Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has composed a song of sorrow for the late Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, who died Friday in a helicopter crash in the United States of America along with his wife, Chizoba, and son.
Otti who was the boss of the Diamond Bank before it was later acquired by Access Bank, said he had been too devastated by the tragic death of the Wigwes.
Governor Otti in his emotion-laden dirge entitled “Saying Goodbye,” chronicled his personal relationship with the ex-banker and how his demise would impact the corporate world.
Otti was particularly pained by the abortion of his shared dreams with Wigwe on how to move Abia forward.
The Governor wrote: “Herbert why? Why? Why? You told me you were going for a board meeting in London from where you will head out to the US and return after a few days and immediately come to Abia to see me. So, what happened?
“Since this news filtered out, I’ve not been able to put my head down. I spoke to Peggy who was broken but strong. I refused to believe. Many others confirmed but they were also reporting other people. Then comes this call minutes ago from Sola Faleye, my younger friend whom you “acquired” as you took over Diamond Bank.
“You had severally shared how one of the best things about the acquisition of Diamond Bank was Sola. He was with you everywhere you went but alas, Sola was unreachable all throughout yesterday. For some reason, he had to step down from that ill-fated Chopper to accompany the luggage by road. His name remains on the manifest! It is now clear that you are no more!
“What do we tell Tochi and the little ones? Who will tell Mummy Stella and Daddy Shyngle who you celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary two years ago? How about those of us who have come to see you as part of life? Your dream Wigwe University which you told me was going to be the Harvard of Africa? Who will carry on with that dream? We had extensively talked about setting up a scholarship scheme to support brilliant but indigent students. Who will ensure that this dream is delivered?
“This death is too big a blow to me personally and all those that knew you closely. You were not only my friend but my brother. Your constant encouragement and sometimes insistence have been very helpful in a lot of decisions one took. Even in the most difficult moment, you were always there to share ideas. You always came from very unpopular perspectives, disagreeing with conventional wisdom. Your can-do spirit was infectious! You would prove book makers wrong, even with your “Mergers and Acquisition” mindset.
“I remember taking you up about 15 years ago quoting a research-based position that over 70% of mergers and acquisition destroy shareholder value. Your response was that Access Bank was in the 30% category!
“A few years ago, when a group of friends and I were working on a banking license, you drove to my house unannounced and insisted, “Alex, I’m glad you are working on a new bank, but I came to tell you that you should not run the bank. You have finished with banking; we need you in Abia and Abia needs you. We must get some of us that have the courage to go into public office, and you must remain there!” Since then, you have been consistent in your support.
“This is one of the saddest moments in my life. To worsen the situation, Chizoba and Chizzy who hardly fly with you were in that chopper. I’m still trying to make sense of the whole situation. I wish someone would wake me up and reassure me that this was a bad dream! But alas it is real.
“Good night my own brother Herbert!
“Good night, Chizoba!
“Good night, Chizzy!
“It is well with your souls.”