Memorial service honors Herbert Wigwe, wife, and son following week-long funeral observances

The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lion of Judah Parish in Isiokpo hosted a solemn service on Sunday, following a gathering of dignitaries in the oil-rich state to honor the late Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, his wife, and his son.

The service which held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lion of Judah Parish, in Isiokpo, comes a day after dignitaries gathered in the state for the burial of the trio.

Personalities present were the Senate President Godswill Akpabio; FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike; business leader Aliko Dangote, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, Gov. Alex Otti, Gov. Dapo Abiodun, former Senate President Bukola Saraki; Gov. Babajide Sawno-Olu, former Anambra State Gov. Peter Obi, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and other notable captains of industry.

Other dignitaries in attendance were Rivers State Governor Sim Fubara and State Commissioner of Police Olatunji Disu, who was the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the burial ceremony.

The tragic incident involving Herbert, Chizoba, and Chizi Wigwe, along with former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo, and two pilots in an Airbus Helicopter EC 130B4 with registration number N130CZ near Halloran Springs, California on February 9 remains shrouded in mystery. 

A preliminary report by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) described witnesses' accounts of the chopper being perceived as a "fireball" before crashing. Reports indicate that the weather conditions on the day of the helicopter crash were challenging, with a mix of rain and snow adding to the complexity of the situation.

Wigwe’s death remains one of the most shocking in the Nigerian banking industry.

Earlier on the week, however, several friends, captains of industry, family members, and associates paid tributes to the late banking guru and his wife and son.

Leading the tributes at an event in Lagos last Monday, a tearful Aliko Dangote described Wigwe as his brother and friend.

“He was a pillar of support to me, and my family,” an emotional Dangote told the gathering in Lagos in a speech in which he renamed the road leading to the Dangote Refinery after Wigwe.

Representing President Bola Tinubu at the event, was Vice President Kashim Shettima. He described Wigwe as a beacon of hope that left at an odd time.

“Herbert left us in winter before the season of bloom. Spring was just about to arrive at his last location, the United States when the Lord called for him,” Shettima said.

Shettima also said that the late Wigwe was an early bloomer who transformed the Nigerian banking industry, recalling his visionary leadership and unwavering dedication to his community.

Also speaking, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe, said that Wigwe embodied the true spirit of Lagos State, saying the nation’s commercial nerve centre won’t forget him.

According to Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe was a “completely detribalised” person whom ” Lagos will not forget”.

Eulogising her late father on the night of tributes on Wednesday, Tochi Wigwe, said he was committed and dotting.

“In this moment, for the first time, your words resonate deeply within me. No longer do I want to tilt my head and squint my eyes in confusion. You were simply extraordinary,” Tochi said.

“You urged me to reach new heights I never even imagined. Whenever doubt clouded my mind, you would chuckle knowingly and say, ‘You really just don’t know whose child you are, you’ll soon find out.’ And once again, you were right: I’ve come to find out.

“I could never fathom how you managed to do it all; it seemed inconceivable. Turning everything you touched to gold while remaining an unwavering anchor for your family and friends.”

A former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, was almost inconsolable as he mounted the podium to pay tribute to his “brother” Wigwe.

Sanusi could not hold his tears as he narrated how late Wigwe helped him when he was dethroned as Emir.

He regretted that Wigwe had to die before him, saying, “I was thinking I would die and leave Herbert. We have all heard about him, about his loyalty”.

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