Take away the distraction of 2016 when he was invited by the Nigeria’s anti-graft body, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clear his name and his bank which he did with the precision expected of a first-rated banker, Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe has left no one in doubt that he is one of Nigeria’s influential bankers. As a co-founder and current CEO of Access Bank Plc, Wigwe understands and helps drive the financial institution’s Corporate Social Responsibility philosophy to sustainability with respect to specific environmental and social issues that are of interest to the bank’s stakeholder groups. On the other hand, as a wealthy private individual, he has quietly stepped up his commitment to philanthropy, pouring significant fortunes into causes such as youth empowerment, malaria eradication and prostate cancer awareness campaign -and he is doing so well, away from the sort of limelight his counterparts often enjoy.
Wigwe believes that philanthropy is in broad terms about taking money from those that have lots and putting it to use for the benefit of those that have very little.To this effect, this handsome banker floated his own foundation, which he calls ‘The HOW Foundation’. Amid the flurry of activities, Wiwge’s foundation, founded in July 2016, has in less than a year already making its mark in Nigeria. The latest was its involvement as one of the principal sponsors of the just concluded Season 7 of God’s Children Great Talent, a Christian talent competition organised by the City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). The winner of that competition was rewarded with a mouth-watering N10million cash prize and N250 million management deal.
A well-behaved corporate maestro, 51-year-old Wiwge is the son of highly respected Shyngle Wigwe, a retired director-general of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA. He is an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme and holds a Master degree in Banking and International Finance from the University College of North Wales; a Master degree in Financial Economics from the University of London and a B.Sc. degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.