Kano Emir Deposition: Sanusi Credits Wigwe For Saving Family

The 14th Emir of Kano State, Mohammed Sanusi, shared his account of being deposed and having to depart from the state, highlighting the pivotal role played by the late Dr. Herbert Wigwe, former CEO of Access Bank Plc, in aiding him during that period.

Sanusi made this revelation during the night of tributes honoring Wigwe’s life and achievements, currently taking place in Lagos.

Reflecting on his journey with the late Wigwe, Sanusi, who was moved to tears three times, remembered how the banker stepped in to help when he was dethroned and in need of shelter for himself and his family.

He said, “When I had problems in Kano, I called him (Wigwe) about six months before I was to leave Kano, and I said to him, ‘Herbert I know you will give all your best to solve all these problems, but I am convinced that this is what is going to happen.’ And he said to me ‘Your Highness, don’t worry, whatever happens, don’t worry we are here for you.’

“On the day I heard on the radio that I was dethroned, the night before it happened, I called and said I wanted to come to Lagos. The announcement was made at about 9 am, and by noon, Herbert had a plane at the tarmac in Kano. I put my family on that plane, no message, no phone call, I put them on that plane. Herbert received them, put them in a hotel, and later got them accommodation for months.”

Sanusi disclosed that because of the kindness shown by Wigwe, there was a misconception that he was the proprietor of Access Bank, with Wigwe and Aig-Imoukhuede mistakenly perceived as his underlings.

“When I came we stayed there. Some people believe I own access bank and Aig and Herbert are fronting for me. They gave me the cars and the drivers, they gave me security and a private jet and they ask for nothing and they don’t talk about it. I have lived in Lagos for four years, the house my family lives in was provided by Herbert,” he said.

He added, “When I heard of his death, I said ‘In the coming weeks and months, people will get to know Herbert the human being’. They know him as a banker, as a businessman, they don’t know him as a human being. He was always about others, not about himself. You can’t imagine how one human being could have been so many things to so many people.”

Sanusi shared the story of entrusting his life savings to Wigwe, explaining that he did so because he anticipated his own demise before Wigwe’s.

“About two years ago, I put all my savings into a Trust for the education of my children, I have many and my priority as a father is to make sure that when I pass away, they will have a good education.

“I told Herbert, ‘I am placing you in charge of this Trust for the education of my children because I know that even if I die and do not leave any money, you will educate my children.

“I thought I would die before Herbert”, he revealed.

Sanusi, visibly emotional and consoled by Abia State Governor Alex Otti, Aig-Imoukhuede, and an aide, struggled to contain his tears. He further emphasized that due to the immense kindness shown to him by Wigwe, there was a misconception that he owned Access Bank, with Wigwe and Aig-Imoukhuede being perceived as his representatives.

Read also: Emotional Dangote Names Refinery Road After Wigwe

“On the day before this happened, I was on a chat group when somebody made a few remarks about Herbert that I found offensive and I defended Herbert. I made my point very clear that this was unacceptable.

“A few days after Herbert died; a friend called me and sent me a message. He sent a message to Herbert at about 3:20 am that morning (the day of the crash), telling him how I had stood up and defended him and forwarded my entire message to him. ‘Herbert replied at 3:28 am with one word ‘unbelievable’. He sent another message at 3:50 which was not delivered. From the presentation from the air traffic controllers, the crash happened at 3:30. So possibly, the last thing Herbert read was my message talking about him,” he added.

In the same vein, Vice President Kashim Shetimma also paid glowing tribute to Wigwe.

Delivering his speech, titled, “Herbert Wigwe: The Flower That Bloomed Before Spring,” the VP said, “Herbert, though an early bloomer in the garden of life, didn’t share the fate of those who faded away prematurely.

“Their achievements were not just individual triumphs but testaments to the collective strength of those they touched, those they built, and those they inspired. The journey of our departed brothers and sisters may have ended in a distant land, but their spirits linger in the hearts of everyone here and beyond.

“May Herbert’s legacy continue to bloom in the hearts and minds of those who strive for greatness. Herbert left us in winter, far away from home. Herbert, the season of bloom. Spring had just arrived at his last location in the United States when the Lord called for him. But spring is not a symbol of Herbert’s bloom. His spring for us isn’t the spring of passive flowers. It is the season of raves. This spring for us isn’t a season of tears. It is a celebration of Herbert’s flight. To a height that only a few of God’s children once have attained.

“I feel privileged to be here today to share in the memories of Herbert and the pillars of his journey was defined by peculiar seasons. He bloomed long before his co-travellers. So this home that left with him

“Today, we honour not just the soul that boarded that fateful helicopter, but the indomitable dreamers and builders that soared to heights reserved for the chosen few. Your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may Herbert’s legacy continue to bloom in the hearts and minds of those who strive for greatness.

“On behalf of my principal, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Access family, the banking world, and the Nigerian nation, please accept our most heartfelt condolences. May his soul rest in peace, Amen.”

Africa Today News, New York, broke the news of Wigwe’s untimely demise in a helicopter crash near the Nevada border in California, along with his wife Doreen, son Chizzy, and former Managing Director of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Africa Today News, New York

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