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Fernandez:How wife, children clashed over funeral arrangements
Fernandez: Family feud almost ruins funeral

Fernandez:How wife, children clashed over funeral arrangements


The billionaire businessman, Chief Deinde Fernandez was buried last Friday, September 18, 2015 as exclusively reported by www.thelightnews.com but the family feud which had been simmering even when he was alive almost marred the occasion.

We were told by a source at the occasion that the children and his last wife, Halima had a shouting match over the funeral arrangements especially how family and guests were to arrive the venue.

The major grouse of the children was that Mrs. Halima Fernandez relegated them to the background by making the children ride to the venue in a bus, the same as all the other guests (bus shuttles were provided) while she drove to the venue stylishly in a Rolls Royce!

One of the daughters, Antoinette Oyinkan was overheard screaming invectives at her step mother, threatening fire. She was seen going from one person to another to openly protest this arrangement. But it was the late Fernandez’s eldest daughter, Chief (Mrs.) Teju Phillips that doused the tension.

This was how Thisday Columnist, and Ovation Publisher, Bashorun Dele Momodu described the funeral in his column, Pendulum  “Ambassador Fernandez was clearly a global player and it reflected in his ways and acts. I can confirm that this fact paid off handsomely and resoundingly yesterday as the capital city of Belgium bid farewell to an amazing giant. If the dead could look back and see how he was celebrated in death, Chief Fernandez would have been so proud. His wife was on top of the game. She ensured and executed a burial fit for a quintessential King and revered Statesman. That was the only way to describe the uncommon spectacle that was quickly and efficiently smoothly organised and superbly staged in Brussels by one of Africa’s illustrious families.
Chief Fernandez was not an everyday man and even in death, he was able to demonstrate how much an enigma he was. The funeral turned out to be a reunion for most people. So it was for his children who had lived far apart in the past but were unified and united in grief. They chatted, mingled, consoled and comforted one another. I was struck by the remarkable resemblance between Antonio Fernandez Jnr, the eldest son and Chief.

He quipped to me that when some people saw him at the mortuary before the funeral they took to their heels believing Chief had resurrected.  That was the kind of myth and legend that the Ajinijinni Ogun, Chief Deinde Fernandez engendered in his lifetime and obviously in death.

The maturity displayed by the eldest child, Mrs Teju Phillips was commendable and remarkable. At a stage during the sombre service, she called out her siblings and employed emotional skills to ask them to unite for the sake of their dotting dad. They complied and marched out gingerly towards the altar. Many were touched by this infectious display of camaraderie by children, some of whom had never met before the ceremony. I just prayed silently and just said “God bless these children for honouring their dad.”

the church itself is a popular monument in Brussels. Named the Church of Notre Dame du Sablon in the historic Sablon district of Brussels, the church is a Catholic Church originally built around 1400 as a chapel for crossbowmen. It was enlarged in the 15th and 16th centuries and took more than 100 years to complete all of the buildings.

Further restoration work was done about a 100 years ago. The Church is famous for its Brabantine Gothic architecture and Baroque chapels. It has an engaging long choir and enchanting glass canopies. The church is home to many works of Art and a connoisseur would simply not want to leave. Indeed, it is a glorious edifice and monument to Jesus Christ and a befitting place of worship for Kings, nobility and the wealthy and commoners alike. The service for Chief Fernandez was conducted in English and French.

And friends and families came from far and near. The programme was brisk and business-like. There was no time for unnecessary rigmarole. Everything moved at a brisk pace once it all started. The welcome words and prayer came from one of his sons, Mr Akin Fernandez, and the fiery preacher, Pastor Tunde Bakare, a close friend and confidant of the Chief.
The first reading was taken from the book of Acts 2, 25-28 and quickly followed by the book of Psalms 91. Thereafter came another reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 25, 14-30. General intercessions were then read out by the family. It was largely a day of prayers and songs. The music largely came from antiquity and we savoured the experience. The ceremony closed with the popular Frank Sinatra song, “I did it my way.” And it was time for the final journey. The Undertakers moved in expertly to lift the casket on their shoulders followed by the family and the entire congregation.

The family lined up at the entrance to have an opportunity to receive and thank their guests properly and appropriately. After some photo opportunities, off we went to the cemetary. Those in attendance included the family of Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, Chief Bode Emmanuel , Mr and Mrs Yemi Cardoso, Kojo Annan, Prince Nasiru Ado-Bayero, Wole Omoboriowo, Oz Giwa-Amu. Please watch out for more details later.
This journey made it possible to see the importance attached to the passage of Chief Fernandez. The convoy was accompanied and guided all the way by armed police outriders. There were at least six of them.  We were informed that this was an honour reserved only for royalty and world Statesmen and it is clear that Chief Fernandez was considered as such.  We were able to drive without any hindrance from the church to the cemetery and it was surreal not to have the trouble of obeying traffic lights in a major European city. I’m sure that citizens of our host country knew an elephant had fallen by the sheer magnitude and magnificence of what they saw on their streets”.



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