“Death Can Come Any Time,” What Wigwe Said At Abdul Imoyo’s Burial

. Everything you need to Know: Last days and profile of Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc who died with wife, son, and best friend in a helicopter crash


The Nigerian banking and business world has been jolted by the death in a helicopter crash of Herbert Wigwe, Chairman, Access Holdings, with some allies recalling his last days on earth.

Platforms Africa reports that Wigwe died with his wife; only son, his best friend; and two others in the United States (U.S.) on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

He had just 23 days before his death declared, “Let us number our days.”

While “speaking at the burial service for Abdul Imoyo, the corporate image maker of the Access Holdings, last month, Wigwe said, “Death can come any time.””

Imoyo was buried on January 18, 2024.

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Bamidele Ogunwusi, a Nigerian top financial journalist who confirmed this in a post (tribute) on Facebook, hinted that the man might have had a hint of his (then) looming death. He added, “May His soul find rest!”

Platforms Africa reports that his post 22 days before his death boldly included the gripping clause; “Let us number our days.”

The Facebook post on January 19 reads;
“Today and always, let us remember that life is a precious gift – a chance to breathe, feel, love, experience and connect.
Let’s honour this gift by living with purpose,
kindness, and gratitude, making every moment count. Let us number our days. #HOWN

Wigwe and wife

Lara Wise, another journalist, wrote, “I shut down early and went to bed with an ache in my heart. Father, wife, only son, best friend, two others wiped off just like that. With all the shortcomings of our aviation industry, it didn’t happen here.

“We claim that America has a near-perfect aviation system. Many of us feel very uncomfortable travelling by air in Nigeria but feel very safe doing so abroad. Yet the crash happened there.

“What am I saying?
Life in itself is a mystery.
And God is Sovereign! Period. May we always be on the good side of His sovereignty, and may our life stories always end well.
I am so broken. So, it’s so broken.

“May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may God teach us to number our days so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom and move right.”

The Man Wigwe

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe CFR (15 August 1966 – 10 February 2024 ) was a Nigerian banker and entrepreneur. He was the CEO of Access Holdings Plc, traded as Access Corporation. Herbert was the Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank plc, one of Nigeria’s top five banking institutions, after succeeding his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede in January 2014 till April 2022.

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Wigwe had a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor), an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London, and was an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

Wigwe started his career at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos as a management consultant, later qualifying as a chartered accountant. After a stint at Capital Bank, he joined GTBank, where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the executive director in charge of institutional banking.

Wigwe and his family

In 2002, Wigwe and his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, bought into what was then a small commercial bank, Access Bank – at the time, the 65th largest of the 89 banks in the country.

Access Bank is now one of the top five banks in Nigeria and ranked among the top 500 global banks according to a 2015 report by The Banker magazine and is aiming to be Africa’s top bank. It currently serves over 6.5 million account-holders, through 350 branches and with more than 1,500 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the UK.

Wigwe also served as the Chairman of Access Bank Ghana Limited, Access Investment & Securities Limited, Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS), and is the current Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited. He is a board member of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and a member of the advisory board for Friends Africa. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN – FCA), a Fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, and an Honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

In January 2015, Nigerian newspaper The Punch described him as “one of Nigeria’s stylish top executives.” He was married to Chizoba Wigwe (née Nwuba) and had 4 children: Chizi, Tochi, Hannah, and David. He hailed from Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State but lived and worked in Lagos.


Platforms Africa

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