Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
As co-founder of the Tengen Family Office, Aig-Imoukhuede today oversees a multibillion-dollar portfolio of investments and businesses in banking, finance, insurance, technology, real estate and energy. He is easily an investor and philanthropist with a track record of major accomplishments in both for-profit and not-for-profit initiatives within Nigeria and beyond.
Aig-Imoukhuede, who says: “This is not the end of the journey. We are moving on to other things and to being the change we want to see in Africa,” is out with a riveting book, Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa, a memoir he wrote himself where he tells the story of how he and Herbert Wigwe (current Access Bank managing director), with immovable faith, took steps to transform for good, profoundly and permanently, the Nigerian banking and financial sector.
Aig-Imoukhuede became group managing director and chief executive officer of Access Bank from 2002, and transformed from a minor player into one of Nigeria’s top five banks today, with a presence in nine other African countries and the United Kingdom. Under his stewardship, Access Bank grew its customer base from 10,000 to 6.5 million, with more than 120,000 employees and an asset base of US$12 billion.
Aig-Imoukhuede tells how he and Wigwe provided opportunities for thousands to prosper, and in so doing established himself among Africa’s most inspiring and impactful entrepreneurs of the 21st century.
In writing the memoir, Aig-Imoukhuede said: “my intention in penning the book was to motivate others to take up the challenge and unlock the power of our national economy and our people. I hope this book will inspire others as much as Nigeria and Africa inspire me. I am inspired by the resourcefulness and resilience of the people; the richness of the land; and the heritage of those who came before us. This is a place of limitless potential, and opportunity.”
In Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa, which is due for launch to the world on March 29, the author provided never-before-revealed insights into the Nigerian banking and financial sector. The virtual book launch event will be an evening of great conversation, inspiration and entertainment, with performances by multi-award-winning gospel artist Sinach and Nigeria’s super-talented Afrobeat artist Teni.
The event will be hosted by IK Osakioduwa, and will include an exclusive Q&A session with Aig-Imoukhuede and Uzodinma Iweala, author and chief executive officer of The Africa Centre.
The line-up of launch activities includes events for national, regional and international audiences, including the youth and academic communities. Millions of Africans at home and in the diaspora will have the opportunity to interact with Aig-Imoukhuede in a meaningful way.
Already, advance copies of Aig-Imoukhuede’s Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa have generated brilliant reviews from leading Nigerian and world figures, including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Nigerian finance minister (2003 to 2006; 2011 to 2015). Okonjo-Iweala said: “Aig-Imoukhuede … gives us a frontline account of what it means to seize opportunities and weather risks in Africa’s banking industry. I recommend the book to all who want to get an inside view of what it takes to create and grow a successful business in Nigeria’s challenging but opportunity-laden business environment.”
For Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations deputy secretary-general: “Aig … gives meaning to grit and authenticity, taking us on a journey that closes the gap between harsh reality and one’s aspiration, giving young Nigerians, especially women in the finance sector, the inspiration to dream, weather the storm and achieve greatness.”
Akinwumi Adesina, current president of African Development Bank (AfDB) and Nigeria’s agriculture minister (2010 to 2015), said, Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa is “written with brutal honesty, lucidity and humility. The principles in this book are sound, practical and pragmatic, drawn out of the deep wells of personal experience, and inked with sincerity, honest rendition and transparency on what worked and did not work, to help others. One of the best business books I have ever read. Easy to read. Transformational. Memorable. Golden.”
Other global reviews came from: Muhammad Sanusi II, the 14th emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2009 to 2014). For Sanusi, “Aigboje has written a book that is a record of an important part of the history of Nigerian banking in a lucid and jargon-free manner, along the way telling a story about Nigerian economic history, about regulatory reforms, and about key actors in government, the Central Bank, the banking industry and big business with whom it was his lot to interact over the decades.”
Some 7,225 km (or 6 hours 43 minutes flying time) to the UK, comes a powerful comment from Ngaire Woods, founding dean of Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, that Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa is “a powerful tale of leadership and institution-building amidst weak regulatory institutions and a changing cast of politicians, Central Bank governors and competitors.”
Dele Olojede, international journalist, publisher and Pulitzer Prize winner described the memoir as: “everyone has a creation story, and Aig-Imoukhuede’s is compelling in the way that it seemed to be the primary driver of a young and successful banker’s towering ambitions: a prism through which we come to understand how he shaped his own career, and all the choices he would later make as he pushed towards what, now in hindsight, seemed all but inevitable.”
For Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual and founder of the Dangote Group, Aig-Imoukhuede “in his candid body of work, … thoroughly simplifies and brings into relatable context, timeless business know-how as building blocks for a sustainable enterprise. His undeniable footprints and giant strides in the African banking sector give him the vantage position in this book to steer a growing breed of African leaders to success.”
Atedo Peterside, founder of StanbicIBTC and board member, Standard Bank of South Africa, said: Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa is an excellent compendium of some of the major challenges which investors with audacious goals must learn to overcome, and some of the lessons enumerated via simple real-life stories and situations can significantly shorten the learning curve for others trying to contemplate starting a new business or taking over and transforming an existing business that is not doing very well.”