That was September 1st at about 09:08 pm when Dele Momodu, Publisher Ovation International a close mentee to the late Deinde Fernandez broke the news of the death of one of Nigeria’s foremost sons to the world on Twitter.
Ambassador Deinde Fernandz was a Nigerian diplomat and business mogul born into the popular Fernandez family of Lagos. Ambassador Deinde Fernandez, acclaimed as a very reclusive and publicity shy Nigerian served as advisor to the Angolan Government on Economic matters between 1982 and 1984 and was later appointed as Mozambigue’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 1984.
The late Fernandez was a billionaire every inch of the way and reputed to be one of the richest men in Africa. With several private jets, houses in Nigeria (he owns a personalized towers in Lagos), New York, French castle in France, Scotland and Belgium, a luxurious ocean going yacht – Yemoja and friends in high places, he certainly had it all.
While not much is known about him or is in the public domain, its known that his company, Petro Inett had an extensive interest and stake in Oil, gold and diamond mining in Angola. In 1996, the company secured a 50% share along with South African Energy Africa Limited in a deal with the state oil for exploration rights in a 4,700 km2 area in Angola’s coastal area.
The late Fernandez was not without his fair share of negative media spotlight especially of his private life. In 2003, he was in the spotlight during a £ 300m divorce suit initiated against him by his former wife Aduke Fernnandez whom he had divorced and in which he later parted with a huge sum. He later married Halimat Maude in whose presence he died on September 1st. His company was once enmeshed in a £170,000 corruption scandal along with former South African statesman, Nelson Mandela during the former’s twilight days as President of South Africa in 1999.
His death came after several months of battling with an undisclosed age related ailment in Brussels, Belgium at the age of 78. In all, the late Dehinde Fernandez was a revered business mogul, diplomat and statesman. Nigeria and Africa has indeed lost one of its iconic figures.