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Exclusive: What Fernandez told me days before he died-Pastor Tunde Bakare
The billionaire's household is beginning to squabble

Exclusive: What Fernandez told me days before he died-Pastor Tunde Bakare

Adeleke Adeola

Unknown to many, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly had a cosy relationship with the late billionaire  businessman, Ambassador Deinde Fernandez.

The popular Pastor made the disclosure during preliminary statements before he preached to his congregation on Sunday September 6, 2015 where he revealed that he was actually with the late businessman a few weeks ago-and spent time praying for him during his battle with illness.

Tunde Bakare

Tunde Bakare

Pastor Bakare said he got a call from Fernandez a few days before he died and the sick man insisted that he would want Bakare to come visit him personally. According to Bakare, he told Fernandez that he had just left where he was at the time and as such they could just discuss on the phone but Fernandez would have none of it. The way Fernandez spoke, convinced Bakare that the situation was very critical and so he began to make arrangements to fly to Belgium to visit him.

Pastor Bakare revealed that he was in the process of those arrangements when he got the shocking call that the influential businessman had died-he was devastated.

Recalling how they first met, Pastor Bakare disclosed that their relationship began when he went into politics as running mate of General Buhari in the 2011 Presidential elections Fernandez indeed made the first move

“We were in the middle of the campaign when I got a call that a businessman wanted our account details because he wanted to make some contributions to our campaign”.Bakare stated.

Bakare said that Fernandez was impressed that he, a Pastor, who had been preaching on the pulpit had taken the step of going into politics to right the wrongs he had been talking about. And so he wanted to offer his financial support for such a brave move.

Bakare revealed that he eventually informed General Buhari of the overture and it was only when he got the green light from General Buhari that the account details were handed to Fernandez-and he reportedly wired a very hefty sum of money, according to Bakare.

Since that gesture, he has been in touch with the businessman whom many describe as reclusive and a friend of many African leaders. From the account of Bakare, it can be deduced that Fernandez, the Oluwo of the Ogbeni Fraternity, had drawn nearer to God Almighty before he breathed his last.

A Great Supporter of Yoruba Tradition

Meanwhile, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has described the late Ambassador Deinde Fernandez as a man who never toyed with the Yoruba tradition.

Describing him as called an illustrious Nigerian and reputable international businessman and diplomat, the groupn stated “ARG would like to put on record that not only did the late Fernandez have a legacy of philanthropic services rendered to a wide range of institutions across the world, he was definitely a firm believer and promoter of Yoruba traditional institutions and religion which he demonstrated in many unique ways.

“However, his philanthropy is off the public gaze, a deliberate decision of this wonderful and colorful man.

“We must bring to the fore that the late Ambassador Fernandez played critical, significant and enabling role during the emergence of the current democratic republic that Nigeria currently enjoys,” the group said.

ARG recalled that during the difficult days of the military era, many members of the business class and political elites distanced themselves from pro-democracy and socio-political activisms and refused all entreaties for support overtly or covertly, but Fernandez stood with the people.

“However, the late Ambassador Fernandez played a behind-the-scene role; he deployed his resources, time and network to strengthen pro-democracy struggles in Nigeria.

“This astute philanthropist believed and supported the Yoruba political viewpoint and struggle as embodied in the Afenifere philosophy.

“This is a lesson that Yoruba Business moguls can and should learn from the late Ambassador.

“Many Nigerians, especially the youths would not know of his contributions to a most enabling unit of the anti-military struggle in Nigeria.

“It is therefore important, as living witnesses, to document this for posterity,” the ARG said while condoling with the bereaved family.

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