Tributes, tears as business community celebrates Wigwe

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Tributes, Tears As Business Community Celebrates Wigwe
Written by Zaka Khaliq and Bukola Aro-Lambo 1 min ago
Late Herbert Wigwe
Late Herbert Wigwe

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Emotions ran high on Monday in Lagos as professionals, friends and family and business community gathered to celebrate the life of the late Group Managing Director of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe.

At the ‘Dr. Herbert Wigwe Celebrating Profession Excellence,’ event which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, most of those who spoke about their interactions with late Wigwe described him as an astute professional, visionary entreprenuer and pillar of support.

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Both the Lagos State Government and the Dangote Group of Companies promised to immortalise him.

On his part, the founder of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote announced that the 20 kilometres refinery and petrochemical road, will be named after Herbert Wigwe who, he said, was pivotal to the success of the Dangote group.

Fighting back tears, Dangote described the late Wigwe as more than a friend and mentee, regretting that he could not do anything to prevent the death of Wigwe, his wife and son. Dangote described Wigwe as a “visionary role model and a perfectionist who gave so much of himself. His strides are seen in the economic landscape of the country.

“He is a pillar of support and strength for me and my family. He supported me as the company grew and he is part of success story. Herbert’s wise counsel was central to the growth of Dangote Group. I will forever cherish his friendship and I owe him a debt of gratitude. Herbert’s courage was second to none and he was never short of anything. We share a common principle of perseverance which is a secret of success.”

On his part, the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, who noted that Wigwe along with his wife and son did not do anything to have deserved their fate, said the sad occurrence was the will of God.

He described Wigwe as extremely hard working, bold, diligent, intentional, consistent, reliable and dependable. “He was loyal to his friends. He was intelligent, and way ahead of his time. He was ever so forward thinking, believed in Nigeria and did everything to support and promote the course of the country.

“I can’t thank him enough for supporting dreams of the state. He was instrumental to the payment of salaries to private bond and projects of the state such as the airport. The history of the state will not be complete without Herbert. I appreciate the speed of his trust in my government to hit the ground running. He was a different person to everyone, selfless and promise keeping. God has called him and knows why has called him to himself,” he stressed.

The governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who promised to immortalise Wigwe’s name in Lagos State, described him as a fearless banker, saying, the public service would miss the service of such a rare bred, noting that, he was the first person to support his administration generously when he became the governor.

To him, “He always encourage me with his words of support, he supported the state during Covid-19, he supported the plan for a greater Lagos. We must do something with that name on Lagos Island to immortalize legacies and memories of Herbert Wigwe”

Similarly, Finance Minister, Mr Wale Edun said, he met the deceased 25 years ago and since then, he has been more than just a friend.

“He would always offer ideas to resolve financial issues of the moment, especially, since, I became the finance minister. He still had time for philanthropy. He loves sports and education. He is a man with solutions. We meet to resolve things around the Nigerian economy..Its heavy for me without such pillars of support,” he said.

Also, the AfDB president, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, while addressing the audience that gathered to commemorate the professional excellence of the late Herbert Wigwe said: “Today, we mourn the loss of Wigwe, but we also celebrate his remarkable life.”

He spoke of Herbert’s unwavering determination, citing Chizoba as a pillar of support and Chizi as a brilliant son, emphasising the integral role they played in his success.

Reflecting on Herbert’s legacy, Dr. Adesina highlighted the visionary partnership between Wigwe and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in shaping Access Bank into a global financial powerhouse. Herbert was fearless, he was determined to succeed, he said.

He recounted Herbert’s bold decision to merge with Diamond Bank, a move that propelled Access Bank to become the largest bank in Nigeria, boasting 29 million customers and a presence across three continents and twelve countries.

As the audience absorbed the magnitude of Herbert’s achievements, Dr. Adesina pledged continued support for Access Bank, ensuring that Herbert’s vision would endure. I will continue to inspire us all as we carry forward his legacy of excellence and innovation, he stressed.

His closest friend, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said: “People who did not know him before now learnt about his philanthropy and learnt that Africa is still capable of producing outstanding individuals. Herbert was committed to building an African continent. Herbert was very concerned about state of the nation and he knows time was not on the side of Nigeria and Africa. We are now faced that tomorrow is today.”

 

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