Real Reason Late ‘Deinde Fernandez didn’t invest in Nigeria

The Ambassador Plenipotentiary with his good friend ex-US President George Bush Senior
Since his demise last Tuesday September 1st, 2015 at the ripe age of 86 there
have been several analysis on the social media about the personality of the
late African bureaucrat and Billionaire Diplomat Ambassador Chief Antonio
Oladeinde Fernandez
.

While some praised him for his extra-ordinary achievement
in industry, opulence and diplomacy other criticized him for his indifference
to home-grown economic development of his country, Nigeria. Some even went as far as labeling him ‘a wicked man who
didn’t care much for his own people’. But contrary to such misguided opinions
which is now trending on the social media, the highly influential oil and
diamond tycoon who died in his Brussels,
Belgium home in the early hours of
Tuesday, September 1st invested hugely in Nigeria in the 70s but was
forced out of business by a mixture of local culture and bad government policy.
A tribute by one of Nigeria’s most respected journalists and the only Nigerian
journalist who discovered Fernandez,
Bashorun (Dr.) Dele Momodu revealed the true story of Fernandez’s apathy for his country’s economic atmosphere. The
tribute titled “Tribute To Achievement”
and published in the issue 26 of OVATION Magazine edition of September (Funny
Enough the same month Fernandez passed to glory) of year 2000 revealed the
mystery of the late billionaire’s wealth and relationship with Nigeria. Your
soar away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog Asabeafrika brings you the untold story of Fernandez’s run away
wealth as described by OVATION Magazine Publisher, Bashorun (Dr.) Dele Momodu.
Enjoy! 

Bashorun (Dr.)Dele Momodu
 TRIBUTE TO ACHIEVEMENT
“It is
very difficult to imagine how big an achiever our main subject this month
is.  In over four years of the existence
of OVATION, we have never devoted an entire cover to one man or woman.  What is more, we have NEVER devoted forty
pages to one story.  What is even more,
we have never written any story in French and Portuguese.
But our
cover subject this month deserves a standing OVATION from all Black people
around the world, for doing us proud, not just as a billionaire jet-setter but
as a proud son of Africa, who has not forgotten his roots, despite his towering
personality and achievement.
Fernandez with Mandela & other Heads of state inside his house
The
story of Ambassador Chief Antonio
Oladeinde Fernandez
is like a fairy-tale. 
I first heard of him in the 1970s as I grew up in the ancient city of
Ile-Ife.  We were all regaled with tales
of this giant of a businessman who donated Cadillac
limousines
to some Yoruba monarchs. 
And when I entered the University of Ife in 1978, we were also told of
this King Midas who was manufacturing
a very small refrigerator, Gorenje,
for students at affordable prices.  I
would later learn of TOWER FERNANDEZ
in the heart of Lagos Island.  I heard a
lot more.  And I dreamt of meeting the
great name.
Let me
confess that my dream is yet to come true. 
I am yet to meet this man who stands six foot and six inches tall, a man
of stupendous wealth, a diplomat extraordinaire, a charming African King, a man
of sartorial taste and style, a quintessential philanthropist who spreads his
wealth to his African brothers and sisters like manure, a man of culture, and a
man of tradition.
For
more than ten years, I searched everywhere for any lead to this rarefied being.  Every time I got close, something went
wrong.  Once, someone who claimed to know
him well gave me a multitude of telephone numbers to the man in New York and Paris and Geneva.  All the lines rang but no soul ever picked
any of them.  I continued to search for
this ultimate story, the sort that gives a writer his Magnus Opus.  I never gave up.

“Is
that Dele?  This is Fernandez”, a baritone voice boomed in my ears.  I had spoken to the high and mighty, but none
was as elusive as this King, a self-made man who has earned the respect of
great people in foreign lands”.

The Ambassador Plenipotentiary with ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Anan with the former Prime Minister of Mozambique
One
day, a staff of mine came and said he met someone who could link me to FERNANDEZ.  I never believed him.  But as a reporter, I follow every lead, even
if it would lead nowhere.  I decided to
meet this contact who promised to put in a good word on my behalf.
According
to the source “Nigeria has been most
unfair to Fernandez.  He wanted to do a
lot of things in Nigeria and for Nigerians but he was discouraged and
maligned”.
  I left all my telephone
numbers all over the world for the contact who promised that Chief Fernandez will call me one day”…
The Ambassador Plenipotentiary with his friend, President Nguema Mbasogo of Equitorial Guinea
…And The King Called!
“One
evening, I was having a drink with some friends at the NICON HILTON Hotel in
Abuja when my phone rang.  An OVATION
reporter picked the call.  He then beckoned
to me to pick the phone.  I did and the
biggest shock of my life occurred.  “Is
that Dele?  This is Fernandez”, a baritone voice boomed in my ears.  I had spoken to the high and mighty, but none
was as elusive as this King, a self-made man who has earned the respect of
great people in foreign lands.

“He did
his business openly and he enjoyed his life quietly. He said he would be very
delighted if our story could inspire younger people.  For a man who made his first million dollars
over forty years ago, this story is a must read and a Collector’s Edition for
all young Africans”

Deinde Fernandez with British Diplomat Bob Angel
“Your
Excellency, this is a great surprise, sir,” I said, a bit nervous.  He was the last person I expected to speak
with that night. He said he got my message, and all the efforts I had made to
contact him.  He said he doesn’t seek
publicity but he wanted to thank me for my efforts.  “I am told your magazine is very good and
that you are very responsible”, he said. 
My head was beginning to swell.  I
told him I saw his private jet, yacht and New York Island in a Magazine, National Encomium, and would love to
visit his home in New York.  He said someone in his family must have given
the pictures to the magazine but if I wanted to visit him in New York, it was fine but he won’t
grant an interview.
He said
he’d arrange for me to visit his Island in New
York
and his chateau in France.
I
promised him that I would love to do a story that will inspire men and women of
my generation to show them that if you dream big and work hard, you will make
it big, like Fernandez.  He was quite comfortable with my ideas. He
promised to ask one of his personal assistants to talk to me about
modalities.  The following day a call
came through.  The rest is history.
“He
bought his first private plane at the age of 25.  The photography wizard would buy one more
later. He owns a boat and knows so much about boats.  He has photographed more than enough
celebrities around the world”. 
I travelled
immediately to London, where I got one of the most accomplished photographers
in the world, Colin Ramsay, and he
agreed to travel with me to New York.  Colin
Ramsay
is one man who knows everything about everything.  A former air force pilot, the Scottish man
has travelled extensively, all over the world. 
He bought his first private plane at the age of 25.  The photography wizard would buy one more later.
He owns a boat and knows so much about boats. 
He has photographed more than enough celebrities around the world.  He was therefore a perfect choice for the job”.
Deinde Fernandez as Permanent Representative of the United Nations in his Life Time
The Peninsular Plenipotentiary!
“As
soon as we landed at John F. Kennedy
Airport,
we drove straight to the Peninsula, the Premium Point Island outside New
York
, where Chief Fernandez, his
wife, Chief (Mrs.) Aduke Olufunmilayo,
and two daughters, Princesses Abimbola
and Atinuke, live in a paradise on
earth.
Through
the assistance of aides, we went round the island and the more we looked the
more we discovered.  My photographer, who
had photographed Imelda Marcos’ and Liz Taylor’s homes, was clearly
intimidated by the sheer beauty and elegance of the home of Fernandez.  He never imagined anyone, let alone an
African (no racist intentions) could demonstrate such immense creativity and
imagination.  We were booked to spend
five days in New York but we started
wondering if we could accomplish our mission in five days.


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The Ambassador Plenipotentiary with some foreign ambassador friends at a UN event
Chief Fernandez was in Beijing, China, and a few days later, he was in Hong Kong, so we had more time to roam. We worked 12 hours a day
before retiring to our hotel rooms, some 30 minutes away.
The
highly civilized man allowed us access to every room in that house. During our
many telephone conversations, he maintained that he has nothing to hide. He did
his business openly and he enjoyed his life quietly. He said he would be very
delighted if our story could inspire younger people.  For a man who made his first million dollars
over forty years ago, this story is a must read and a Collector’s Edition for
all young Africans.  But take this as
only Part 1 of our Mini-biography on the Chief.
Before
we take you into the story proper, we must note that Nigeria has not been kind
to Chief Fernandez.  The country has failed to honor this great
son of Africa, in his own homeland.  It
is a big SHAME”.

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