ADIEU CHIEF FERNANDEZ by Chief Abiola Johnson( )


The personality is no less than Chief Antonio Oladeinde Fernandez aged 79. His gargantuan virtues cannot be sufficiently described in this political blog specialising on political events in Lagos. For this reason, I am introducing some linkable sites suitable for clicking for an insight into his personality.

However, my heart goes out to my erstwhile colleague in the Lagos State Executive Council, Hon. Mrs Teju Phillips, most notable and recognised daughter of the demised international business magnate. Again, I must note a few relevant points about the late chief especially those relating to his political connections and my personal relationship with him:

  • Chief Fernandez attended St Gregory’s College (my alma mater) and left after Form 2 to, as a boisterous personality, seek greener pasture in the USA.
  • His mates in St Gregory’s College included Chief Bode Emmanuel, Dr Abosede Emmanuel, Dr Olufemi Bucknor, Mr Quarshie Macgregor, late Mr Angus Abayomi Macgregor and several others.
  • His first exposure to big business was when while driving a taxi in New York, USA, he overheard a conversation about expensive mineral deposits in some parts of Africa. He took up the challenge, thickly embroiled himself in the deals and there was no going back for him.
  • He subsequently became so rich and politically enamoured by many African Heads of States that he became the only ever ambassador plenipotentiary to several African countries.
  • He later teamed up with several international companies and successfully explored for oil in Nigeria. He had married a lady called Aduke and his exploits and the eventual breakup of the union are reported in my links below.
  • On the approach of the civilian government after the Abubakar Abdulsalami regime, Uncle Deinde had accepted the fraternity of Senator Bola Tinubu and worked diligently towards Tinubu’s success as the AD party governor of Lagos State.
  • Governor Tinubu had a la Segun Dawodu, son of AD Leader, Ganiyu Dawodu and Dupe Adelaja, daughter of NADECO chieftain, Senator Abraham Adesanya, appointed Mrs Teju Phillips, Chartered Accountant daughter of Chief Fernandez, as Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism. The analogy and reference to Segun and Dupe is to pinpoint that their parents were not in support of their appointments and this may have been the same situation with Teju’s appointment.
  • It is believed that the relationship between Chief Fernandez and Governor Tinubu torn asunder later, for reasons unknown to me.
  • Chief Fernandez had invited us, Lagos Titled Chiefs, to be present at his wedding to a newfound young wife, a Hausa Fulani princess, in Kano in 2003. He had chartered a private plane and many chiefs including my octogenarian aunty, Chief Mrs Princess Kumba Dosunmu-Ogunbi, nee Ashley, honoured his invitation but I was unable to make the trip. Some of Uncle Deinde’s friends including Chief Bode Emmanuel, Chairman of Hog Robinson Insurance Company and Borini Prono contractors also made the trip.
  • I found out later that his daughter, Teju, had to be included on the Kano trip upon pressure from Chief Deinde’s friends.
  • Reliable responses to my enquiries about the father and daughter imbroglio revealed that there was an outstanding rift between the maternal side of Teju and her paternal aunt, Alhaja Odunewu which had consistently resulted in the rift between father and daughter.
  • The rift referred to resulted in the Chief placing an advert in a Nigerian national newspaper disclaiming his paternity of the fifty-year old daughter of his. The matter, I understand, was later visited and interrogated by the Obas of Ile-Ife, Oba Lipede of Abeokuta (Teju’s uncle) and Oba Oyekan of Lagos and a settlement of sorts was reached.
  • It was a déjà vu when Chief Fernandez later publicly disowned the Erelu of Lagos, Chief Mrs Abiola Dosunmu Elegbede-Fernandez, as his wife. He also disowned the daughter from the marriage. He had married Erelu Abiola with an accompanying flurry of dazzling publicity and the Erelu, being herself a flamboyant princess of dashing beauty, sophistication and accoutrements of elegance, had basked in the euphoria of the international publicity engendered by the union. I will, in due course, narrate how Erelu Abiola Elegbede, Late Chief TOS Benson, late Chief Davis, the Bagbimo of Lagos, late Chief Ajibola Balogun, the Balogun of Lagos, late Chief Dele Daramola, theFiwajoye of Lagos and my cousin, Olori Olabisi Oyeyan had fiercely and stridently supported the late Oba Oyekan of Lagos when, upon the passing away of my father, the Apesin of Lagos, Chief JM Johnson, the Oba had offered and conferred me with the title of Apesin of Lagos in 1987. I sought and received the total support of the persons mentioned when two very powerful chiefs, late Chief Dr Abiola Akerele, the Lisa of Lagos and late Chief Justice GBA Coker, the Baba Sale of Lagos objected to my capping on account of my tender age. A final visit to my late father’s graveside added impetus to the desire and it was slam-dunk and a done deal.
  • My last acquaintance with Chief Fernandez was when he visited Lagos Island a few years ago, chauffeur-driven round Lagos island by his Caucasian staff, he stopped by the Waka Club in the Campos area of Lagos, asked after my late father and the late founder of the Waka Club, Baba Ite Pa Domingo Amidu. It was our last meeting and the parting was well made.

At the risk of being verbose, I must insist that it is necessary for me to show proof that I am not an “Atounrinwa” (brought to Lagos) and the history of Lagos politics must be adequately made available for the pedagogy of my readers. There is no Lagos family that I do not have consanguinity, nexus, fraternity or affinity with and my next article about the Fowler family will further showcase and accentuate this fact.

Read more about late Fernandez at

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