Billionaire businessman Antonio Oladehinde Fernandez who died on Tuesday in Bruessels Belgium has been described as “a happy and very reliable man,” by his daughter, Mrs. Teju Phillips.
Mrs Phillips, a one-time Lagos State commissioner for commerce, also said the Lagos-born business mogul and diplomat, renowned for his immense wealth, was also “a very strict man who had no drama around himself.”
Contrary to media reports about the age of the late industrialist, Mrs. Phillips said her father was born on August 12, 1929, making him 86 years at the time of his death.
Mrs. Phillips, the first child of Fernandez, appeared to be in shock and confirmed that no burial arrangements had yet been made.
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode expressed sadness over his death.
In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, the governor described the deceased as a bureaucrat and an experienced diplomat who gave his all to the service of the African continent during his life time.
The Governor paid glowing tributes to the business tycoon, saying he offered himself for service to ensure the unity of the nation adding that he would remain a true hero.
He said the leadership role of the late Chief Fernandez who saw himself foremost as an African serving as representative for Mozambique, as well as the Central African Republic at the United Nations, should be an inspiration to all.
“Among other virtues, Chief Fernandez dedicated himself to the service of the African nation and will be remembered for his contributions to promote peace, harmony and above all, equity. He has surely left his footprints on the sands of time”, he said.
The governor added that it was quite remarkable that the late Fernandez had the privilege of being among the few diplomats that played a prominent role in promoting peace in Africa and had taken ambassadorial positions in many African countries.
“I wish to convey my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, the good people of Lagos State and Nigerians on this painful loss”, Ambode said.
He also prayed that Almighty God grant the soul of the departed peaceful repose and for the family, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.