Launching a business isn’t easy, which is why having co-founders can often make things a little smoother, especially if that co-founder is your best friend. There are plenty of examples that prove it can work and a great reference is that of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe. These business buddies have become a financial powerhouse with a chemistry that has helped create a winning formula for a banking hegemony in Africa —in terms of customer base— known today as Access Bank Plc.
On Tuesday March 22, it will mark 20 years since then two young Nigerian bankers –both aged 37 at the time— bought a small, nondescript bank and built it into one of the biggest lenders in the country with subsidiaries across Africa, Europe and Asia. From that day in 2002 when Aigboje and Herbert walked into the then Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos corporate headquarters of the bank to assume duty and take full control as the managing director and deputy managing director, they immediately hit it off.
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It was gathered that when the two young men led the acquisition, only a few could see the business logic of the move. But the next decade would vindicate the duo and 20 years after, despite facing myriad of challenges along the way, one could say that their ‘corporate bromance’ has mutated from a business partnership to friendship and then to brotherhood. Though some critics have insinuated that there have been some moments of spat between the two visionaries —which is expected anyway— the industry watchers aren’t worried about that as both Aigboje and Herbert have worked shoulder to shoulder to turn Access Bank into a monster of a financial institution. And the two billionaire bankers have every reason to celebrate two decades of their financial success.
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