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A Final Farewell to the Wigwe Family: A Tragic Loss for Nigeria

A Final Farewell to the Wigwe Family: A Tragic Loss for Nigeria
A Final Farewell to the Wigwe Family: A Tragic Loss for Nigeria

On Saturday, 9th March 2024, Nigeria mourned the loss of one of its most influential and philanthropic families: the Wigwes. Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the former CEO of Access Holdings, his wife Doreen Chizoba, and their eldest son Chizzy, were laid to rest in a solemn ceremony at the Wigwe University in Isiokpo, Rivers State.

A Legacy of Excellence and Generosity

Dr. Wigwe was a visionary leader who transformed Access Holdings into one of the largest and most diversified conglomerates in Africa. He was also a generous benefactor who donated billions of naira to various causes, especially education and health. He founded the Wigwe University in his hometown of Isiokpo, a world-class institution that offers scholarships and grants to thousands of students across Nigeria and beyond.

His wife, Doreen, was a renowned lawyer and human rights activist who championed the rights of women and children. She was also the founder and president of the Doreen Wigwe Foundation, a non-governmental organization that provides legal aid, counseling, and empowerment programs to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Their son, Chizzy, was a rising star in the business world, following in his father’s footsteps. He was the managing director of Access Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria. He was also a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability and social justice. He spearheaded several initiatives to promote green banking, renewable energy, and corporate social responsibility.

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A Tragic End to a Brilliant Future

The Wigwe family met their untimely death in a horrific helicopter crash that occurred in California, USA, near the Nevada border. They were on their way to attend a business summit organized by the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, where Dr. Wigwe was expected to deliver a keynote address. The crash also claimed the life of the chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, a close friend and associate of Dr. Wigwe.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but preliminary reports suggest that it was due to a mechanical failure. The helicopter, which was owned by Access Holdings, had undergone a routine maintenance check before the flight and had no prior history of malfunctions.

A Nation in Mourning

The funeral service for the Wigwe family was held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Isiokpo, where they were devout members. The service was attended by thousands of people from all walks of life, who came to pay their last respects and express their condolences. Among the dignitaries present were the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, who pledged the state government’s support for the Wigwe University and the continuation of the Wigwe family’s legacy. Other notable personalities who graced the occasion were:

  • Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development
  • Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State
  • Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation
  • Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President
  • Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group
  • Sanusi Lamido, the former Emir of Kano
  • Alex Otti, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group
  • Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State
  • Babajide Sawno-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State
  • Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President
  • James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State
  • Segun Agbaje, the CEO of GTCO Holdings

The bodies of the Wigwe family were then taken to a private mausoleum within the premises of the Wigwe University, where they were interred around 2.45 pm. The mausoleum, which was specially built by Dr. Wigwe before his death, is a magnificent structure that showcases his love for art and architecture. It is adorned with sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions that depict the life and achievements of the Wigwe family.

As the coffins were lowered into the grave, tears flowed freely from the eyes of the mourners, who could not believe that such a great family was gone forever. They prayed for the repose of their souls and the comfort of their surviving relatives and friends.

The Wigwe family will be sorely missed by millions of Nigerians who benefited from their generosity, wisdom, and leadership. They will also be remembered as a shining example of excellence, integrity, and patriotism. May their souls rest in peace. Amen.

 

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