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Atedo Peterside: Wigwe made himself accessible to many young people

Atedo Peterside: Wigwe made himself accessible to many young people
February 12
15:48 2024

Atedo Peterside, founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, says Herbert Wigwe, the group chief executive officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc, was a visionary leader who invested in young people. 

Wigwe, his wife and son, as well as Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), died in a helicopter crash in California on Saturday.

Speaking on Monday when he featured on The Morning Show, a programme on Arise TV, Peterside said Wigwe was a “giver, doer, mentor”.

Peterside said unlike many rich people who are not accessible, Wigwe availed himself to young people, impacting their lives positively.

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“When you’re a giver, it is not just resources. More and more young people will come out telling you how Herbert helped to mentor them,” Peterside said.

“Some people are wealthy and nobody can reach them on their phones. They disconnect themselves from society. They even insulate themselves and put a barrier. Herbert was reachable by several young people.

“All sorts of people say he found time for us. Why did he find time for them? That’s him. He was a giver, doer, visionary, and philanthropist.”

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Peterside also spoke on Wigwe’s dream to establish a world-class university, highlighting the plans he had put in place.

Wigwe University was his latest passion. He was at my house this year, we discussed the university. He was clear. He wanted a world-class institution in Nigeria,” he said.

“Some people might think but he did not bring that dream into reality. It depends on what you think the purpose of somebody is.

“I think the most important thing about the university was to conceive the idea, choose the location and then choose the partners.

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“He chose various people to work with him on that university, and even created evidence. Some of them are on video. So there is no need to even argue. Who were the people he chose?

“Can you see that if you have a dream and you chose no team there is a problem? If you have a dream, you lay the foundation, you chose the location, and you choose the people — the building blocks are there for it to continue. Even in my family, Herbert didn’t choose me, he chose my first child to be on the board of that university.

“Everything Herbert did was for a reason. I never asked him why. I now see that it is almost as if the purpose of his life was not just to build a bank, but to build a bank, pull resources from there, develop bigger ideas, focus on where he thought he would make a major contribution in terms of showing us the path.

“So there is no argument as to name, location, even some employees are there already. That team that he put together, my guess is that they will even be more committed now than if he was alive. Because they now realise that it is a phenomenal trust. He put them in a position of trust.”

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Peterside said if the vision of the university succeeds, other Nigerians will follow the dream.

“What is the significance of him doing all that for Nigeria? You and I know that Nigeria does not have a world class institution,” he added.

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“If he succeeded in bringing that idea in Rivers state, there is a possibility that others will replicate.”

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