He is 76 years old. He Is A Billionaire. Reputed To Have Not One, But SIX Private Jets. He Owns A Chateau In France, Once Occupied By Napoleon Bonaparte, The Emperor Of France. Friend Of Mobutu. Ally Of Kofi Annan. Associate Of Mandela.
Chief Antonio Oladehinde Fernandez, Nigeria’s Reclusive Billionaire
My Mum (the Ogidi Iyaniwura herself) loves King Sunny Ade a lot. I mean a lot. And she has all of them, from ‘Ogun‘ to ‘Let Them Say’. Growing up in a bubbling street in West Africa, I also came to like KSA and from his songs, I heard of a name for the first time. FERNANDEZ. KSA would praise this name endlessly and of course, he was handsomely rewarded. By the way, I came across this quote in one of Reuben Abati’s writings in 2001: ”Those who condemn wealth are those who have none, and see no chance of getting it.”
Antonio Deinde Fernandez’s letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Antonio Deinde Fernandez’s letter to the Security Council of the United Nations.
Welcome to the world of one of Africa’s richest men: HIS EXCELLENCY, OLUWO ANTONIO OLADEINDE FERNANDEZ, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative (see his writings to the President of the United Nations Security Council and United Nations Secretary General on behalf of President Ange-Félix Patassé of the Central African Republic in 1998 in the pictures). When it comes to the most impressive and exuberant display of the splendour of wealth, Fernandez dusts them all -by miles. The name ‘Fernandez’ is Portuguese in origin and shows that he is of the popular Fernandez family of Lagos. Historical accounts show that the Fernandezes were originally descendants of freed slaves from Brazil, where Portuguese is the official language. Some of the first modern-styled buildings in Lagos were built by the Fernandezes, and these buildings are known for their spectacular Brazilian architecture. Portuguese navigators were also the first European explorers to reach Lagos State. Actually, they gave the state the name ‘Lagos’ (see the meaning of all the 36 states of Nigeria here:http://iyaniwura.com/36-states-of-nigeria-and-their-meanings/)
This yacht, was once owned by Chief Fernandez. He named it ‘Yemoja’.
For Ovation magazine to feature a man in 40 pages says a lot about his prestigious standing. Very secretive (not in a bad way or let me say he guards his privacy jealously) and aloof (he very rarely comes to Nigeria where he is from), this is one rich man in a class and mansion of his own -with no rivals but maybe a few big cats. His wealth has dazed and fazed many, and left even many more speechless. ANTONIO DEINDE FERNANDEZ. Okay, enough of that. Let’s get some bits on him:
Inside Yemoja. If you look closely to the right on the wall, you will the insignia of the motto of his family depicting the two rams. Check out the African carvings on the staircase. Exxxxxxquisite.
A peep inside the yacht, Yemoja. African carvings, ornate paintings and a picture of the Baba sitting on the table reflect the allure of one of Africa’s richest men.
-He is the perfect combination of a diplomat (you can also refer to that as ambassador), businessman and yes, a gentleman. He is multilingual, tall and dark (yeah, take a look at the pix again, will you?)
-Even though he is Nigerian, he was appointed the Permanent Representative of Central African Republic (CAR) at the United Nations in 1997 (ain’t that classy?, but with the current turmoil in CAR, with former President Francois Bozize fleeing the nation, things are hazy). -Fernandez is said to have interests in the CAR’s oil industry (at a time, he was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic). That does not include his bauxite (for aluminum) exports, gold mines (in Angola) and diamonds pits. He owns Petro Inett, an oil company. Petro Inett is just one of them. He also has shares in View, Sandcat Petroleum, Sanantonio, Goldfields, Voguehope, Grantdalem Inuola, Sandcat Goldfields (cat, cat, now I understand those two cats…lol), Woods and Petro Inett Equatorial Guinea.
-Before then, he had served as the Special Adviser to the President of Mozambique on International Economic Matters and from 1992-1995, he was the Ambassador-at-Large for the Republic of Togo and Angola.
-He was also once the Consul for Benin Republic (then Republic of Dahomey) (1966), made the Economic Advisor to the Angolan Government in 1982 (just for perspective, only Nigeria produces more oil than Angola in Africa, shey you gerrit?). To be specific, he was a long-time adviser to President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola (he’s been ruling since 1975).
Still inside the yacht, formerly named Yemoja.
-In 1984, he was the Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the United Nations. At a point, he was a Deputy Minister of Finance in Swaziland. Okay, at this point, I have to start singing ‘bibire koshe fowo ra o ti daju!‘ lol! #NaJokeO! But you fit enjoy the song here, take am calm body….lol>>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BzmQQ58wGI
-He has houses in Kano, built a tower for himself in Lagos (where he was born in 1936), New York (where he is said to stay almost permanently), Scotland, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. But that’s not all, he has accounts in the Cayman Islands, France, Switzerland (I love that country joor), Ireland, Hong Kong, Scotland and the United States. Don’t ask me of Nigeria.
The Yoruba High Chief with his Kano wife, Haleema.
-He surrounds himself with the finest, classiest and the most exquisite things that money can buy. Do you know of any other moneybag who travels around in a convoy of pink Rolls Royces? Baba ni Deinde! (or wetin you think? Na my own opinion be this o, talk ya own!) And yes, if you have the misfortune (lol!) of entering a restaurant before him, you will have to vacate -unless maybe you are Bill Gates. His Excellency is said not to dine where there are commoners. Talk of class! #NaWa!
Another view inside Yemoja.
A table for the family inside the yacht.
Nice carvings, there. Still in the yacht.
An aerial view of the yacht.
In a divorce case with one of his former wives, it was revealed that he splashed 200,000 British Pounds on his seven-storey townhouse to buy 1,000 books of gold leaf to ‘toosh’ up the already ‘tooshed’ cornices and balustrades. This man is just too much! 200,000 Pounds = N51 million naira. Not much, abi? It was also revealed by his former wife that in one of his houses in France, the wine collection (used in the wedding celebrations of their two daughters) alone is worth about $1 million (calm down, it’s just N160 million). Atimes, I cannot but just wonder about how the world is so so skewed in terms of wealth distribution. Some have more than they can ever spend or use, while some just manage to exist. Something somewhere is definitely wrong with humans, the so-called higher animals. Even animals do not have such wealth disparity. Well, it’s just a thought.
-A high chief of the Ogboni Confraternity, he is highly revered in his Yorubaland and his family motto is: Aguntan meji kii mumi ninu koto kan na (see images for the insignia). Okay, what that simply means is that two rams cannot drink from the same container. Or some people will say, there cannot be two captains on a ship. Well, that’s correct, there is no other Antonio Deinde Fernandez (the Big Masquerade). By the way, take a very good look at the chain on his neck. You gerrit? LOL!
His New York mansion, put up for sale at a time. In the house, his initials are engraved in bronze on the doors. His former wife, Aduke, feared he was putting up this house for sale to buy a yacht.
-He once married (some reports insist they were only romantically linked) the Erelu of Lagos, Abiola Dosumu but they fell apart and the Erelu of Lagos has since stopped using his name,Fernandez.
The Erelu Kuti of Lagos, Omooba (Princess) Abiola Dosunmu. She is always wearing white. In her role as the Erelu Kuti, she acts as the ceremonial Queen Mother, and when an Oba of Lagos dies, she acts as the Queen Regent until the Council of Afobajes (Kingmakers) choose a new King. Erelu Abiola of Lagos remains one of the most widely-respected women in Africa.
Today, he is married to a beauty from Kano State. Her name? Haleema, and has a daughter, Mahreyah. She is said to be of the Alhaji Muhammadu Maude (also known as Maude Tobacco) family of Kano. Alhaji Maude was the Presidential Liaison Officer for Kano State during the Shehu Shagari presidency. A wealthy businessman, he made attempts to become governor of Kano State in the 1980s but lost even though his campaign was one of the most colourful and was associated with the use of yan banga, local thugs.
Yemoja, Goddess of the Seas and Oceans. #WhenItStillBelongedToHim.
-In 2012, he denied reuniting with Aduke, his former wife. The chief thundered: ‘It’s a big lie. It will never happen, even in a million years.’
-He owns one of the most luxurious homes in Kano State (with one of the largest horse stables and farms in Nigeria, one of the Boko Haram battles in January 2012 during which the pregnant wife of one of the Boko Haram leaders was reportedly killed, was close to his property). But the house is now said to be falling apart. Well, he doesn’t stay at home! He finished from Cambridge University and Columbia University (business degree) and has been using private jets long before people like Dangote and what is the name of that man again o….ehen! Adenuga! started dreaming of a billion dollars.
-He has been in the diplomatic business since 1966 so billions are not new to him. He has direct contacts to some of the most powerful world leaders, business executives and entrepreneurs. He is said to be very close to leaders like Nelson Mandela and George Walker Bush -and they address themselves by the first names. He surely pulls the strings. At a time, he wanted to sue a decorating firm for publishing the pictures of one of his properties that they had worked on. Okay o.
-A very deft diplomat was also instrumental to the Bangui Agreements of 1997. He has denied having any links with the Nkomati Accords signed in 1984 between Mozambique and South Africa, to which some have given him credits. He gave brilliant speeches at the United Nations, and below is an excerpt:
Mr. Fernandez (Central African Republic) I take pleasure in congratulating Mr. Opertti on his election to the presidency of the General Assembly at its fifty-third session, and I pledge my delegation’s full cooperation. I commend his predecessor, Mr. Udovenko, for bringing the fifty-second session of the General Assembly to a successful conclusion. I take great pleasure in expressing my pride in our Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. His leadership and many achievements during the short period of his tenure are highly commendable. Just as this session of the General Assembly coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it also coincides, providentially, with the fiftieth anniversary of the commencement of peacekeeping operations by the United Nations.
These coincidences are striking because, while one was envisaged in the Charter of our Organization and was the subject of painstaking negotiations, the other was a chance development, not having been envisaged in the Charter. Yet both have had a profound effect on the influence of the United Nations in global affairs and on the perception of the Organization by those whom it was established to serve and who were identified in the opening words of the Charter as “We the peoples of the United Nations”.
The double celebration this year should also enable us to appreciate better the interrelationship between human rights and peacekeeping. There can be no question of human rights being enjoyed in a situation of conflict. Put another way, conflicts create conditions for the most outrageous violations of human rights, since, contrary to all international law and rationality, the most vulnerable in society — children, women and the aged — are often targeted and deprived of the most basic of human rights, the right to life.
As we define and refine our Organization’s responsibilities in peacekeeping, which, by common consent, is now taken in its broadest sense to mean the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, let us always be conscious that the universal enjoyment of human rights, one of the major aspirations of humanity, cannot and will not be achieved unless we devote as much effort to the elimination of the conditions that provoke the violation of those rights.
I believe that it is with this fact in mind that international organizations, whether global, regional or subregional, have been devoting considerable time to devising effective means of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in their various area of competence. Of course, the United Nations, with its unique role as the only global Organization invested with authority for the maintenance of international peace and security, is, appropriately, taking the lead in these efforts….
-In 1987, his American wife of 25 years, Barbara J. Fernandez, filed for divorce, and the proceedings of the case was at the Supreme Court of the State of Connecticut (Barbara Fernandez v. Antonio Deinde Fernandez (13283) and the case ‘involved the applicability of the doctrine of diplomatic immunity to an action for marital dissolution and equitable property distribution.’ As at the time of the divorce, Barbara Fernandez stated ‘an international businessman and diplomat who has admitted to being one of the richest men in Africa. He heads dozens of companies, and I believe his net worth exceeds $75 million.’ She (plaintiff) also stated that, in her opinion ‘the defendant could easily sell or transfer assets that are relevant to her claims for relief.’ (Fernandez vs. Fernandez).
–Ambassador Antonio Deinde Fernandez ‘claimed diplomatic immunity by virtue of his status as an ambassador to the United Nations for the People’s Republic of Mozambique’, and moved that the court dismiss the entire suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. A waiver was later provided, and the full text of the waiver went thus, providing: ‘Limited Waiver of Immunity.’ ‘Pursuant to Article 32 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the People’s Republic of Mozambique hereby waives the immunity extended by the United States of America to Ambassador Antonio Deinde Fernandez under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the following limited and restricted extent only…’
-She was awarded the 4 million pounds (over one billion naira) mansion in New York.’The case involved an American citizen looking for relief in an American court from a marriage consecrated in this country.’ In addition to the support and the assets, she also applied for an ex parteprejudgment order to provide protection for her ‘interest in the couple’s house in Greenwich, Connecticut’ purchased in 1974 by Santa Barbara Estates USA Inc., a Shell corporation. Her application was granted, with an attachment of the defendant’s property worth $8 million. #Faints!
-His ‘high-flying’ career in Mozambique was a result of his cosy relationship with General Ali Mahfoud, the former Chief of Army Staff of the Tanzanian Army. General Mahfoud happened to be a friend of the revolutionary fighter and President of Mozambique, Samora Machel. One thing led to the other, and Fernandez was made an Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Mozambique. Samora Machel later died in a plane crash in 1986. His wife, Graca Machel is now Nelson Mandela’s wife and remains the only woman in the world to be First Lady of two different countries.
-In May 1999, his name was mentioned in a controversial 170,000 British pounds transaction with Nelson Mandela’s name also mentioned. Mandela’s lawyers denied it and said the scandal was a smear campaign on Mr. Mandela, and that Mandela never accepted any money as a kickback for fixing an oil deal. Other names that were sha mentioned in the deal included the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Fernandez’s PetroInett and General Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar, Nigeria’s former military ruler. One of the leaked letters provided hinted at a meeting at an Abuja airport between Abdusalami, Mandela and Fernandez. The Guardian of United Kingdom and other outlets made a big news out of it, but it was in 1999, many Nigerians were either dulled by MKO’s death, too excited with Abacha’s demise or looking forward to the ‘nascent’ democracy than to bother themselves with any oil deals between super-rich Africans. Mandela’s aides said the cheques were sent to Mandela’s personal lawyer by Fernandez as an ‘unsolicited contribution’ for his children fund. That was not the first time Mandela and Fernandez’s paths would cross, and not the first time Mandela’s name would be mentioned in Nigerian money- General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida reportedly donated millions of dollars to Mandela’s ANC. Hmnn…emo lukutu kpebe.
-In 2003, his wife, Mrs. Aduke Ayinke O. Fernandez, sued him for divorce and financial provision (including maintenance for their two daughters, Atinuke and Abimbola) to the tune of $400 million (an estimated half of his fortune, she also wanted him to be forced to sell of his gold, diamonds, oil interests, luxury property and other assets across the globe) in what was one of the biggest divorce cases in the world. She demanded for a lump sum of £5 million, £75,000 every month for three years and a slice of the properties owned by the couple in France, Scotland and the United States. Mrs. Aduke tendered the divorce papers in the Court of Session in Edinburgh stating that he was excessively controlling and ‘domineering in his behaviour, had no respect for educated women and implanted surveillance devices in their home after he became irrationally jealous of her personal trainer.’ At a time when Chief Fernandez was absent during one of the court hearings, LordMacphail ruled that she be paid a sum of £1,020,000 plus interest and expenses. His lawyer told the court the amount represented a ‘tiny fraction’ of his fabulous wealth. He was actually aware of the consequences of his absence in the court.
-Fernandez had moved out of their £3 million seven-storey Georgian-styled residence in Drumseugh, Edinburgh in May of that year, and stayed at the Ritz Hotel in Paris while she stayed behind. They both set up the house in 1999. He defended himself stating that their marriage was never valid and does not deserve a kobo, and that they got married under traditional tribal law, at a time when he was still married to his American wife, Barbara, whom he did not divorce until 1990. She contested the claim, saying they got married in Oyo State, Nigeria, in November, 1982. She also stated that her case was not even based on that, but upon the fact that they have been living together under Scottish law as man and wife. Mrs. Fernandez’s lawyer demanded that the court compel Fernandez to produce a full breakdown of his assets within a week but the application was opposed by Deinde’s lawyer who stated that was impossible to do within such a short time frame. The judge refused the application, agreeing with Fernandez’s lawyer. How the case later ended, no one sabi. However, under Scottish law, couple’s assets are split 50-50 in divorce cases. But as stated, how it was resolved, remains unclear. However, an agreement was said to have been reached at the end of the day, and the terms were not disclosed but Mrs. Fernandez accepted that ‘no valid marriage existed between them.’ This is an excerpt of the opinion of Lord Macphail on the case:
”The defender subsequently maintained that the agreement was at an end because the pursuer had failed to withdraw the action regarding the château in France and had failed to keep the agreement confidential in that she had disclosed its contents to her staff and solicitors. He therefore did not pay the pursuer periodically as agreed. The pursuer then lodged an action for declarator and payment, asking the court to declare that the agreement remained legally binding and enforceable and that the defender should pay her the £30,000 at the end of each month from August 2003 for three years. To that end she sought £1,020,000 plus interest and expenses.
A four-day hearing was fixed for the action in October 2005, which proved inadequate to hear all the evidence. Lord Macphail accordingly appointed a continued hearing from 15 to 18 August 2006 as these were the only dates in 2006 at which the defender’s counsel was able to attend. However, on 14th July 2006, the defender’s solicitors informed the court that they had withdrawn from acting for him. The pursuer’s solicitors therefore used the procedural rules to try to find out if the defender intended to continue to defend the action. They failed to locate him at the château or at the Ritz Hotel in Paris where he also resided. Although he was eventually traced at the château, the defender refused to accept the notice from the pursuer’s solicitors. The pursuer’s solicitors therefore contacted the defender’s lawyers in New York and Paris to inform them that the pursuer intended to ask for decree by default for the money and declaration sought….”
NB:This summary is provided to assist in understanding the Court’s decision. It does not form part of the reasons for that decision. The full report of the Court is the only authoritative document.
-She also claimed ownership to half of Deinde’s Cayman Islands-based interests in gold, oil and diamonds in addition to the £3 million house and a £700,000 apartment plus their 19th century castle, the Chateau de Bois Feuillette, in France. Set upon 25 acres in Verberie, Picardy, north of Paris, the chateau is believed to be worth £1 million but Mrs. Aduke, whose always had her designer clothes flown to Edinburgh from France, claimed that the wine collections in the chateau alone are worth £1 million, and said her husband had given her the chateau. She also laid claim to two plots of land in Palma, Majorca, with a worth of £600,000. She also demanded for a fair share of all the sales of Deinde’s shares in his various companies. Little wonder many rich men are insisting on solid pre-nups today. This one na gbese o!
-When things were rosy between the duo, Chief Deinde was made the Bojiri of Lagos while she was made the Yeye Bojiri of Lagos by the late Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan in 1992. As at that time, they were based in Paris, France and made a grand entry into Nigeria in their private jet. I wonder how many Nigerians had private jets in 1992. Okay, I don hear. MKO.
-In 2010, Fernandez put up his Stanford White Mansion at New Rochelle, Premium Point Peninsula, New York for sale. The 2.82 acre edifice was valued at £10 million.
-Now, I need to say this: no one knows exactly how much the legendary Fernandez is worth right now (some call him ‘mysterious’ do you agree?). But if he had an excess of $75 million as at 1989, imagine how much he will be worth now, provided all is well and prudently managed. In July 2003, the Telegraph UK listed his wealth as £600 million ($912 million). But that’s a rough estimate and Forbes has not been able to pin down the exact wealth of the flamboyant African diplomat. He owned an LR-Class, 47-metre, 153 feet Feadship motor steel and aluminum luxury megayacht named ‘Yemoja’ (the Yoruba Mother Goddess of the Oceans & Seas, the Essence of Motherhood and the Protector of Children, ‘Mother of the Fishes’).
–With space for eight guests and nine professional crew, Deinde Fernandez spends considerable time sailing the world in his yacht. The yacht was built by De Voogt Naval Architects (Feadship, Royal Dutch Shipyards) of the Netherlands and was launched in 1994, flagged in Bermuda but its home port is in Greece. Customized and not available for charter (yachts of this size usually go for about one million euros per week for charter, that’s about N200 million naira), she has three suites (one owner cabin, one double cabin and one twin cabin) in addition to possessing the most sophisticated stabilization systems that ensure that roll motion effect is reduced to a minimum ensuring a flawless and luxurious cruising experience. Her deck is made of teak while facilities include a jacuzzi/spa (see pictures). -As at July 2006, Yemoja was seen moored in Monaco, the world’s playground of the very richest. Yemoja now goes by a new name, she is now called Hud Hud, since May 2000 when it was offered for sale for $795,000, with the owner (Chief Deinde) said to be ‘moving up’. She has a maximum cruising speed of 14.50 knots (that’s almost 27km/h, slower than many okadas in Nigeria #LOL!). She has two engines made by Caterpillar, and runs on diesel.
This is for those who wish to own their own yachts one day. This is a name to watch out for. Yeah, cruise the seas!
Formerly called Yemoja, the yacht is now called Hud Hud.
-The yacht also has an exercise room, study/library, children’s playroom and a main deck family room that can be converted to a VIP suite. It is usually used during summers only and stored under cover during the winter.
The yacht, Hud Hud, once owned by Chief Antonio Oladeinde Fernandez.
-He has three daughters. Atinuke, Abimbola and Mahreyah. Abimbola has started a music career, with the stage name, Madam Luxe. In March 2011, he was in Nigeria at the MTN-sponsored Lagos Polo International Tournament. Dangote was also in attendance.
Abimbola, daughter of the chief.
-One very unique thing about this Yoruba high chief is that unlike many other moneybags in Nigeria today, he did not make his money in Nigerian public office but rather by working as a suave and most talented diplomat FOR other nations of the globe, at a time when IBB and others were struggling over coups to rule Nigeria, he was already dealing with governments one-on-one. He has no traceable business or investment in Nigeria and stays virtually permanently outside the country (na your money o but nothing for we people of Nigeria,not even a tashere foundation or school tabi hospital. No lele o, Baba God at the top is watching all of us on His Samsung Galaxy). It is quite unfortunate that quite little is known about him (haha, I know how much I wrote on Adenuga na…lol!) because of intense privacy (which he has every right to), and what that means is that we may never know his real worth. At any rate, I stick to Forbes and Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index which lists Aliko Dangote as the richest black person on the third planet in the Solar System. Maybe a day will come when the Big Masquerade, the Afobaje (Kingmaker), the Custodian of Prosperity & Panache, Olori Ogboni Agba (Supreme Ogboni Chief) and Olori Oluwo (Head of the Occult) of Lagos, will come out and displace the Kano tycoon. If that day comes, this piece will be rewritten. Let’s take a good look at some of his titles, honours and awards (he is a tribal Yoruba chief and said to be one of the most prominent members of the Ogboni Confraternity):
His Excellency, AMBASSADOR, CHIEF ANTONIO DEINDE FERNANDEZ.
–His Imperial Highness Garsan Fulanin Kano (Kano State, Nigeria).
-Baron of Dudley (England). -Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Leopard (Grand Officer of the National Order of the Leopard, the Democratic Republic of Congo)
-Grand Officier de l’Ordre du Merite Centrafricain (Grand Officer of the Order of Merit, Central African Republic).
-Grand Officier de l’Ordre du Mono (Grand Officer of the Order of Mono, Togo).
-Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite du Gabon (Commander of the National Order of Merit, Gabon).
-Officier du Ouissam Alaouite (Officer of the Ouissam Alaouite, Morocco where the descendants of the Alaouite dynasty rule as kings. The present is King Sidi Mohammed VI). See picture below for this award:
The Officier du Ouissam Alaouite Award (Officer of the Ouissam Alaouite, Kingdom of Morocco)
CULLED FROM IYANIWURA.COM