Okonjo-Iweala, Otedola, others mourn Wigwes, NGX former chairman


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | Image: ERIC BARADAT-AFP via Getty Images

Stakeholders in the financial sector have continued to mourn the death of the Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife, son, and former Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Reacting on her X platform handle, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) expressed her sympathy and condolences to the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, Access Bank Group employees, and management.

Herbert Wigwe was involved in an airplane crash in the U.S. on Friday.

Okonjo-Iwela said: “terribly saddened by the news of the loss of Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO Access Bank, his wife and son, as well as Bimbo Ogunbanjo in a helicopter crash.

“May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.”

Mr Femi Otedola, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBN Holdings) also expressed his shock and sadness to hear about the loss of a banking genius, Wigwe, his wife Chizoba, and son Chizi.

Otedola, who is also the Executive Chairman of Geregu Power Plc, said on his Instagram handle that Wigwe’s legacy would live forever. He added that he would cherish and fondly remember his memories of time spent with the late Access Holdings CEO over the years.

The FBN Holdings chairman prayed that God rest the souls of the departed in peace and comfort his children and family during this tragic time.

“Exactly two weeks ago, Herbie and his wife hosted me and Aliko Dangote to dinner at his newly built home in Lagos.

“Herbie, we will miss you. Your legacy will live forever.

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

In his reaction, the Doyen of Capital Market, Mr Sam Ndata, expressed his condolences to the families of the departed. Ndata told NAN that the death of Wigwe and Ogunbanjo was a great loss to the capital market and banking industry.

He said that the NGX community received the news of the deaths with shock, but took solace in the Will of God.

“We are so sad and wondering why this has to happen to these strong pillars of our industry at this time.
“While we wait to get full details of what led to their deaths, we pray that God rest their souls in peace,” he said.

The National Coordinator of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria(PSAN), Mr. Boniface Okezie, described the Wigwe’s and Ogunbanjo’s death as sad news to the banking industry, the capital market, and the nation at large.

Okezie said that Wigwe’s death was more painful because he also lost his wife and son in the helicopter crash leaving his aged parent. He explained that Wigwe had worked so hard and committed over the years with his partner to build Access Holdings from scratch to the top that it currently occupies.

According to him, Wigwe and the former Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede strategically spearheaded the transition of Access Bank Plc, into Access Holdings Plc.

Okezie said Wigwe, leading the team through hard work and commitment, transformed the bank into a financial conglomerate that had taken a prime position in the nation’s banking and finance sector.

He stated that for about 26 years, Wigwe-led Access Corporation evolved from an obscure Nigerian bank into a world-class African financial institution.

“Wigwe has paid his dues to make sure that the banking industry grows exponentially through his sheer hard work and commitment, hence contributing massively to the growth of the nation.

“This is a great loss to the banking industry, capital market, and the nation at large, but we cannot question God.

“We were hoping that Wigwe would retire in a few years, just like Aig-Imoukhuede, they o enjoy the wealth he has worked for and accumulated over the years, not knowing that God has his plans to call him home sooner than we expect.

“He has done his bid, contributed his quota to improve the banking system and the economy. I commend his efforts and tenacity over the years to build a conglomerate.

“I was watching him in the news a few months ago when he announced that he has invested half a billion dollars in building a university in Isiokpo, Rivers State which is due for commissioning this year.

“Ironically, now that he is no more, the university would be part of the legacies that would outlive him, which means he has worked so hard to leave his footprint,” he said.


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