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Heartbroken Nigerians mourn DR Herbert Wigwe – CEO Access Bank

Nigerians including President Bola Tinubu and some state governors have joined other citizens to mourn the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, who died in a chopper crash in the United States on Friday.
They described the deceased as a brilliant banker under whose leadership the bank grew in leaps and bounds.
Wigwe, his wife, Doreen; son Chizi; and a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, lost their lives in the helicopter crash which occurred near a border town between California and Nevada.
Earlier on Saturday, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had expressed shock over the death of the top banker and co-travellers.
On Sunday, the president, some state governors, friends and associates described the deceased as an exceptional banker.
Access was ranked 65th when Wigwe and his co-founder bought it, but the bank was reportedly one of the top four by the time he died.
Under his leadership, Access Bank experienced rapid growth including the landmark transformation of the lender into a group or holding company.
The late Access Holdings group chief executive officer was about 36 years old when he co-founded Access Bank.
The Central Bank of Nigeria powerbrokers reportedly said they were young and almost frustrated with the deal.
Under Wigwe, Access Bank which had years earlier acquired Intercontinental Bank, also bought Diamond Bank.

On Sunday, Tinubu described the death of the prominent Nigerians as a monumental loss.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement said Tinubu who received an official confirmation of the event, also commiserated with Ogunbanjo who was also onboard.
Ngelale said Tinubu mourned these exceptional Nigerian business leaders and described their passing as “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”
“The President commiserates with the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident.
This came as Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Peter Mba of Enugu State, Alex Otti of Abia State joined other governors to commiserate with the deceased’s family members.
Sanwo-Olu in a statement was quoted as saying, “I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of my dear brother and friend, Dr Herbert Wigwe, his dear wife Doreen, and their beloved son, Chizi, in a helicopter crash.
His media aide, Boniface Onyedi, in a statement, said, “Governor Fubara, on behalf of his family, the State Government and people of Rivers State commiserate with the Wigwe family over this unfortunate incident.”
In a statement signed by its Group Company Secretary, Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, the lender said, “It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) announces the passing of Dr Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’).
“Dr Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.
Nigeria is not suspecting any foul play neither are we doubting the US’s capacity to conduct a thorough investigation. However, the only thing we may do is to write to request a progress report before the release of the final report,” a top official of the Ministry of Aviation who is not authorised to speak on the matter told the press on condition of anonymity.
The Federal Government might only seek to join in the investigation if any members of the deceased families write and indicated a foul play had been suspected.

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