In a rare Twitter post, yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, showered profound praises on his long-term business partner and friend – Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
According to the Access Bank boss, blood is not all there is to family. In other words, his relationship with Mr Aig-Imoukhuede has gone beyond friendship and business to familial.
Family isn’t always blood; it’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. Those who accept you for who you are, and stand by you whether it is convenient or not. pic.twitter.com/bZQPpYXL0H
— Herbert Wigwe, FCA (@HerbertOWigwe) March 5, 2019
The tweet is rare for many reasons, including its sentimental tone. And it is not all the time that we get to see high-profile business executives like Mr Wigwe go all out and sentimental in celebration of their friends and colleagues.
In all fairness, Mr Wigwe has every reason to be sentimental about his friend and “brother”. Their partnership goes way back and has facilitated the establishment of what is today one of Nigeria’s biggest (tier-1 banks).
Back to the beginning
The two men’s “corporate bromance” as we know it today dates back to the early 2000s when the Board of Access Bank Plc was trying to reposition the bank on the path to greatness. Both Wigwe and Aig-Imoukhuede were young and vibrant. And the two of them were at the forefront of actualising the all-important task of revitalising the bank.
In 2002, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was made the CEO of the bank. And with help from Mr Wigwe and other members of the management team, Access Bank Plc was transformed into a leading bank.
People doubted them
As you can expect, the task of building Access Bank Plc into what it is today couldn’t possibly have been an easy one. And the fact that people doubted the men in charge of the transformation effort couldn’t have made it any more difficult.
In December last year, the Access Bank CEO spoke about how people doubted them because they were young. Their partnership was not expected to last. And for that reason, some even refused to work with them on their projects. They didn’t know better.
Two brothers in business
This is not the first time Mr Wigwe is referring to Mr Aig-Imoukhuede as his brother. In the same interview mentioned above, he did the same.
“My partner and brother shared so much in common with me. His aspiration was the exact mirror of what I really wanted to do for myself. When the idea came up, it didn’t take one second for us to say, Let’s do it.”
In 2014, Herbert Wigwe took over from Mr Aig-Imoukhuede as the new CEO of Access Bank Plc. He has continued the task of positioning the bank for greatness, a typical example of which is the merger with Diamond Bank Plc which is expected to make the bank the biggest retail bank in Sub-Saharan Africa.