Wigwe: Keyamo, Okonjo-Iweala mourn


By Chukwuemeka Iwelunmo and Temitope Adedayo

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has joined millions of Nigerians in mourning the loss of the CEO of Access Holdings Plc , Herbert Wigwe.

Keyamo, on Sunday, revealed that the ministry, in collaboration with Wigwe’s Access Holdings, had been on the brink of announcing significant developments for the aviation industry.

The Minister further revealed that the deal was concluded at a recent meeting with Wigwe shortly before the banking icon embarked on the I’ll fated journey to the US.

Expressing his sorrow on social media, the Minister lamented the loss of his friend and neighbour, highlighting Wigwe’s role as the co-founder of Access Bank, CEO of Access Holdings, and founder of Wigwe University. He described the moment as surreal, recalling their plans for a major announcement in the aviation sector, which Wigwe had eagerly discussed during their meeting.

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As condolences pour in, Keyamo extended his prayers to Wigwe’s family, including his wife, son, and friends affected by the tragedy, emphasising the need for divine comfort during this difficult time.

Also, a former Finance Minister and current Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala expressed her sorrow over the tragic passing of Herbert Wigwe.

In a heartfelt message shared on social media, Okonjo-Iweala conveyed her deepest condolences to the families of Herbert Wigwe, his wife, son, and Bimbo Ogunbanjo, who lost their lives in a helicopter crash. She also extended sympathies to Access Bank Group and its employees, as well as to Herbert’s partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, hoping for peace for the departed souls.

Meanwhile, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings Plc, lamented the loss describing it as a significant blow to the financial conglomerate and the banking industry. Promising to honor Wigwe’s legacy, Jimoh pledged to continue building on his achievements to further advance the group and its subsidiaries.

Wigwe, who co-founded Access Bank with his business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, played a pivotal role in the bank’s growth. As CEO of Access Bank Group since 2014 and later as head of Access Holdings, he spearheaded the bank’s expansion in Nigeria and across Africa, leading it to become the largest retail bank in Sub-Saharan Africa by customer base.

In addition to his contributions to the banking sector, Wigwe was actively involved in various initiatives aimed at combating diseases like malaria and AIDS in Africa. He served on several boards, including Access Bank UK and the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS, and held honorary memberships in professional associations such as the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

The passing of Herbert Wigwe leaves a void in the banking community, but his legacy of leadership, innovation, and philanthropy will continue to inspire generations to come.

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