Antonio Oladeinde-Fernandez Nigeria's Reclusive Billionaire

Nigeria’s business magnate and one of the richest men in Africa, Chief Antonio Oladeinde Fernandez, died on Tuesday, September 1, in Brussels, Belgium, at the age of 79.
Sources close to the family, who however expressed shock in his sudden demise, said he died of an age-related ailment.
We share some stunning photos about the life and times of the deceased Diplomat and permanent representative of Central African Republic to the United Nations. Source: Dele Momodu/Twitter
A younger Fernandez
Fernandez (right) with his last wife, Halima
Fernandez, with Halima in his Kano home
Fernandez inside his private jet with Halima. He was said to have six of them
A turbaned Fernandez
Fernandez (right) with former US President George Bush (senior)
Fernandez (right) with his family when he invited Africa’s icon, Nelson Mandela (left) on his eye-popping island in New York

Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu shares the luxury of billionaire Fernandez, when Fernandez invited him from London for lunch in Edinburgh, Scotland. Momodu (left) with Fernandez (right)

Fernandez and his daughter, Bimbola, a.k.a Bim, a singer based in New York

A portrait of Fernandez as a member of the Ogboni Confraternity
YEMOJA, the ocean-going yacht owned by Fernandez. Its details is available on for charter

Inside Yemoja

Fernandez island home in New York , United States

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. I Call Him The Emperor of Blinding Swagger. Terrific Swagger. He Is So Classy That Whenever He Enters A Restaurant To Eat, Everyone Else Must Leave Because He Cannot Eat With The 'Commoners'. He Takes Over Entire Restaurants For The Night To Avoid Encountering 'RiffRaff'. (Chai! Poor Man Don Suffer). Of All The Richest Nigerians I Know, None Comes Close To This Man When It Comes To The Level Of Style, 'Tooshness' & Money-Backed Aloofness. But Who Is He? How He Made His Money? His Marriages? Why He Left His House For A Hotel?

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'

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:

-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, 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).

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.

-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.

-He surrounds himself with the finest, classiest and the most exquisite things that money can buy.

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.

-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.

-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.

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.

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…’

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 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)

Thanks for your time.