‘Africa lost two brightest minds’ — Tony Elumelu, Otedola pay tribute to Wigwe, Ogunbanjo

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Tony Elumelu and Femi Otedola have paid tribute to the late Herbert Wigwe, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc.

Wigwe, alongside his wife, son, and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), were involved in a helicopter crash in the United States on Saturday.

There were six passengers onboard, but no survivors have been found so far.

The Eurocopter EC130 helicopter conveying them crashed around 10pm on Friday in California — 7am on Saturday in Nigeria — near the Nevada border.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the US on Sunday said witness reports of the weather conditions at the time of the accident “suggest rain and a wintry mix”.

In his tribute, Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, said Africa has lost two of the brightest minds, adding that the duo will be “sorely missed”.

Elumelu said the leadership and entrepreneurial drive of Wigwe and Ogunbanjo would continue to “serve as shining examples to millions of our young people”.

“Nigeria, indeed Africa, has lost two of our brightest minds. I admired them both and we all shared the desire to drive Nigeria’s transformation,” he said.

“Herbert was an exceptional talent, committed to advancing the banking and financial sector in Nigeria, with Access Holdings.

“Likewise, Bimbo’s tenure as Group chairman of the NGX group was distinguished by excellence.

“May Bimbo, Herbert, his dear wife, Chizoba, and his son, Chizi, rest in perfect peace. May God give their immediate families strength and grace in this difficult time.”

In a condolence message, Otedola, billionaire businessman, reminisced about his visit alongside Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Group, to the newly built Lagos residence of Wigwe a fortnight ago.

Otedola said he would forever cherish the memories he had with Wigwe.

“Herbie, we will all miss you. Your legacy will live on forever,” he said.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to his children Tochi, Hannah and David. I pray God comforts them during this tragic time.”