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AFCON finals: Peter Obi cancels Abidjan trip, mourns Herbert Wigwe, others



Peter Obi

The Labour Party LP’s presidential candidate for 2023, Peter Obi, has canceled a planned trip to Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, where he was supposed to see the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) football competition finals between Nigeria’s

On Sunday, Obi used his X handle to share his sorrow at the passing of his wife, son, and seasoned Nigerian banker Abimbola Ogunbanjo, as well as a close friend and Access Holdings chairman, Herbert Wigwe, who perished in a helicopter crash in California, USA, along with other victims.

The LP standard bearer, who was in office as governor of Anambra state from 2006 to 2014 and is well-known for being a fervent Super Eagles fan, was in Abidjan to watch the team during their quarterfinal matchup against Angola.

According to a statement from his media office, Obi decided to postpone the trip in remembrance of those who died in the disaster after learning of the helicopter crash. He had bought a return ticket and was scheduled to leave Nigeria by 1 pm on Sunday.

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).

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“As a result, Obi is in shock, and mourning and can no longer Tavel 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 disease in 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.”

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