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Nigeria’s Champions of Infrastructure on Parade



2023 Presidency: Amaechi, Akpabio, Onu, Nwajiuba resign from Buhari's cabinet

By Laolu Ayoola, Bayo Obajemu, Emeka Ejere and Obinna Ezugwu

These technocrats, business leaders and politicians differed in orientation, status, personality and background, but they are currently playing a big part in building a new Nigeria.

Before their individual interventions, the nation has had a challenge of infrastructural development, despite it having a population of over 200 million and abundant natural resources, including miles of arable land, huge deposits of minerals, crude oil and natural gas reserves, as well as an estimated GDP of over $442.976 billion (2020).

From Ikeja, to Port Harcourt, Owerri, Aba, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan, Calabar and many other Nigerian cities and towns, the landscape was littered with hundreds of failed infrastructural projects.

Vital utilities like power plants, transmission grids, hospitals, roads, railway lines, schools, seaports and airports that would have spurred economic and social growth were virtually decayed and needed repair or total replacement.

Knowing fully well that infrastructural development is crucial to Nigeria’s economic growth, particularly for the realization of the federal government’s economic diversification agenda, these individuals set out to work.
With a view to stem the tide, the gladiators set about the task of bridging the infrastructure deficit. And in a spate of six years, the nation has become a huge construction site.

The hitherto epileptic and weak power infrastructure is today up and running, derelict and out of commissioned hospitals and schools are now wearing new look, many unmotorable and treacherous highways are now paved and pleasurable to drive on, abandoned and unserviceable railway lines have been restored, and are now conveying Nigerians to their desired destinations, while bridges that connect cities and towns, particularly the 2nd Niger Bridge are daily sprouting up to the admiration of many Nigerians.

The faces behind these transformations are not angels, but mortal beings. They are not expatriates but fellow Nigerians who have largely succeeded where others failed.

In this special edition, Business Hallmark is unveiling the faces behind the masks. The list of Champions of infrastructure in no particular order is made of former Governor of Rivers State and incumbent Minister of Transportation, RT. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission ((NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta.

Also on the list are Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Governor Dave Umahi, of Ebonyi State

Without their selfless commitments and efforts, there might not have been a remarkable improvement in infrastructure development, with the nation waiting for yet another season of redemption.

BOSS MUSTAPHA: An efficient and effective organiser

Boss Mustapha, SGF


It is said that difficult situations and circumstances do bring out the best in men. This indeed has been the lot of His Excellency, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Gida Mustapha, Esq.

Soft-spoken and unassuming, but indeed most cerebral and professional, when the incidence of COVID-19 broke out and the Federal Government had to set up a team to plot, streamline and execute the Nigerian Governments response to the crisis, it was this man of steel and candour that the onus now rested to coordinate the effort. And it is testimony to his solid sense of leadership and commitment that he has been able to most successfully lead the team on to achieving the quite impressive records that have been seen this far.

Mustapha earned his Bachelor of Law (LLB) from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and was called to bar in 1980. After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme at the Directorate of Legal Services in the Army Headquarters, his work life has seen him at Sotesa Nigeria Limited, an Italian consultancy firm, where he was Executive Director, Administration, Counsel in the prestigious law firm Messrs Onagoruwa & Co and Principal Counsel in the firm Messrs Mustapha & Associates. He has served as Social Secretary and Chairman at the Yola Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), and later as a member of the National Executive Committee. He has also been a member of the Body of Benchers and member of the Committee on the Reform of the Judiciary in the defunct Gongola State.

In the public arena, he served as an Executive Member of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), from 2000 to 2007, and was thereafter appointed Principal Partner of the law firm, Adroit Lex & Co.
On the political turf, Mustapha has actively contributed towards the growth of our democracy and democratic institutions. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1988 and the 2005 National Political Reform Conference. He has been State Chairman, Peoples Solidarity Party and Social Democratic Party in Gongola State and gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa State in 1991. He was Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Founding member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and member, APC Board of Trustees.

In June 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). In nine months of his appointment, he led NIWA to generate three times the revenue it usually generates in one year. It was from here that he was appointed as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.


Minister of Transport, RT. HON. ROTIMi CHIBUIKE AMAECHI: Silent political actor with great influence

Within six years of assuming office as minister in November 2015, Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Nigeria, RT. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has emerged one of the most colourful and energetic public office holders in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Born on 27 May 1965 in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State to the family of the late Elder Fidelis Amaechi and Mary Amaechi, Mr. Amaechi has been an active politician for more than three decades, serving as Rivers State governor from 2007-2014, and holding a number of government positions in different offices, including Secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State from 1992 to 1994 and Rivers State’s Secretary of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) caretaker committee in 1996;
He was Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003 and the Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies for two terms. He was also Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum from 2011-2015.

As Rivers State Governor, Mr. Amaechi executed infrastructure projects like construction of roads, hospitals, schools and modernization of transportation services.
Among the projects is the iconic monorail project which was developed to provide mass transportation within Port Harcourt, as well as power plant projects at Afam, Trans Amadi, and Onne to improve the states power supply. Impressed by these strides, grateful Rivers people nicknamed him ‘Mr. Infrastructure’.
It was therefore not a surprise when President Buhari gave him the transportation portfolio in 2015 and 2019 to drive his grand and ambitious infrastructure development agenda, a task he set out to undertake with zeal and vigour.

Under his watch, the 156 kilometre LagosIbadan corridor of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge project was recently completed and already in use. Also, the 1435mm gauge North-South railway linking Itakpe, Ajaokuta and Warri has been formally opened for commercial operation, following its inauguration by the president in 2020.

As part of the wider vision, Mr. Amaechi has secured cabinet approval to start work on new lines linking Port Harcourt with Maiduguri.
In recognition of his numerous achievements, he has won several awards, including the Blueprint Newspapers Award for his contribution to the rail development and building of the first monorail system in Sub-Sahara Africa 2018; Polo Stallion Star Awards for his revolutionary approach in the transportation sector of Nigeria 2019; Ministerial Award for Mass Transportation Infrastructure Development at the National Tourism Transport Summit and Expo 2019 and National honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
His achievements also include safer Nigerian waterways, as well as the improvement of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the area of regulation.
Given his antecedents in Rivers State and current strides as transportation minister, Mr. Amaechi’s profile over the past year has seen him emerge as one of most famous public officers in the Nigerian system and therefore a national leader in his own right.
Rotimi Amaechi is married to Judith Amaechi, and they are blessed with three boys.

Babatunde Fashola: An administrator per excellence


Babatunde Fashola, Minister for Power, Works and Housing

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN , is an erudite lawyer and current Federal Minister of Works and Housing. He served two terms as Governor of Lagos State from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015.

He was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in November 1988 after completing the professional training programme at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos which he undertook between 1987 and 1988.

His legal career of over one and a half decades, commenced in the law Firm of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe and Belgore, where he cut his legal teeth as a litigator over such wide-ranging areas of specialisation such as, intellectual property (registration of trade marks), commercial law, covering general contracts, company activities, mergers, acquisitions, right issues, ownership of shares and equity of corporations, as well as land disputes, criminal law and chieftaincy matters, in all of which he has come to acquire appreciable expertise and vast experience.

Fashola, a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has been variously honoured with awards and certificates of merit including the Distinguished Alumnus Award conferred on him by the University of Benin Alumni Association in recognition of contributions to the Alumnus association and humanity.

He is also a recipient of Lagos State public service club Platinum Award for outstanding contribution towards development. As well as Alliance for Democracy ” Igbogbo Bayeku Local Government Award” in recognition of activities towards the success of the party.

Babatunde Fashola is also a Patron of the Law Students Association of the University of Benin and he is the second law graduate from the University of Benin and the first member of the Nigerian Law School graduating class of 1988 to be conferred with the professional rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Fashola is also the First ever Chief of Staff to be so honoured. Babatunde Fashola is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

Fashola was Chief of Staff to his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Fashola, had during his tenure as Chief of Staff, also dubbed as the Honourable Commissioner to the Governor’s office. Fashola was the first person to hold both offices simultaneously.

He also served in Lagos state in various capacities, including:

Secretary of the Lands Sub-Committee of the Transitional Work Groups- 1999.
Member of the panel of Enquiry into allocation of houses on the Mobolaji Johnson Housing Scheme at Lekki.- 2000.
Member of the State Tenders Board- 2002 2006.
Member of the Lagos State Executive Council-2002-2006.
Member of the State Security Council-2002-2006
Member of the State Treasury Board-2002-2006
Chairman Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of Asset distribution among Local Government.


Fashola is the first and arguably the best of the technocrats turned politician to utilize politics for public good in contemporary Nigeria.

As a candidate of the Action Congress party, now known as the All Progressives Congress, Fashola succeeded Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on 14 April 2007, and was sworn in as Lagos State governor on 29 May 2007.Fashola was re-elected on 26 April 2011.

On account of his sterling performance as governor of Lagos State, on November 11th 2015, he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing; he was reappointed Minister of Works & Housing on 21 August 2019.

Fashola was born in Lagos on 28 June 1963. He attended Birch Freeman High school Lagos and Igbobi College Lagos. He studied Law at the University of Benin from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B.(Hon), degree in 1987.

Fashola is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

Fashola, had during his tenure as Chief of Staff, also dubbed as the Honourable Commissioner to the Governor’s office. Babatunde Fashola was the first person to hold both offices simultaneously.

Governor of Lagos state
Babatunde Raji Fashola commenced a four-year tenure as the Executive Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria on 29 May 2007.

According to The Tribune Newspaper, Babatunde Raji Fashola remains a reference point in 21st century Governance.

He is widely considered one of best governors since the return of democracy in 1999.

Babatunde Fashola during his term as governor saw to the successful overhaul of the tax collection system in Lagos that successfully increased revenue for the state and indirectly financed various other reforms. He secured public support for the overhaul after revealing the corruption in the previous tax agency through an orchestrated, public sting operation, which revealed that corrupt officials sold fraudulent tax documents on the street.

He replaced the old tax agency with a smaller internal revenue service staffed by no-contract employees governed by performance incentives rather than state civil-service workers. The new service better enforced existing tax requirements and expanded the taxpayer base by introducing a simplified, single-page tax form for informal businesses.
He introduced so many innovations to governance, increased the State’s infrastructure. He embarked on gigantic construction program that changed the face and landscape of the state, and is highly regarded as the architect of modern Lagos.

Fashola was born 28 June 1963, and married with children to Dame Abimbola Fashola

Lai Mohammed: An efficient communicator with gift of garb

Lai Mohammed

Alhaji Lai Mohammed

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To many, Alhaji Layiwola Mohammed is a complex man, this is on account of his differing interpretation of his role and duty depending on the side of the political divide he finds himself.
As an opposition information manager, he employed psychological warfare, propaganda and modern tool of influencing public opinion to deliver on his duty with ruthless efficiency, and the ruling APC owed its success in part to Mohammed’s standing as an efficient communicator.

As minister of information, he has deployed his skills to manage the information ministry and sell Buhari’s programs to local and international public.

A lawyer by training, and former National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress.

As a practicing Lawyer, Alhaji Lai Mohammed co-founded the legal firm of Edu & Mohammed as a Senior Partner in 1989.


He was born into the family of Alhaji Mohammed Adekeye in 1952. He is a native of Oro in Kwara State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Obafemi Awolowo University, in  1975. He then proceeded to obtain a law degree from the University of Lagos, and then Nigerian Law School in 1986.

Mohammed is an astute businessman and served as the Chairman of Optmedia Limited, a subsidiary of Afromedia Plc since 18 December 2008.

He served as a Director of Afromedia PLC since May 2011 and is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and had previously worked as Public Relations Officer for almost 10 years with the Nigerian Airport Authority, now Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

In October 2002, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was a candidate for governor in the April 2003 Kwara State elections on the Alliance for Democracy platform. He was assaulted and five vehicles in his convoy were smashed in front of Senator Suleiman Ajadi’s campaign office at Oke-Onigbin during a festivity.  But he has had huge following in his native Kwara State, and widely considered one of the most effective and brilliant image makers the country has ever produced.

He served as Governor Tinubu’s Chief of Staff during his first term.

Lai Mohammed is an active politician and has been accused by some local and international news about giving contradictory accounts of events in his country.

The truth is that as government’s image maker, he is bound to make enemies, but one thing that even his detractors can not deny is his competence and brilliance, his wide canvas and rich repertoire of knowledge of the country, and his ability to connect with events and situation.

He had accused CNN of being “desperate”, after the international media released several footages, to prove the massacre of the protesters at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos, Nigeria.

He is one of the most astute and competent information ministers, and in the course of his career, he has displayed  wide knowledge and understanding of his country’s convoluted politics.

In a recent interview, Mohammed,  said calls for secession in some quarters in Nigeria was unacceptable.

Mohammed, however, said it was rational and ideal for citizens to call for restructuring and true federalism, adding that whatever challenges facing the country can be overcome.

While it is alright for citizens to call for restructuring and true federalism, what is not acceptable is the call in certain quarters for secession.

Whatever challenges we have today as a nation, can and will be surmounted. In fact, the Federal Government had set in motion the necessary machinery to tackle the challenge of insecurity.

We should therefore not allow todays challenges, whether in the area of economy or security, to jeopardise our unity, he said.

That task has never been more urgent than now against the background of discordant voices in the country and calls for separation.

He stated that he wanted everybody to be  partner in the governments effort to douse the tension in the land and beat the drum of unity rather than the drum of war.


He added that everyone should raise voice against those fanning the embers of disunity and discord in the country. Without a country that is peaceful and secured, there can be no development.

This administration is doing everything possible to return peace and security across the country, the minister said.

Many Nigerians will not forget in hurry the role played by Mohammed in the defeat of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2015 general election that brought in the Buhari administration.

The man who took charge of the realm of communicating what the APC wanted to say was no other than  Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC who would surely go down in history as the competent explainer-in-chief. It was Lai Mohammed’s lot to define the then ruling party to the Nigerian voter in ways that would make its rejection a forgone conclusion. Lai Mohammed went about this job with the kind of fiery passion that sometimes got him bogged down in the murky waters of partisan debates. The then ruling party was quick to play on the sound of his first name to give the impression that he was full of lies against a performing government. He was also taken to task when he attempted to create a different narrative at the time the government was making progress in its onslaught against terrorists in the North East.

Mohammed’s critics insist that on national security, especially where the lives of Nigerians were involved, the then opposition spokesman should have been a little more restrained.

The knocks notwithstanding, Mohammed acquitted himself as a vibrant and effective opposition spokesman. In a challenging environment like Nigeria and considering the clout of the government in power, the role of the opposition is made much more difficult. But Lai Mohammed understood his environment. He leveraged on the power of constant messaging to shape perceptions. He gave the government sleepless nights by outplaying them in all departments. His strategy was to make any discussion a referendum on the performance of the government. Doing so meant that the contradictions within his own camp were not well scrutinized. Considering issue based attacks as the best form of defence, Mohammed was constantly on the offensive against the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. It is to the credit of Lai Mohammed that the tag of cluelessness became one of the albatross that Jonathan as President struggled to shake off. In the realm of strategy too, Lai Mohammed was light years ahead of the then ruling party and even the Presidencys communications team.

While some would argue that as opposition spokesman, he was free from the responsibility of communicating in a nuanced and balanced way, the reality is that the APC spokesman understood that to have the upper hand, he had to pin the ruling party to the ropes all the time. And he did so brilliantly, so much that the Jonathan Presidency with all the resources at the disposal of its communications team was constantly on the back foot reeling from the hammer blows delivered by Mohammed.

On the front lines of the media war, things became so pathetic for the Jonathan Presidency that it could no longer speak with the confidence and authority of the government in power. Hurried responses to allegations lobbed at it by the opposition became the governments sole response as it huffed and puffed, but failed to find a lasting answer to Mohammeds strident onslaughts.

Sirika Hadi: Aeronautics expert in charge of aviation

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika

Hadi Sirika

To many in Nigeria, Senator Sirika Hadi is just a run of the mill politician, whose appointment as aviation minister is typical of one well connected.

Far from it, Hadi has had the best education available in the aviation world , having studied at the prestigious Petroleum Helicopters institute in USA, Flight Safety International, USA and Delta Aeronautics, United States of America, where he honed his aviation skills and developed his extensive knowledge of the industry.
Thus far from political, his appointment as aviation minister was a question of proverbial round peg in a round hole.

He is a former Member House of Representative, and assumed the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2011, where he represents Katsina North Senatorial District under the platform of Congress for Progressive Change. Sirika held the position of (Vice-Chairman) of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Committee set by the Nigerian Senate.

In 2003, Hadi was elected into the Federal House of Representative and he left office in 2007. Had was again re-elected to represent Kastina North in the Nigerian Senate under the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011 elections.

While in the Senate, Hadi Sirika was the portal vice chairman; Millennium Developmemt Goal (MDG) and a member of the Senate Committee on Aviation. He also served in a number of different committees in the Senate.

In the early 2015, Hadi became a member of the newly born party APC, after a merger which brought about the All Progressive Congress (APC). Hadi announced in the same year that, Muhammadu Buhari have been convinced to run for the presidential seat in the 2015 general Elections under the banner of the APC.

After the Muhammadu Buhari emerged winner of the 2015 Presidential elections, Hadi was appointed minister for state for aviation until 2019. He was reappointed as the Minister of Avaition by President Muhammadu Buhari after he won his second term bid.

As a former pilot, Sirika is a member of the Senate Committee on Aviation.
As aviation minister, he has done a lot to reposition the ministry in order to make it more viable, drawing on his extensive expertise and knowledge.


He was General Manager of Katsina State Transport Authority from 1999 and 2000.

On the potential for private involvement in airport renovations and ownership and where he sees Nigeria’s airports in the near future, he said in a recent interview that
“There has been modest investment by government to develop the sector. In terms of airport terminal buildings, Nigeria had to source some funding through an import-export bank loan to build or rebuild terminals at four of our airports.

“Entrepreneurs will find that there is huge potential for investment, especially in the general aviation infrastructure, including terminal buildings, runways, communication and navigation equipment, and security systems. The entire sector is greenfield, waiting for suitable investors to come in. It is important for interested investors to act now because the doors will be closed once we have all of the investors that we can find.

“Airfares in Nigeria are high compared to other emerging markets. From a regulatory and policy perspective, how might airfares fall?
The first and most important step is to create competition, which is the whole idea behind the national airline we are about to create. This way we can leverage all the bilateral and multilateral agreements between us and other nations that are bringing in their planes. Emirates flies to Nigeria 21 times per week, and British Airways has a similar number of flights.

Recently, he said it is in order to speak truth to power but counterproductive to curse a leader, since in his reasoning, a cursed leader may be pushed by the curse to take evil decision that will affect generality of the people.

Last week, the amiable minister was reported to have said that Nigeria will begin the operation of a new national air carrier in the first quarter of 2022.

In this 2021, we will try to do all the needful and probably we intend to start operations somewhere around first quarter 2022, he said.

He said the emergence of COVID-19 delayed the conclusion of plans as well as the takeoff of the project which he said the federal government is still committed to.

Mr Sirika said the national carrier was expected to take off initially this year, as an economic necessity for the country with the size of the population, the vantage geographical location, and other natural factors.

It is still in top gear, we are coming back to Council, hopefully within the next two weeks, to present the memo on the national carrier, he said.

We went to Council to approve the outline business case for the carrier and then the Council raised some questions and asked us to go and file the memo again and bring it back.

So, once it comes back and the outline business case is approved by Council, then, of course, we will now go to the full business case, which is now going to the market and then establishing the national carrier.

It was our intention to have a national carrier running in 2021, which is this year. Unfortunately due to COVID, which took the greater part of last year, since March last year, activities are almost impossible.

Of course, for obvious reasons, we now have access to equipment, that they will come faster to us, deliveries of the aircraft will be faster, perhaps even the rates might be cheaper and so on, and so forth.
He is widely considered to be an efficient , brilliant administrator.

Hadi sirika was born on 2nd March 1964 in Dutsi Local Government area of Katsina state.

John Kayode Fayemi:  Philosopher King on throne of Ekiti State

Kayode Fayemi

Governor Fayemi

John Olukayode Fayemi  is arguably one of the most cerebral politicians in contemporary Nigeria, hugely in a class of his own.

His unassuming nature has tended to belie his immense strength and influence, as one of the most important political actors in the current dispensation.

As the current governor of Ekiti State, he has quietly made his mark redefining the state on the path of growth and development. His foray into politics has a streak of radical in it, having been an important member of National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, the coalition of intelligentsia, political elites, retired military officers, business elites and pro-democracy organizations that fought the Abacha dictatorship and ensured the military handed over power to civil rule.

It is widely believed that Fayemi was the voice of Radio Kudirat, the opposition voice back then.

As  Governor of Ekiti State, he has been in office since 16 October 2018. He previously served in office between 2010 and 2014 before losing re-election to Ayodele Fayose. He was also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet from 11 November 2015 to 30 May 2018, when he resigned to contest for a second time as Governor of Ekiti State. Today, he is the chair of the All Progressives Congress, APC’s governors’ forum.

An intellectual of international repute, Fayemi has written extensively on governance and democratization, civil-military relations and security sector issues in Africa.


Fayemi had his primary education at ICC Primary School, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State between 1970-1975 and attended Christ’s School Ado Ekiti from 1975 to 1980. He later went on to receive degrees in History, Politics and International Relations from the University of Lagos and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). From 1989 to 1992, he earned a Doctorate in War Studies from King’s College London, specializing in civil-military relations.


After his first degree in 1984, he proceeded on the mandatory one year National Youth service Corps from 1985 to 1986, during which he was a lecturer at the Nigeria-Police Training College in Sokoto.

After his service year, he served as a Research Officer at Development & Management Consultants in Ikeja between 1987-1989. When he moved to the UK to pursue his doctoral studies between 1991 to 1993 he worked as a Research Officer at the African Research and Information Bureau in London. In 1992, he was a Tutorial Fellow at the War Studies Department at Kings College, London during his doctoral studies. Later between 1993 to 1995, he was the Strategy Development Adviser of Deptford City Challenge in London and later served as the Secretary General of the Media Empowerment for Africa (The Radio Foundation) in London between 1995-1997.

He was also a journalist with The Guardian and City Tempo; and the Editor of Nigeria-Now, a defunct political monthly magazine. In 1997, Fayemi returned to Nigeria where he established the Centre for Democracy and Development Centre for Democracy & Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa, where he served as Director from 1997 to 2006.

In April 2014, Fayemi was endorsed as the governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the state’s gubernatorial elections slated for 21 June 2014. The emergence of Fayemi was preceded by congress held before the governor who had no contestant was endorsed as the flag bearers of their state in the governorship elections. Kayode Fayemi was defeated at the polls on 21 June 2014 by previous governor Ayodele Fayose.

Fayemi recontested for second term as Ekiti state governor under the platform of the All Progressive Congress in the 14 July 2018 governorship election after resigning as the Minister of Solid Minerals Development. He was officially declared the winner of the 2018 Ekiti State gubernatorial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission and subsequently sworn in.

In October 2020 during the nationwide #EndSars protest he joined the protesters at the pretest grounds to express his support for their demand but advised on the need for them to have an exit strategy and on the need to create a window of dialogue with the Federal Government on their demands before the protest was hijack.

He narrated his experience as one of the notable faces of the anti-military and protesters that facilitated the current democratic order. He said his group knew when to pause to negotiate with the government and that made them successful. He said this at a virtual symposium held by the Harvard Kenny Alumni Association of Nigeria with the theme :The Africa Policy Dialogue Series: Harnessing Africas Demographic Dividend for Peace, Security and Productivity through Investments in Youth.

He admitted that the youths, who were actively participating in the #Endsars protest at the time, had a right to demand for good governance and an end to police brutality, saying the government owes that to them.


Fayemi is a Fellow of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan
Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at the African Centre for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., USA.
He was also a Visiting Professor in the African Studies Programme at Northwestern University, Evanston, USA in 2004.

He  serves on numerous Boards including the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, African Security Sector Network, and on the Advisory Board of the Global Facilitation Network on Security Sector Reform and on the Management Culture Board of the ECOWAS Secretariat.
Member, Africa Policy Advisory Panel of the British Government.

Fayemi is an outstanding intellectual who has written on governance and democratization, civil-military relations and security sector issues in Africa. Among his recent books are: Deepening the Culture of Constitutionalism: The Role of Regional Institutions in Constitutional Development in Africa (CDD, 2003), Security Sector Governance in Africa: A Handbook (edited with Nicole Ball, CDD, 2004) and Out of the Shadows: Exile and the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria (CDD, 2005).

Nasir El-Rufai: The action man of Kaduna State

Nasir El-Rufai

Nasir El-Rufai

Probably now more than ever before has Nigeria needed all the help it can receive to rebuild her aging and dilapidated infrastructures.

And one of those that seems to be coming through for the country is the incumbent governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai. Some would say this is not too surprising considering that the Kaduna governor is a developmental expert.

Born on 16 February 1960 in Daudawa, Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, Nasir El-Rufai had early roots in the management and development sectors. Alongside three other partners, he founded a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982, through which they executed several building and civil engineering projects in the country.
In November 1999, he was appointed the director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and secretary of the National Council of Privatisation (NCP) where he used his expertise to spearhead the privatisation of several government owned corporations.

His efforts were recognized on a larger scale when he was appointed as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in July 2003 to help restore the bastardised Abuja Master plan to its original vision.

During his tenure as FCT minister, he presided over a radical transformation of the federal capital earlier riddled with corruption and vast deviation from the original Master plan.

He led several bold policy and innovative initiatives, including the establishment of the Abuja Geographic Information System (GIS) in June 2004, making the federal capital the first municipality in Nigeria with a computerised land register and information system and restoration of the Abuja master plan to its original status with the demolition of illegal buildings, which prompted many to give him the nickname ‘Mr. Demolition’.

Mallam El-Rufai also superintended over two other ministries, Commerce and Interior, where he chaired several cabinet committees that facilitated the establishment of a mortgage system in Nigeria, National ID card system, improvement of the nation’s electric power supply, as well as the sale of Federal Government properties in Abuja.

There was to be no time on the sidelines for El-Rufai after the end of his tenure as minister. After briefly leaving public service, he completed legal and public management training programmes at the University of London and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In 2011, he re-entered politics by joining the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and was appointed the first deputy national secretary of the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) after the merger of the CPC with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2013.

Ebonyi: Unveiling Umahi’s uncommon transformation

Ebonyi governor, David Umahi

Dave Umahi

Ebonyi, Southeast Nigeria’s youngest state, was in many ways, a child of necessity. When, in 1996, the areas that today constitute Ebonyi, were carved out of Enugu and Abia states – mostly from the former – it was the realisation of a desire by a section of the Igbo nation that had long felt that their interests were not adequately represented, first in the old Anambra State, and later in Enugu.

It was for understandable reason. The areas saw little presence of government. Abakaliki, today’s capital of Ebonyi, was a backwater town, often derided by the rest for its lack of development. But today, two decades and a half down the road, the story of Abakaliki has changed from a city being mocked to one leading the light as one of Nigeria’s most beautiful, and modern state capitals.

Abakaliki is Ebonyi. And the story of this transformation, more than anything else, has been down to the sheer ingenuity of Engr. Dave Umahi, the incumbent governor of the state.
Umahi, like every political office holder, has had his issues; and critics, too. But even his worst critics cannot deny that the governors accomplishment in the state is a marvel, particularly in terms of infrastructure, he has been a wonder of sorts.

The state has witnessed and continues to witness unprecedented road and sundry infrastructure building, and placed side by side with the revenue profile of the state, the governor arguably stands shoulders high above his peers.


Yet, besides infrastructure, the state is also making rapid improvement in education and agriculture. Rated as an educationally backward state only a few years ago, Ebonyi has walked up the ladder, largely unnoticed, and now makes top ten in most national examinations.

And even as the present economic realities, occasioned by fall in global oil price as Coronavirus pandemic shut down economies, have crippled state finances, Ebonyi remains a construction site. The Enugu-Abakailiki Express Road is easily the best federal road in the Southeast courtesy of the governor, and he has also intervened in other strategic federal roads in the state, including Afikpo Road, Uburu-Amasiri Road among many others.

Umahis projects are particularly noted for their solidity. Road constructions in Ebonyi are mostly eight inches concrete pavement with a lifespan of over 50 years. Along the Enugu-Abakailiki road, at Presco, Spera Indo junctions and the International Market are three massive flyovers well constructed and decorated for aesthetic value. The bridges are part of the trans-Saharan route to Cameroon.

Remarkably, it is a state with annual average internally generated revenue of about N4billion, and yearly federal allocation of about N25 billion, one of the least revenue earning states in Nigeria. But with its little, the state has achieved amazing feats under the governors watch.

The magic behind what the governor is achieving is highest level of probity and accountability, highest level of transparency, highest level of compliance with the principle of fiscal responsibility and procurement, noted the states Commissioner for Information, Mr. Uchenna Orji.

Still, with little revenue, the governor has not, like a few other states facing financial constraints, plunged Ebonyi into heavy debt burden. Ebonyi is one of the least indebted states in Nigeria. Yet, all over the state, roads and other infrastructural projects are ongoing while many have been completed.

Umahi is doing wonderfully well in Ebonyi, noted Chief Sam Maduka Onyishi, CEO, Peace Mass Transit Limited, a leading transporter in the country. The roads there are very well constructed. The kind of things he is building there, sometimes you begin to wonder if its the federal government that is there building those things.

As part of their trivial online debates, people of the Southeast once in a while, hold online debates about which capital city in the zone is most beautiful. Abakailiki has arguably emerged as the indisputable winner of that contest. A trip around the city only lends credence: smooth roads, smart roundabouts, modern storey buildings and fine streets.
The Udensi Roundabout with its fountain waterfall and spotless labyrinth of roads is a marvel, yet same can be said about the Government House Roundabout and the Abacha Roundabout, among others.
We are happy with what the governor has done, Abakailiki is now a beautiful place, noted a bike rider, Nwede. Yes, Im very satisfied with what he has done.

But in Abakailiki, its not just about beautiful roads and roundabouts. The administration has also completed the huge international market, the Margret Umahi International Market, which was started by the Martin Elechi administration.

There is the impressive centenary city and a new governors lodge and ecumenical centre with combined sitting capacity of 12,000, the largest ever built by any government in Nigeria, if not on the African continent.

There is the Ebonyi International Airport, where it is said, promise met action. A dream conceived few years ago, but which has now fully materialised, with work at advanced state. There is the Uburu College of Medicine; a medical university with huge promise.
For a state with Ebonyis revenue profile, contemplating an international airport on paper would have seemed like an unrealistic dream. But in Ebonyi, Umahi has continued to prove that impossible is nothing. The airport he promised, he has almost completed.

A now renovated Abakailiki stadium at Ntezi-aba is huge by Nigerian standard, but the governor has since decided that for the future he wants for the state capital and the state, only a brand new stadium that would attract athletes from Africa and beyond would do.
Apart from the three massive flyover bridges in Abakailiki, he has also started constructing other eight flyovers at Abaomege in Onicha local government, Nkalagu Junction, Uburu Junction, Ohaozara, among other locations.
The state capital is easily the best well-organised and has best road network of any in the Southeast, if not the entire country. But its not just about Abakailiki. Across the state, there are numerous road projects. The Abakailiki to Ikwo road is well-constructed, the Abakailiki-Afikpo road is not less so.

Another secret behind what has been achieved is the fear of God and the fact that the governor was very prepared from the very beginning to govern Ebonyi State. For us, it is a divine project. He came on board via a divine mandate, Orji says.

And if you look at his track record, you will understand that he truly came from God. I will also say that his track record, to an extent, explains what is happening now. Im talking about his experience, his exposure, education but most importantly, his passion. The passion is the engine that drives those three elements: exposure, education and experience.

Agriculture Revolution

Noted for its Abakailiki rice, Ebonyi is a largely agrarian state. The Umahi government has continued to support farmers and farming to improve productivity through his administrations agricultural development programmes.


The government now runs three rice mills with capacity of 24 metric tonne per hour. It also has par-boiling plant with a total of 24 metric tonne capacity that feeds the mill. The governor had also procured four rice mills, each with four metric tonne capacity with parboiling plants with same capacity per hour each, giving to individuals or cooperatives to operate.


The governor has introduced a number of empowerment programmes. He trained and empowered 2000 youths and women with N250,000 grant each. Through his Street to Skill Empowerment Programme, the governor had also trained and empowered 520 hawkers with N250,000 each and 400 Okada riders with tricycles.

He also shortlisted, trained and empowered 403 spouses of security officials of Ebonyi origin with N200,000 each and 508 clergymen with N508 million.

For the states civil servants, he introduced the Second Address Scheme, a scheme which compels civil servants to have second address in farming either at the primary, secondary or tertiary production. They are subsequently given loans ranging from N250,000 to N1million to support agricultural produce, among other programmes aimed at promoting entrepreneurship.

Beyond Ebonyi, Umahi, as chairman of Southeast governors forum, has also in many ways, held his own as the political leader, in some sense, of the zone. Under his leadership, the southeast governors forum has risen up to the security and sundry challenges of the zone, and only recently launched uniform security outfit, Ebube Agu.

Godwin Emefiele: Redefining central banking

Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

Mr. Godwin Emefiele is the first governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to get a two-term mandate since the return to civil rule in 1999. President Mohammadu Buhari had reappointed him in 2019 following the giant strides of his first tenure that started in 2014 under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The recent sack of the entire board of directors of FBN Holdings Plc and its subsidiary First Bank of Nigeria Ltd by the Emefiele-led CBN in pursuit of corporate governance decency is widely seen as capable of restoring investors and customers confidence; and perhaps, a demonstration of the new dynamism he has brought into the job. He also did the same with Skye bank, now Polaris bank.

The big irony is that even as the then managing director of Zenith, many did not think that Emefiele was qualified to be saddled with the onerous responsibilities of managing the monetary policy of Africa’s leading economic power house.

Despite his glittering successes at Zenith, a bank whose top line numbers he grew at a very impressive rate, he was still regarded lightly within banking and finance industry circles. Of course, the luminous image of Mr. Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank had so dominated the banks landscape that Emefieles effervescence was beclouded.

But with his austere nature and ability to instill financial discipline in the banking sector, which significantly reduced rascality and frivolity in loan approvals, it took him little or no time to disappoint all those who expected nothing but failure from an operator-turn regulator.

Since mid-2014, when he took over the reins of CBN, with a huge task to stabilise an economy that went awry since 2015, Nigeria has experienced stable economic monetary policies, even as it did not witness any crude oil windfall, which is the backbone of the economy, in terms of revenue supply.

Conversely, the oil price volatility impacted not only the countrys revenue base, but the inflow of foreign exchange (forex), stoking currency depreciation, system arbitrage and consequent policy measures, leading to calls for the devaluation of the naira.

The 12th CBN governors ability to hold on to his belief in the economy and not allow the ship sink on his watch may have also earned him the second term, which many of his peers say is well deserved.

Emefiele, through his monetary policies and even interventions in fiscal issues over the past seven years, has insisted that the country still holds a high return on investment, with huge opportunities given its over 200-million-people market.

Therefore, with a cocktail of policy measures, the naira, which fell to N520/$1 in 2017 at the open market, became stabilised around N360$1 , and stayed through to the period of the general elections that brought Buhari to power.


Specifically, Emefiele oversaw Nigerias widely acclaimed response to plummeting oil prices, a spiraling inflation, significant exchange rate pressures, sharp fall in forex inflows, delisting of Nigeria from the JP Morgan Bond Index, normalisation of U.S. monetary policy, geopolitical tensions amongst global superpowers, and overall uncertainty after the change of administration in 2015.

Indeed, the stability he brought into the system has been attributed to his innovative Investors and Exporters Window worth $25 billion, which liberalised official transactions of forex, as well as directive to banks to sell forex to customers over the counter for basic travel allowance (BTA) and medical and education bills.

Beyond forex stability, which saw massive accretion in Nigerias foreign exchange reserves from about $23 billion in October 2016 to nearly $48 billion in June 2018, Emefieles policies also significantly helped Nigeria achieve fast recovery from recession, which was caused by sharp and sustained oil price declines from 2015 through 2017.

Also, Emefiele recorded the longest month by month decline in inflation from about 19 per cent in January 2017 to about 11 per cent in July 2018, before the recent climb due to forex crisis while also helping to avert a major economic crisis with labour groups by innovatively offsetting billions of arrears in salaries, pensions and gratuities.

Even in the area of fiscal interventions, the CBN governor sustained large-scale financing of agriculture through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, which has disbursed hundreds of billions of naira in small loans to hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers, thereby creating millions of jobs across the country.

As an evidence of the new discipline through tight monetary policies, his first tenure witnessed unprecedented profits in the banking industry, with GT Bank and Zenith Bank leading the way with record performances.
Operational discipline also accounted for significant reduction in bad loans, thereby leading to massive expansion of banking services with financial inclusion rate reaching nearly 64 per cent in 2018, up from only 32 per cent in 2012.

With all these, Emefiele succeeded in facilitating major improvement in Nigerias ranking on the World Banks Doing Business Indicators, through the creation of the collateral registry and credit reference bureaus.
While his second term has witnessed a conspiracy of COVID-19 pandemic and global oil price crash to undo his first term achievements in the areas of inflation and exchange rate among others, his effective policy responses are fast restoring normalcy.
For instance, Nigerias inflation rate reduced by 0.05 per cent in April, the first fall in inflation rate in the last 21 months, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics released last week.

Emefieles CBN is also working tirelessly through a number of policies, including the naira for dollar Scheme, to strengthen the naira. To increase the inflow of diaspora remittances into the country, the bank had in March launched the scheme that pays naira to senders and recipients of international money transfers.
Clearly, the efforts of Emefieles CBN have not gone unnoticed as he has received several awards at home and abroad. Perhaps the one that stands out most was the 2017 Best of Africa Achievement Award given to him by Forbes in Washington DC, United States of America.
Forbes Emerging Markets honours a person whose achievements fall within the mission of the organization, which is to promote further investment in Africa by United States investors. The only other Nigerian who had received the award is the president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.
Forbes chief executive officer, Corporate Council on Africa, Florizelle Liser, noted that Emefiele merited the honour, because the body was happy to see the work that is being done on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and they believed it would pay off. He said: Many of our members welcome it as an opportunity to see how they can trade more with Nigeria and invest more in Nigeria.
Before his banking career, Mr. Emefiele was a lecturer in Finance and Insurance in two Nigerian Universities. He holds degrees in Banking and Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and is also an alumnus of Stanford University, Harvard and Wharton Graduate Schools of Business where he took courses in Negotiation, Service Excellence, Critical Thinking, Leading Change and Strategy.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta : Servant leader

Umar Danbatta

Danbatta, NCC boss

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is a brilliant engineer, astute administrator, philanthropist and an outstanding nation builder who has brought his wealth of experience to bear as head of the NCC.

Dambatta has, within the few years at the helm in the commission, transformed it into a regulator of global acclaim through implementation of the auspicious strategic 8-Point Agenda, which gave much needed direction to the activities of the commission.
Through several innovative initiatives such as Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration and 112 Emergency Number, Danbatta has helped in the effort against insecurity in the country even as his efforts have led to improvements in Quality of Service (QoS) delivery, broadband infrastructure deployment, broadband penetration, effective spectrum utilisation, consumer empowerment, technology innovation.
Prof Danbatta through the NCC has led the charge to drive Nigerias industrial revolution and knowledge economy leveraging telecommunications.

Today Telecommunications contribution to GDP has grown by 70% between 2015 to 2020, whilst broad band penetration has leaped from 8% to 42% in same period. His leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently NCC was acknowledged by International Telecoms Union (ITU) as one of Africas foremost Telecoms regulator.

Danbatta has also made huge impact in the areas of Staff Welfare, Infrastructural Development, Consumers Empowerment and Satisfaction, Job Creation, Standard Information and Communication Technology Revolution, Research, Rebranding of the Telecom Sector, Cordial Relationship with Stakeholders, Increase in Active Mobile Broadband Penetration, Efficient Monitoring and Value Driven usage for the provision of Different Types of Services.

An academic of repute and a prolific author, Danbatta is a recipient of 18 distinguished awards and certificates of honour. He is a COREN registered engineer, Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), Fellow of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (FRAES) and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He was the Vice President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), International Centre for Advanced Communications Studies, which was established in the year 2004 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to build capacity for the Nigerian/African telecom industry in the diverse areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc: Banker’s Banker

Kennedy Uzoka, CEO, United Bank for Africa

Kennedy Uzoka

Kennedy Uzoka GMD/CEO, UBA Plc is one of the most accomplished bankers on the African continent today. A bankers banker, he has vast experience in banking, business development, financial and business advisory, strategic planning and execution as well as human resource management. He is an advocate of disruptive technology and has led many game changing innovations in the African banking industry over the past two decades of his career.

In an extremely challenging industry with a high mortality rate of its professionals, Kennedy has excelled. He has previously served as the Group Deputy Managing Director/CEO UBA Africa, with oversight over the Groups subsidiaries in eighteen countries whilst also providing supervisory oversight on the Groups information technology and digital banking suites as well as the personal banking business.

By August 2016, he assumed the top rank as GMD/CEO. His performance has been sparkling. He has consistently led the Bank to set a year-on-year track record of profitability, wealth creation and innovative financial products across its operations in the African continent despite global economic challenges. Not even the current challenge of COVID-19 has been a dampener as the bank under his watch continues to scale new frontiers and post assuring results.


Audited Year end results for 2020 show that UBA continues to enjoy both top and bottom line growth with Profit after Tax growing by 27.7% to N113.8billion, up from N89.1 billion in the same period of 2019. This performance puts the Bank’s annualized return on average equity at 17.2%. The Bank continues to maintain very strong balance sheet with total Assets of N7.7 trillion, a 37.0% growth over last year. Customer Deposits have also grown to N5.7trillion while shareholders’ funds remained very strong at N724.1trillion.

More importantly, UBA has become a global player driving infrastructure projects across the continent. Today, locally and internationally, UBA has become a household name and has transformed into a financial powerhouse, and a totem of the new Africa – A continent of possibilities.
A through-bred professional who honed his skills in various ivy league institutions in Nigeria, Europe and the USA , Kennedy sits on the boards of reputable institutions and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria.

Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc: Great Achiever

Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe

Other chief executive officers might have looked at a smattering of branch network in states of the federation and the capital territory and wonder how they could ever match the growth of bigger and more established banks.
Not Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, who viewed Access Banks relatively light branch network in states like Lagos, Rivers, Ogun, Rivers, Kano and the FCT as an opportunity to pursue aggressive growth.

In collaboration with his partner, Aigboje Aig Imoukhuede, the duo had acquired Access Bank in 2002. So small was the bank then that it ranked 65th in the nation and could only boast of 89 branches across the country, that transforming it into one of Nigerias biggest bank by branches and customer base became a task that must be met.

A strategist, Wigwe and his team deployed assets and skills in management to restore investors confidence in the bank. The move, aside shoring the bank’s brand equity and giving shareholders more reasons to believe, improved its balance sheet.

Two decades after, Access Bank under Wigwe’s leadership has remained a value-focused financial institution while setting the pace in corporate governance and fiscal.

From number 65 in 2000, Access Bank is today the largest bank by asset base, and one of the top five banks in Nigeria in terms of loans, deposits and branch network. In fact, with its merger with Diamond Bank Plc in 2019, Access Bank becomes the largest bank in Nigeria and Africa by customer base (36 million customers), with a network of over 600 branches and service outlets covering three continents and 12 countries.

The story of infrastructural development, not only in Nigeria, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, cannot be complete without mentioning the contribution of the burgeoning bank. As one of the nation’s foremost corporate bankers, Wigwe has helped develop some of continent’s biggest companies in the construction, telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors through the provision of financial support and expertise, particularly MTN.

Despite its successes, Wigwe is not contended with been a local player. He has continued to look at opportunities to build the bank’s network in global trade and payment centres.
The bank recently acquired controlling stakes in several African banks, including South Africas 74-year-old Grobank for $60 million; Kenyas Transnational Bank and Zambia-based Cavmont Bank.

Under his leadership, Access Bank has received many awards. They include the BusinessDay Bank/CEO of the Year awards; Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement Award by Karlsruhe.

In 2016, the Boys Brigade (BB), inaugurated Wigwe as Patron for the Lagos State Council in recognition of his exemplary role in the society and contributions to youth development.

Born on August 15, 1966 in Lagos to parents of Ikwerre descent from Omueke Isiokpo, Wigwe attended the University of Nigeria where he acquired a degree in accountancy, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales and an M.Sc in Financial Economics from the University of London. He is also an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

The Access Bank CEO started his professional career at Coopers & Lybrand, Lagos as a management consultant, later qualifying as a chartered accountant.

After a brief stint at Capital Bank, he joined GTBank where he spent over a decade working in corporate and institutional banking, rising to become the executive director in charge of institutional banking.

Since January 2014, he has been the chief executive officer and Group managing director of Access Bank. Before then, he served as the bank’s deputy managing director for over a decade.

Apart from being the current Chairman of Access Bank (UK) Limited, Wigwe is a board member of Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and a member of the advisory Board for Friends Africa.


He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN FCA), a Fellow of The Institute of Credit Administration, and an Honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. Wigwe is happily married to Chizoba Wigwe with four children.



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