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Thursday, 14 July 2016

I left Kano a married woman, now I’m back a widow -Baroness Halima Fernandez

Baroness Halima Fernandez with Late Billionaire husband

By Paul Ukpabio

When Ambassador Anthonio Oladeinde Fernandez passed on Tuesday September 1st, 2015, the news spread around the world in seconds, and many in different countries and different continents were somehow affected because Fernandez was an influential billionaire with interest in many places: Though with a big family and friends, the closest to him at that moment of transition, was his dear wife, the Baroness of Dudley, Halima Fernandez.

And it was to the Baroness that the duty of carrying out the wish of the late Baron of Dudley and one of the richest men to come out of Africa, His Excellency, Anthonio Deinde Fernandez, to be buried in the city of Belgium, fell upon.

Perhaps putting together an exotic funeral befitting of such a world class figure who had been a Permanent Representative of so many African countries including Central African Republic and was known to be a friend of world leaders “like late Nelson Mandela, George Bush Senior, Mobutu Seseseko, Gnassimgbe Eyadema and Kofi Annan” was indeed not an easy task.

The Baroness confessed that “it was a deep moment for me, having to take on the pain of my beloved husband, and at the same time, face the duty of putting together a funeral that he would have loved.”

Insider information confirmed how family members were assisted in different ways by the Baroness Halima Fernandez, to ensure that they gathered in Belgium to honour their late hero and father at a funeral service laid out at and burial that followed in the same city.

Why Belgium was chosen for the burial ceremony of course became an immediate cause of worry among family members who are said not to have been privy to the late billionaires wish and soon snowballed to a family squabble with the wife.

But apparently expectant of such a misgiving, the late billionaire Anthonio Deinde Fernandez, who was born in the late 1920s in Isale Eko and hailed from the Olumegbon Royal Family of Isale Eko had planned ahead: Said the late man’s wife, “I continually admire his innate ability to be in charge of details of everything. He was indeed a great man. A man I admired and loved deeply.”

Baroness Halima Fernandez said her
late husband was most admirable in his attention for details, and had talked to some members of the family on how life should be within his family, even after he must have gone.

According to a friend of the Late Fernandez Mr. Chimazuru Oblong Nnamdi who was also at the classy funeral and who read an oration, said he was privileged to witness how the Chief had told his senior most child how his wife the Baroness should be given good support after he must have passed away.

The late Fernandez had a loud marriage with Kano born Halima from the Maude family in Kano and was in Lagos, his home place with his wife. A source said the love birds were introduced to each other by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. The late Fernandez and late Emir were good friends in their life time. It was the Emir who also turbaned Fernandez as the ‘Garsan Fulani Kano,’a title which translates as the Champion of the right of the Fulani people of Kano.

“Our marriage is a part of me that I cherish. That we were married shouldn’t be in contention because it was a popular marriage in Kano and important dignitaries present,” said the Baroness just after the burial of her late husband.

Fernandez and his wife also lived in Kano while he show cased her wherever that was important to him and to his people.

Life After Death of husband

While the billionaire’s wife doted on him just as he doted on her all through their marriage, it was still a tough time for the late billionaire’s widow to come to grips with the death of a loving husband, squealed a close family source.    

“She was always with him, she was at his bed side, and was him all through his dying days,’ added our source. The late billionaire was said to have been in and out of aging sickness which he battled with great effort and carried on so well, until he finally gave up.”

“My husband was a strong man. He had lived a good life, a fine life and even in his dying days, I was proud of him. He fought back sickness; you wouldn’t even know sometimes that he was sick. He was a strong man, a great man,” Baroness Halima Fernandez said.

It is therefore not surprising that months after the death and burial of her late husband billionaire Ambassador Deinde Anthonio Fernandez in Belgium, his widow Baroness Halima Fernandez is still struggling to come to grips with life without her husband,

Halima as her close friends’ call her is said to have told a friend that she has been missing her dear husband, that he was very, very much an adorable man.

When the Ambassador Plenipotentiary married Halima many years back, despite the large turnout and the general public excitement about the couple's marriage, a few society people doubted if the marriage will last, especially since Ambassador Deinde Fernandez, had just few years before then had a bitter divorce with his then wife Aduke now late.

But Halima's marriage to Ambassador Deinde Fernandez lasted, leaving no doubt in people's mind as to the peace the billionaire found in the arms of his loving wife Halima Fernandez.
One cannot help concluding that Ambassador Deinde Fernandez must certainly have found
contentment in the years leading to his last days as the couple flew around the world on exclusive holidays, with him taking time off to spoil her with precious gifts of love.

“Their love life was a good one. Sometimes like that written in story books!” Said a source, “Chief loved his wife: he wanted her to be with him almost all the time. And his wife Baroness Halima Fernandez doted on him. She is still presently grasping with picking up her life from where her late husband left it off through death.”

The Baroness weeks after burial of her husband, splashed some photographs of some aspects of their love life on social media. Photographs of which included those of which they were neck-deep in kiss and hanging out in different countries, on impromptu holidays.

And after her many weeks of mourning were over, she went visiting some of the romantic places she had once visited with her husband, trying to recapture some of those cherished memories.

After that, Baroness Halima Fernandez, the widow of Late Billionaire Deinde Fernandez arrived Kano, Nigeria, to the warm embrace of family and friends.

It was indeed an emotional moment for the Baroness, and from the inner depth of her heart, she greeted from one of her social media platforms, "Good afternoon Kano, the sun feels incredible never knew Kano heat like this. Kowa yabar gida, gida yabar sa. "Happy though she was, she however added in an emotional laden tone, "Alhamdulilahi, after 5 years I'm home. It's more bitter than sweet though, I left a married woman and now I'm back a widow. Allah kayuma Garsan Fulani Rahama. ka gafarta masa." The Baroness later went socialising, making stop over at the royal palace of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, where discussion took place, then later on to Marietta and other places. The few days that followed her visit to Kano, the Baroness made more stop-overs in line with her schedule. Many were pleased to see her and told her so severally. She returned home to Belgium immediately after her visit to Kano.
Back to life
The Baroness of Dudley Halima Fernandez however made a surprise resplendent appearance at this year's Cannes Film festival, the 69th edition few weeks later. An appearance that immediately became viral on the internet. It was her first appearance at an international event after her husband’s death and burial.
The widow of Late Billionaire Deinde Fernandez was later found out, was at the event under the invitation of the famous House of Boucheron, who it was scooped invited only ten of such top world personalities in the entire world.

"Definitely, the Baroness had a swell time as she took on the red carpet with the poise and grace of royalty, and became the cynosure of all eyes," said a foreign news source at the event, who also quoted the Baroness as having referred to the event "as magical." 

For many of her friends, it was a relief to see the Baroness in her social mien after her long period of mourning. 

“It was an event which was difficult to ignore because the House of Boucheron have been our close friends when my husband was alive,” Said the Baroness.

The present and future

Still grappling with the reality of the loss of a husband, a UK based friend of the Baroness of Dudley, said the Baroness will still be minimal with her public appearances, as she is still putting her family affairs together as instructed by her late husband before he breathe his last.

Not long after the friend made this revelation, the Baroness of Dudley and widow of Late Anthonio Deinde Fernandez who had been very visible on many platforms on the social media, withdraw her presence and regularity on the internet.

Another family source said that, “the Baroness is now too busy with the duties that her late husband left in her care. The work is enormous and needs serious concentration which definitely would not allow her time for quite a lot of other things.”

According to another family source, “much of the issues that would have raised much rancour within the family had been well taken care of by the late billionaire, who was well blessed with power to create wealth and shrewd intelligence.”   

Soon it will be a year after Billionaire Anthonio Deinde Fernandez waved a goodbye to his family, friends and business associates across the world.

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