Empty vessels make the loudest noise and full barrels, their noise but a hush or whisper.

If there was any sentence that describes our now late brother and friend Herbert Wigwe, it has to be the above.

I learnt with rude shock the crash that took his memorable life at a time when he was at the pinnacle of his career and success. Today, I remember not the celebrated banker and entrepreneur, I remember not the visionary and budding educationist, although his life was all about those, I remember the man Herbert in his ordinary elements.

He was your amiable laughter man in any room, the one who fitted well into a gathering of the famous and yet too, the everyday people. He was the one who lit up a room quite elegantly and the one whose physical frame disguised his torrent of achievements. He lived wholesomely, and sometimes his lifestyle challenged the traumas and difficulties of our times. He made problematic existentialism look like common place Nollywood drama.

Too soon to go ‘my dear younger brother’, too soon.

He coined the phrase ‘my brilliant older brother’ to announce his respects whenever we spoke, never mind that I couldn’t boast of the size of his purse and business empire. He was that graciously humble.
Life is a race, they say, and each of us runs our unique race entering and exiting according to our apportionment in destiny. Hebert ran his as if his life depended on every race, every day.

I was not one of his closest friends, we met on occasions, but he made each of those occasions sound like I was a partner in his walk of life. He was usually the juggernaut in the background, serious with his business but loving his quiet getaways for fun and relaxation. Funny that in the last year or so he finally began to come out of his shell – the marathon sponsorships, the celebration of Access Bank’s achievements, the technical and financial aids, the charitable works, then the HERBERT WIGWE UNIVERSITY PROJECT. Suddenly, he began to embrace the public scene… like it was a homecoming or launch of sorts , and then the tag that announced it all…FEARLESS!!

How heartbreaking that as his stage was getting more robust, out of the blues came the news of this crash and the end of it all.
Life is not for how long but how eventful. My dear younger brother, you gave it your all and left the world better than you met it. It’s too sad that you left with some of your greatest TREASURES; some of your family members and friends. My condolences to the beloved ones you left behind.
I wish I could connect a call to the Supreme God to ask WHY? WHY NOW? And, of course, HOW?!!

Herbert, may your soul and those of your family and friends who embarked on this journey with you rest in the bosom of the Lord!! BUT HOW!!!!

Prof Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu


Fatherhood with Ibe


A few weeks ago, a lady that had worked with me for a few years about a decade ago reached out to me. She had a business idea and she wanted my input. Finally, after many failed attempts to coordinate our programmes, we finally had a date to sit and discuss. She drove over to my house. I was told that she was around but I did not see her when I came downstairs. On enquiry, I discovered that she went back to sit in her car. I asked someone to ask her to come in. She came in and after she greeted and thanked me for taking time to read her proposal, she brought out a document detailing the amendments she had made following my observations on the feasibility study that she’d shared with me earlier.

“Please Sir, let me leave the document with you,” she said, and asked when she could pick it up after my final evaluation.

I didn’t understand her hurry. I’d created a space in my schedule to accommodate her after many weeks of telephone pestering and there she was sounding as if she had somewhere she would rather be. It didn’t make sense.

“I thought you wanted us to sit and discuss this your document. Why are you in a hurry to leave?” I asked.

She sighed and apologised.

“My son is in the car and I fear what he might get up to if I leave him alone for too long.” She explained.

“You left your son in the car? No! Bring him inside.”  I told her sternly.

“But Sir….” She started to talk, perhaps to tell me that he would be making noise and distracting her. I waved her off.

 “I know how to keep him occupied. Go and get him.” I said.

She hesitated a little but went out to get her son. I called someone in the house to get me some of the gadgets that keep my grandkids totally immersed. I kept them on a side stool and asked the nanny to arrange snacks and stay close by so as to keep an eye on the boy.

Soon, Sharon returned but instead of a child, she was holding the hand of a grown man. He had to be at least 25 years old. For a moment, I was completely gobsmacked and then I realised that the young man had some challenges.

“Say ‘Good evening Sir’,” she urged her son. He tried to hide behind her but he was bigger than her so it didn’t work. He repeated the words his mother had said in a low voice. I responded in a low voice too because I didn’t want to act in any way that may ignite any triggers. Sharon led him to a seat and introduced him.

“He is my first son. I have two sons and they are both special needs kids. My younger son is able to do most things for himself but Christian here needs round the clock care. I couldn’t find anyone that he’s familiar with to stay with him that’s why I brought him along because left unsupervised, he and his brother could get into a fight – children with the bodies and strength of adults.“ She said with a self-conscious laughter.

“How long has this been going on?” I asked.

“We discovered Christian’s challenges when he was about five years old. Maybe because of that, we discovered his brother’s case earlier, when he was two.”

“How have you been coping?” I asked, mentally remembering all the long hours at work, the extra work load and her quiet diligence. How come I never heard about her problems?

“My husband couldn’t cope with all the stress so he left when they were still very young but one thing he always helped out with was financial support. With his help, I was able to get people to watch the boys. He’s late now but I still appreciate his help those early years.”

I heard beyond what she was saying. I could almost see her despair and the struggle to be there for her children despite the difficulties. I could visualise the trauma of getting and keeping effective caregivers, the need to keep a job warring with the desire to be there taking care of her children. In all that she had to deal with, she never slacked off at work and never carried her challenges on her head. She was one of our unsung heroes and I decided to do my best to support her new venture.

I told Sharon to take her son home and promised to take time to touch up her document. I even pitched her idea to a few people that I felt would be interested. I hope that everything works out well for her.

Look, no matter what your current challenges are, be thankful. Focus on the positive sides and find joy in being alive.

To all parents coping with some health and physiological challenges in the lives of their children, you are heroes. My prayers are with you. May God send you the help that you need.

So long!