheard of. His commitment to the things of God was so unquestionable. Now, a man with that kind of kind heart, there’s no way you will not be devastated when he exits the world in the way and manner he did.

“He was tenacious, purposeful, determined and a goal getter. Did he achieve all that he set out to achieve? Well, one can say, with the short life that he had lived, one can say that a lot of the goals that he set for himself, he was able to achieve them.

“He has impacted lives. And you can see the number of people who have come around and the compliments, messages that the family has been getting.

“It shows the kind of person he was while he was yet alive. This is a lesson for many of us. That while you are alive, make use of the talent that God has given to you and also your resources.”

Quakers also stated, “He was a guru in the financial sector. He was a tenacious young man and we will miss him. We will miss his purposeful leadership. It’s unfortunate that this has happened. But again, this is another part of life. That even if you are alive, a day will come when you will have to leave the world.

“But when you leave the world, what will the world remember you for? At least, today we are remembering him for the things that he has done. Not just for himself, but for humanity, for the Body of Christ. And then the nation as a whole.

“Look at the university he put up in his community. Great man, he will surely be missed.”

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, wrote, “Chie Herbert, Na so?”

In a post he shared on Facebook, Masiyiwa wrote, “A few days ago I woke up to the sad news that my dear friend Herbert Wigwe, the co-founder of one of Africa’s largest banks, Access Bank, had been killed in a helicopter crash, alongside his wife, son and three others, including Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

“For a while, I refused to accept it and just kept looking at the news feeds as I hoped it just wasn’t true. Sadly, it turned out to be true and I just mourned with my wife as we remembered this amazing African.”

The philanthropist also stated that in the world of business, Wigwe was the “real deal”, a highly “skilled entrepreneur who built one of Africa’s biggest banks along with his partner and friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, another towering African entrepreneur.

“Herbert was a master of #Scale; he knew how to make a business big. He understood and applied the core principles of building and running a large business. And Access Bank was big and getting bigger as it turned to become a global player.

“It was always a joy to chat with him, and I respected him deeply. I know he built a strong management culture and the bank will endure. My condolences to all his family, friends, colleagues, and associates.”

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), yesterday, released photos of the helicopter crash.

US authorities cited witnesses’ accounts that the helicopter crashed amid rainy and wintry conditions, which was later supported by NTSB meteorologists.

Reports of downed power lines in the crash area were being investigated.

The ill-fated flight was operated by Orbic Air LLC, based out of Burbank, California.

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