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    Thursday, March 7, 2024

    VP Shettima, Emir Sanusi Shares Heartfelt Memories At Wigwe’s Night Of Tributes

    A former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, broke down in tears on Wednesday while paying tribute to former Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

    Addressing the crowd present for the night of tribute to the 57-year-old, the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor said he was thinking he would leave Herbert.

    “I was thinking I would die and leave Herbert. We have all heard about him, about his loyalty,” he said in an emotionally laden voice.

    He recalled how the late banker stood by his side all through his travails after being removed as Emir of Kano by former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

    According to the former Emir, Herbert assured him of his unflinching support and loyalty.

    To match words with action, Lamido said Herbert provided a plane for him at the tarmac in Kano to convey him to Lagos.

    “When I had problems in Kano, I called him about six months before I was told to leave Kano. I said to him, ‘Herbert I know you are doing all your best to solve all these problems, but I am convinced that this is what is going to happen.

    “He said to me, ‘Your Highness, don’t worry. Whatever happens, don’t worry. We are here for you.’ On the day I heard on the radio that I was dethroned, I called him and said I wanted to come to Lagos.

    “The announcement was made about 9 am, by noon Herbert had a plane at the tarmac in Kano. The plan then was to take me into exile for many years. I put my family on that plane and sent them to Lagos, with no phone calls. Herbert received them and put them in a hotel.

    “Later, he got them accommodation. For months, when I came, they stayed there. Your Highness, if you want to travel, just call Shola.”

    The former CBN said the late Access Bank CEO and his partner Aig Imoukhuede, were crucial to his success during his five-year stint at the apex bank.

    He also narrated how they helped resolve a serious challenge in the banking sector at the time.

    “The objective then was to link the banking sector assets to the real economy and Aig and Herbert in Access Bank were chosen as the chairpersons on the subcommittee on economic development. Most of what I achieved in the Central Bank would not have been possible without them.”

    “About two years ago, I put all my savings in a trust for the education of my children because I have many. My priority as a father is to make sure that when I pass away, they will have a good education.

    “Paul was a solicitor put in that trust, Herbert was the lead protector. Paul will remember when we had the first formal meeting, I said, ‘Herbert I am placing you in charge of this trust for the education of my children because I know that even if I died and did not leave any money, you will educate our children,” he said.

    VP Shettima also regretted the tragic loss of Wigwe’s wife, son, and others, describing the loss as collective grief felt by many and a “fading fragrance of a garden that touched lives far beyond its borders.”

    He however urged Nigerians to celebrate “the divine miracle that was the lives the deceased lived,” adding that, “the spread of this grief that binds us is so because they cultivated a garden of success.”

    “Their achievements were not just individual triumphs but testaments to the collective strength of those they touched, those they built, and those they inspired.

    “The journey of our departed brothers and sisters may have ended in a distant land, but their spirits linger in the hearts of everyone here and beyond,” the Vice President added. “May Herbert’s legacy continue to bloom in the hearts and minds of those who strive for greatness.”

    A representative for Macron, Frank Riester, conveyed France’s deep sorrow over Herbert’s demise. Riester praised Herbert’s career successes, philanthropy, and commitment to social change.

    He acknowledged the loss for both Nigeria and the African continent, emphasising Wigwe’s dream of nurturing responsible leaders through projects like the Wigwe University.

    He said: “It was with great sorrow and emotion that we heard the terrible news of his sudden demise in a tragic accident three weeks ago. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family partners, teams and friends. I share their pain and grief for the loss of this truly exceptional man. My thoughts are with his loved ones.

    “His demise is a huge loss for all of us here in Nigeria, his beloved country for which he had so many dreams and also throughout the African continent that he loved so much and for which he had so much ambition.

    “He was truly an inspiration to all of us. Late Herbert Wigwe was not only an outstanding entrepreneur whose career successes were admired in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.

    “He was also a philanthropist known for his strong dedication towards the most vulnerable. He was a visionary committed to social change and sensitive to youth empowering, women entrepreneurs, education, healthcare, and environmental issues.

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