Herbert Wigwe’s Death And The Black Box Metaphor

Herbert Wigwe’s Death And The Black Box Metaphor

By Clem  Asika

As an inquisitive teenager growing up, I had always wondered why a certain black box was so important in an aeroplane that it was frantically searched for.

I thus considered as funny, the frenzy with which the aviation authorities world over searched for it when an aircraft crashed.

What is so special about this mystery black box? 

Why can’t these people just buy a box of any colour and then paint it black as a replacement for the missing one they always search for whenever there is a plane crash? My callow mind would always wander and wallow in wonderment back then!

Well, it wasn’t long before I got to know that a black box is a compendium of all that transpired in a plane shortly before a crash.

In a nutshell, it gives Aviators an insight into the cause of a crash or factors that lead to it.

This brings me to the tragic and heart-rending death, in a helicopter crash of our dear brother, Herbert Wigwe, his wife, Chizoba and son, Chizzy, in a faraway United States.

Before the unfortunate incident, Wigwe was one of Nigeria’s corporate Lords, a banking guru who sits atop Access Bank Holding as CEO.

As I watched tears cascade freely down the cheeks of the high and mighty in the society during Wigwe’s burial rites, I immediately remembered the black box enigma, the aura around it and the significance it commands in the aviation world.

Yes, Wigwe and death, the grim reaper that snatched him away and dealt an excruciating blow to his family, friends and business associates, are metaphors for a black box.

According to John Donne, the legendary English poet, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind”, so the overflow of emotions at Wigwe’s funeral was natural.  It is only a non-living thing that will be unfeeling and unfazed in the face of such monumental loss.

But then, this uncomfortable truth:  *It was possible that many high flyers,  men and women of timber and calibre,  to borrow the late KO Mbadiwe’s phrase,  who wept generously at the late Access Bank boss’ funeral did so not necessarily because his death shattered them or because they love him but because he was their black box and his death and burial meant that the black box went with him to the grave,  never to be found or recovered!*

Wigwe as a black box???

Yes!  And this is how and why: Slush funds and funds amassed under hazy circumstances may be sitting pretty good in Wigwe’s Access Bank (of course, without him knowing the source of such funds) and with the late financial wizard the only person with the code to the location of such funds.

If before he died, he didn’t disclose the code for retrieving such funds to anyone, what it therefore means is that the funds, like a piece of information in a crashed aircraft’s black box which was never recovered, have gone with the wind, lost forever hence the free flow of tears of the owners at his funeral! 

You can now see the nexus or analogy between Wigwe’s death and a black box.

Former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor and former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi was one of the “weepers” at Wigwe’s funeral. Is he one of those affected by the loss of the “black box”? 

*No one knows but there is a viral rumour that he is a part owner of Access Bank.*

Also, by his admission, he entrusted his entire life savings in the care of Wigwe which he claimed was for the education of his children for he believed he would die before the late Access Bank boss.

And talking about Sanusi, the ex-Emir’s opaque past flashes through the minds.

Sanusi’s tears at Wigwe’s funeral, his effusive words of love for Wigwe, his kind words for the departed banker, and his glowing tribute for him contrast sharply with his controversial persona.

*When Sanusi and his paid agents talk glibly about building bridges and about his chummy relationship with the late Wigwe, an Igboman from Rivers, and how the latter stood by him when he was dethroned as an Emir, the late Gideon Akaluka, the young Igbo trader who was in 1995 beheaded by a band of Wahabist Islamic fundamentalists allegedly led by Sanusi for alleged discretion of the Koran,  will probably turn in his grave with indignation.*

How come Sanusi is now posturing as a pan-Nigerian and a broad-minded fellow weaned of Islamic fundamentalism and ethnocentric tendencies?

If indeed he has been bleached of the above toxic tendencies by the effluxion of time, then he should quickly explain to Akaluka’s family why their son deserved the cruel fate visited on him by him and his murderous gang of Wahabists.

*Similarly, if Sanusi has indeed weaned himself from an ethnoreligious and narrow parochial mindset as he demonstrated by his eulogy and tears at Wigwe’s funeral, then I think the family of Rita Oruru deserves not only a public apology from the dethroned Emir but a compensation for the trauma he caused them via his rabid Islamic zealotry. *

Rita Ese Oruru, do you remember her and her pathetic abduction and forceful conversion to Islam under the superintendence of Sanusi as the Emir of Kano?

Rita’s story is still fresh and leaves a deep hurt in the hearts: The abduction of Ese Rita Oruru, the youngest child of Charles Oruru and Rose Oruru, occurred on 12 August 2015 at her mother’s shop in Yenagoa local government area, Bayelsa State.

Ese, who was 13 years old at the time, was abducted by a man named Yunusa Dahiru (alias Yellow) and taken to Kano, where she was raped, forcibly Islamized and married off without her parents’ consent.

The forced conversion and marriage took place in the palace of the then Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Similarly, Southern Nigeria deserves an apology from ex Emir Sanusi for his sectional inclination while he held sway as the CBN Governor.

Recall that as the Governor of the apex bank, Sanusi brazenly cited all the Social Corporate Responsibility interventions of the apex bank in the North.

Meanwhile, for Sanusi and his likes who may have lost a precious black box by Wigwe’s untimely and tragic death, I say ndo, pele, sorry.  Such is life take heart!

 *Asika writes from Ibusa, Delta State* .

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