Nigeria’s banking sector is reeling from the loss of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash alongside his family and a former business associate.
Described as a “transformational leader” by the Body of Banks CEOs, Dr. Wigwe’s impact on the industry and the economy at large was profound. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Chairman of the Body of Banks CEOs, stated, “Herbert was a visionary, charismatic, and transformational leader, who contributed significantly to the development of the banking industry in Nigeria and the economy at large.”
Reflecting on his legacy, Ken Opara, President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), hailed Dr. Wigwe as a “visionary leader, a trailblazer, a corporate titan,” whose influence extended globally. “His legendary contributions to the growth and development of the Institute, the Banking Industry, and the Nigerian economy at large is unparalleled and will ever remain indelible in our hearts,” Opara expressed.
Beyond the banking sphere, Dr. Wigwe’s contributions were recognized by the National Institute of Credit Administration (NICA), where he was an active Fellow. Prof. Chris Onalo, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of NICA, emphasized Wigwe’s “immeasurable contributions to the credit industry in Nigeria” and his lasting impact on the economy.
The Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN) also joined in mourning, acknowledging Dr. Wigwe’s status as an “icon” and a “respected leader” in the banking industry. Mustafa Chike-Obi, Chairman of BDAN, lamented, “He will be fondly remembered for his significant contributions to the Banking Industry, leaving behind a legacy of integrity, professionalism, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence.”
As the industry grapples with the loss of one of its foremost figures, Access Holdings has named Bolaji Agbede as the acting CEO, while investigations into the helicopter crash are underway. Despite the somber mood, the legacy of Dr. Herbert Wigwe will continue to inspire future generations within the Nigerian banking industry.