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If There’s Nothing In Political Struggle, Don’t Struggle, Akpabio Replies Fubara At Wigwes’ Funeral

Fubara had said, “What is this struggle all about? …with all the power financially, (Wigwe) couldn’t control life.”

Nigeria’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, told the governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, that if there is nothing in the struggle for politics, he (Fubara) should remove himself from the acclaimed struggle.

Akpabio stated this during his speech and tribute at the funeral of the former CEO of Access Bank and banking icon, Herbert Wigwe, in response to Fubara’s comment directed to the political class who attended Wigwe’s funeral.

The River’s State governor, during his speech at the funeral service, had said, “What is this struggle all about? You want to kill, you want to bury, what is it all about? This is a man, he’s not a politician. He made his money through us, our investments. 

“He has the world in his palm financially. He controls even the political classes. But today, with all the power financially, couldn’t control life.

“Is it not enough today to ask ourselves why are we struggling? Why are we not making impact in the life of our people? Please, political class, let’s go home with that question, and be answering it in our minds, and reflecting it in what we do.”

In response, Akpabio, while mourning Wigwe, said, “We’re not going to cry in one day alone, we’ll cry so many days. When you look at the university, you will cry. When you pass through his personal house and edifice, you will cry. Any of the Access Bank branches worldwide, whether the one in Dubai, or whether the one in Kenya or anywhere, you will cry. The children that he touched, those that he sent to school and the lives he touched, when they are talking about it and they mention his name, you will cry.

“Then you will ask yourself, just like Governor Fubara said, what is the struggle all about? Your excellency, Governor Fubara, if there is nothing in the struggle, don’t struggle.”

Eulogizing Wigwe, Akpabio said, “Herbert was an iconic person; he was a people’s person. I believe he was a friend and a brother to all that came across him.”

Herbert Wigwe, along with his wife, Chizoba, and son, Chizi, have been laid to rest in a private interment in their hometown of Omueke, Isiokpo, Rivers State.

The funeral followed a week-long series of funeral rites honouring the life of the banking executive and his family.

The funeral service, which commenced some minutes past 11am, drew mourners from various spheres, including friends, associates, and well-wishers from both local and international communities.

 Notable figures present at the service included Nigeria’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, and the Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri.

The funeral also had the presence of top dignitaries such as HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, business leader Aliko Dangote, Chairman THISDAY-ARISE Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, Nigerian banker and Wigwe’s partner, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Investment banker and entrepreneur, Atedo Peterside, Gilbert Chagoury, Tunde Folawiyo, Afreximbank President  Benedict Oramah among others.

Also, two former governors of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and Celestine Omehia, former Senate President Bukola, Saraki, former Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, and Nigerian Senator Ibrahim Dankwambo, were present at the service.

The tragic incident that claimed the lives of Herbert Wigwe, his wife, and son occurred when the Airbus Helicopter EC 130B4 they were on crashed near Halloran Springs, California, on February 9, 2024. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined, with a preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicating that the chopper was seen as a “fireball” by witnesses before crashing. The weather on the day of the incident was reported to be a mix of rain and snow.

Throughout the funeral events, tributes were paid by numerous friends, captains of industry, family members, and associates to honour the late banking guru.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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