Wigwe’s Death: Obi devastated, to miss the AFCON final after buying a travel ticket and other logistics arrangements

Obi with other supporters of the Super Eagles during one of the matches

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, will be conspicuously absent in Abidjan, Cote Ivoire, today, as Super Eagles of Nigeria take on the Orange boys of Cote d’Ivoire in an epoch final of the Africa Football Cup of Nations, AFCON.

The crash, which occurred around 10 p.m. local time on Friday, Feb. 9, claimed the lives of six people, including Wigwe, his wife, and son. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that there were no survivors. 

Obi, a staunch supporter of the Super Eagles from his days as governor of Anambra State (2006-2014), who was in Abidjan to cheer the Eagles to victory during their quarter-final match against Angola, had already purchased a return ticket and was to depart Nigeria by 1 pm today to the west African country before tragedy struck in the United States that devastated the LP standards bearer.

Obi’s love for football dates back to his days as a student at Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha during which he was also an ardent supporter of Rangers International of Enugu and the old Green Eagles. As a governor, he further demonstrated his love for the game when he renamed the Onitsha Township Stadium in Fagge, Onitsha, after the first National team captain, Godwin Achebe.

However, a press statement by his media office states that Obi will not watch the epic match today following a helicopter crash in California, USA on Saturday that killed two Nigerian seasoned bankers, a sector Obi professionally belongs, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife and son, and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group).

As a result, Obi is in shock and mourning and can no longer travel to Abidjan as already scheduled, the statement noted, adding  that his heart remains with the boys as he wishes them victory to bring home the trophy.

Writing about the deceased in his X handle, Obi said: “I'm deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, along with his wife and son, and another close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of NGX Group. 

"This loss is profoundly felt across the nation.

"I first met Herbert during his early days, on the brink of starting his marital journey. I vividly remember assisting him in preparing for his traditional wedding and being there for the ceremony with his wife, Chizoba, from Achina, Anambra State. 

'Since then, I've maintained a connection to his endeavors in my own modest ways.

"Herbert, a determined and forward-thinking individual, led Access Bank to new heights following his brother, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. His noteworthy contributions extended beyond the professional realm, with commendable philanthropic efforts in health and education, exemplified by the establishment of Wigwe University, showcasing his deep commitment to education as a driver of development.

"The loss of such an exceptional individual reminds us of life's fleeting nature, encouraging us to live with a purpose that contributes to the betterment of humanity. 

"My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Herbert, his beloved wife, his son, and all those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash. 

'May God grant them eternal rest and provide strength to Herbert's family, Access Holdings, and all of us mourning this irreplaceable loss,” Obi prayed.

The loss of Wigwe, a prominent figure in the Nigerian and African banking industry, has been described as a terrible blow. The details of the crash and the ongoing investigation have not been fully disclosed. The tragic incident has shocked many and deeply affected those who knew Wigwe and his contributions to the banking sector

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