Keen followers of the happenings in the economic and political climate of the centre of excellence state, Lagos, will not shudder to tell you at their earliest prompting, about the ionic kind of bond, between these two gentlemen in the scheme of things in the city of aquatic splendor, the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Herbert Wigwe,the MD/CEO at Access Bank.
Their concern, grouse and skepticism can be understandable because of the dimension these gentlemen’s chemistry is taking, in terms of the financial records and banking history of the state, is really leaving much to be desired.If the truth must be told. Those who know the two very well are not too surprised about the now festering relationship between them, as they both are financial wizards. So with Ambode coming on board as the Executive Governor of Lagos state two years ago, and Wigwe comfortably sitting at the steering seat of Access Bank as MD/CEO, the sync was only a matter of time to be reinforced. The first sign of the rejuvenated and re-invigorated symbiotic relationship between Ambode and Wigwe first reared its head when all the major accounts and financial transactions, (The Federal Allocation, Joint Allocation accounts), of the state were spirited in one fell swoop to the Access Bank, where the governor’s pal holds sway. The reason for this singular action is still left in the imagination of close watchers of the development in the state, especially those in the political circuit, who will always adduce one reason or the other for any decision taken by political office holders, especially when such decisions are not in tandem with them or their cronies. Recall that long before Governor Ambode came on board, most major accounts of the state were handle by Skye Bank and First City Monument Bank, especially during administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN. The sudden change in guards from these banks to Access Bank, has since remained topical, even as many have begun to read meanings to the swift move by Ambode, to the extent that FCMB no longer has a bite in the LASG many buoyant accounts, and leaving Skye Bank with a negligible part of the Federal Allocation account to grapple with. Since this meander to Access Bank by Ambode, so many things have pointed in the direction of Access Bank reaping generously from the state government as its bankers, especially given the fact that Lagos State remains the most financially buoyant state in the country and by extension the most bankable of the lot. The relationship is really working for the two. Little wonder, the new bride, Access Bank, all in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, has been in the vanguard of most Lagos State Government’s activities, projects and programmes, where it features prominently as the major sponsors. The Lagos Marathon Race, The Lagos @ 50 celebrations and many more will come to mind here, just as many are still in the pipe line. Opinions are however divided on this sudden departure from the norm in the Lagos state accounts with Access Bank. While those with political undertones are quick to say that Ambode is only using his power as the governor to get back at a perceived enemy in person of his predecessor, for obvious reasons that cannot be divulged in this report, others see it as a good measure on the side of Ambode as a good and prudent manager of resources, who will rather put his eggs in a basket where they are well-nested, and even to boot his financial competence and diligence as tested and trusted accountant, who has been in the saddle at the highest office as Accountant-General and who knows his onions on issues like this. But this does not remove the fact that the Ambode/Wigwe relationship is not sacrosanct. Must it be Access Bank all the way? Many query. But be that as it may, many, still in the political clime and those in the Asiwaju Tinubu’s powerful structure in the scheme of things in the state, are still not convinced that Ambode has a game plan up his sleeves vis-a-viz the Access Bank connection. Mischievous as it may sound, this set of people, who have either lost out of the political and power math or simply antagonistic of Ambode’s brazen act, believe that the Access Bank link with Ambode, for all they care, could be Ambode’s deft grand design to use in cleverly siphoning Lagos’ money through his crony, Wigwe, who will for good reason, do everything possible to cover the track of one of his major and most dependable depositors, if and when the need arises. All these are still, however, in the realm of conjectures, as there have been no instances yet to prove the otherwise as being claimed by these people who many like to refer to as mischief makers who will never see anything good in whatever their perceived enemy does.