Earlier this year, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede released a book titled: Leaving the Tarmac: Buying A Bank in Nigeria. On May 6 2021, he granted an interview to the Group Publisher of African Banker Magazine, Omar Ben Yedder, to share insights on his life’s journey and career.
Nairametrics has recently featured reviews on the banking titan’s new book which you can read here and here. In this article, however, we share excerpts of Aig-Imoukhuede’s interview with Omar Ben Yedder of the African Banker Magazine.
Meet Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was the former Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Coronation Capital Limited and its affiliates, Coronation Asset Management Ltd and Trium Ltd.
Aigboje started his career as a lawyer before branching off into the banking sector. His banking career saw him ascend to the role of Executive Director at Guarantee Trust Bank, from where he ventured out to lead the acquisition of Acess Bank in 2002.
On why he wrote the book
Aigboje stated that it is quite unfortunate that the African business scene does not have many Unicorn stories. He went on to explain that he wrote the book to kickstart a culture of Africans telling their own stories. He believes that Africans are capable of producing the same results as their counterparts across the world when given the opportunity. By writing this book, he hoped to challenge Africans to step up and make history.
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On how he managed to buy Access Bank
Aigboje described his mental preparation for the moment when he bought Access Bank in 2002. He stressed that the most important aspect of leadership is preparation and advised young Africans to always give their best at all times wherever they find themselves.
On his relationship with his successor, Herbert Wigwe
Aigboje described his exceptional relationship with his successor, Herbert Wigwe, who he believes shares a lot in common with him. He explained how they both share the same views when it comes to problem-solving and how they share similar childhood experiences coming from modest civil service backgrounds.
He stressed how competency and friendship helped shape the decision to bring his successor Hebert Wigwe on board. He had a great partnership experience with his successor and he is never in doubt of Wigwe’s competence.
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On fighting mediocrity in the Nigerian space
Aigboje explained his passion to return Nigeria to what it was when he was growing up. He explained what he believed to be troubling the Nigerian system.
In his opinion, Nigeria, during the days of the British Administration prioritized the Civil Service at the same level as the Government. That is clearly not the case today. He stressed gross underinvestment in the welfare and development of civil servants as the elephant in the room on this issue.
He reiterated the glory days of Nigeria when its soldiers were revered across the continent and her government schools were top-notch. He blamed corruption for driving Nigerian standards into the mud and prescribed that Nigeria return to its standards during British rule.
On his philanthropic efforts
Aigboje is the Founder and Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance, an independent non-profit that promotes good governance in Africa. The Foundation partners with Oxford University School of Government for scholarships that send qualified African senior public servants to the university for Master of Public Policy degrees and Fellowships.
What you should know
- Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede’s new book reveals how the creation of Access Bank resulted in spreading prosperity for thousands.
- The book received accolades from prominent Nigerians like Amina J Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; Atedo Peterside, Founder of Stanbic IBTC and board member Standard Bank of South Africa; Aliko Dangote, Founder & President of the Dangote Group; Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, Africa Development Bank and Nigerian Minister of Agriculture (2010–2015); Muhammad Sanusi II, CON, 14th Emir of Kano & Governor, Central bank of Nigeria (2009–2014).