The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has cancelled a scheduled trip to Abidjan, the capital city of Côte d’Ivoire where he was to watch the finals of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Football tournament, between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Ivorian Elephants.
Obi, took to his X handle on Sunday to express sadness over the death of a close friend and Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, his wife, son and a seasoned Nigerian banker, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, who died along with others in a helicopter crash in California, the United States.
The LP standard bearer who is known to be a staunch supporter of the Super Eagles from his days as Governor of Anambra state (2006-2014), was in Abidjan to cheer the Eagles to victory during their quarter-final match against Angola.
A statement from his Media Office said, Obi had purchased a return ticket and was to depart Nigeria by 1 pm Sunday when news of the helicopter crash reached him and he took the decision to cancel the trip in honour of those killed in the tragedy.
According to the Office, “Obi’s love for football dates back to his days as a student at Christ the King College, CKC, Onitsha during which he was also an ardent supporter of Rangers International of Enugu and the old Green Eagles.
“As a Governor he further demonstrated his love for the game when he renamed the Onitsha township stadium in Fagge, Onitsha after the first National team Captain Godwin Achebe.
“But he will not watch the epic match today following a helicopter crash in California, USA on Saturday that killed two Nigerian seasoned bankers, a sector Obi professionally belongs, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, his wife and son, and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group).
“As a result, Obi is in shock, and mourning and can no longer travel to Abidjan as already scheduled but his heart remains with the boys as he wishes them victory to bring home the trophy.
“Writing about the deceased on his X handle, Obi said “I’m deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, along with his wife and son, and another close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of NGX Group. This loss is profoundly felt across the nation.
“I first met Herbert during his early days, on the brink of starting his marital journey. I vividly remember assisting him in preparing for his traditional wedding and being there for the ceremony with his wife, Chizoba, from Achina, Anambra State.
‘Since then, I’ve maintained a connection to his endeavors in my own modest ways.
“Herbert, a determined and forward-thinking individual, led Access Bank to new heights following his brother Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
“His noteworthy contributions extended beyond the professional realm, with commendable philanthropic efforts in health and education, exemplified by the establishment of Wigwe University, showcasing his deep commitment to education as a driver of development.
“The loss of such an exceptional individual reminds us of life’s fleeting nature, encouraging us to live with a purpose that contributes to the betterment of humanity.
“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Herbert, his beloved wife, his son, and all those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash.
‘May God grant them eternal rest and provide strength to Herbert’s family, Access Holdings, and all of us mourning this irreplaceable loss.”