…I’m shocked, devastated says Edo Governor, Obaseki

Herbert Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Access holdings Nigeria, his wife Chizoba, a son and Abimbola Ogunbajo, former President of Nigerian Exchange Group plc and three others, are feared dead in a helicopter crash between the borders of Nevada and California in the USA.

A search and recovery operation is already going on, Arise News reports.

It is believed there were six persons aboard including Wigwe’s wife, son and a friend and former president of the Stock Exchange Toks Ogunbadejo.

Due to weather conditions his aircraft landed in Palm Springs, California airport and they took a helicopter to Las Vegas at 10 pm ( 7am Nigerian Time).

The chopper was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed near a border city between Nevada and California on Friday night.

Official confirmation by the authorities is still being awaited from National Safety Transportation officials currently expected at the crash site with family members.

The U.S. National Transportation Board has sent a team to the site to investigate the accident.

“NTSB launching go team to investigate Friday’s crash of an Airbus Helicopters EC-130 near Halloran Springs, California,” it posted on its X handle. “Team to arrive on scene today.”

Born on August 15, 1966, Wigwe would go on to become a banker and entrepreneur, ultimately becoming one of the biggest names and leaders in Nigeria’s banking and financial sector. He was also the Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, succeeding his business partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, from January 2014 till April 2022.

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Herbert Wigwe is also the founder of Wigwe University, a budding tertiary institution located in Rivers State, where he hailed from.

He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme and holds a master’s in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales; another master’s in Financial Economics from the University of London, and a B.Sc. in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Reports about the tragic crash have sent shockwaves across Nigeria with the news already dominating conversations.

Edo State Governor, Hon Godwin Obaseki has expressed shock and devastation at the death of Wigwe.

“The news of the passing of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank Holdings, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, who died in a helicopter crash in the United States of America has left me extremely shocked and devastated”, said Governor Obaseki in a statement late Saturday night.

“We also unfortunately lost Wigwe’s wife and son, as well as the former group chairman of Nigeria Stock Exchange, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, in the crash”, Obaseki added.

He further said:”The tragic incident is painful and heart wrenching and we pray for God’s abiding comfort in this profoundly difficult time.

“Wigwe was a colossus in Nigeria’s financial sector, leading Access Bank to become an international brand that placed Nigeria on the global map of first class financial services.

“I commiserate with the Wigwe family, the Ogunbanjo family, Access Bank Holding, the Nigeria Stock Exchange, friends and associates and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”