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I thought I would die before Wigwe—Emir Sanusi breaks down in tears

I thought I would die before Wigwe—Emir Sanusi breaks down in tears

The Night of Tributes for the late Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, continued in Lagos yesterday, with the leader of the Tijjaniyya movement and 14th Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi, captains of industry and political bigwigs paying tributes to the deceased.

Emir Sanusi broke down thrice while paying tribute to Herbert Wigwe. Each time he broke down, Abia State Governor Alex Otti, Aig-Imoukhuede and an aide comforted him. The aide had to spread his babanriga to shield his teary face from the audience. Recall that Herbert Wigwe died in a helicopter crash, along with his wife, Doreen, son, Chizzy and former Managing Director of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, in the US.

Aside from Emir Sanusi, other personalities, including Vice President Kashim Shettima, also paid tributes to the deceased. Also in attendance were Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President Dangote Group, Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede, Chairman Coronation Group, Henry Imasekha, Chairman/CEO – Berkeley Group Plc, among other dignitaries. Speaking on the occasion, teary Sanusi said that due to Herbert’s kind gestures towards him and his family, some people believed he owned Access Bank, while Aig- Imoukhuede, and Herbert were fronting for him.

He said: “It was on a Saturday, I had no idea about what happened. I came to the airport waiting for a plane and I got a call from Bola Adeshola, and we were chatting. After two sentences, he said, Lamido you haven’t heard? “About two years ago, I put all my savings into a Trust for the education of my children, I have many and my priority as a father is to make sure that when I pass away, they will have good education. I told Herbert ‘I am placing you in charge of this Trust for the education of my children because I know that even if I die and did not leave any money, you will educate my children. “I thought I would die before Herbert.”


After that, he burst into tears. “When I had problems in Kano, I called him about six months before I was to leave Kano, and I said to him, ‘Herbert I know you will give all your best to solve all these problems, but I am convinced that this is what is going to happen.’ And 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, the night before it happened, I called and said I want to come to Lagos. The announcement was made at about 9am, by noon, Herbert had a plane at the tarmac in Kano. I put my family on that plane, no message, no phne call, I put them on that plane. Herbert received them, put them in a hotel, and later got them accommodation for months.

When I came we stayed there. “Some people believe I own access bank and Aig and Herbert are fronting for me. They gave me the cars and the drivers, they gave me security and a private jet and they ask for nothing and they don’t talk about it. I have lived in Lagos for four years, the house my family lives in was provided by Herbert.

“When I heard of his death, I said ‘in the coming weeks and months, people will get to know Herbert the human being’. They know him as a banker, as a business man, they don’t know him as a human being. He was always about others, not about himself. You can’t imagne how one human being could have been so many things to so many people.

“On the day before this happened, I was on a chat group when somebopdy made a few remarks about Herbert that I found offensive and I defended Herbert. I made my point very clear that this was totally unacceptable.

“A few days after Herbert died; a friend called me and sent me a message. He has sent a message to Herbert at about 3:20 am that morning (day of the crash), telling him how I had stood up and defended him and forwarded my entire message to him. ‘’Herbert replied at 3:28 am with one word ‘unbelievable’. He sent another message at 3:50 which was not delivered. From the presentation from the air traffic controllers, the crash happened at 3:30. So possibly, the last thing Herbert read was my message talking about him.

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