Yoruba business moguls have a lot to learn from the life and times of the Late Chief Deinde Fernandez, who passed away last week, Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere Renewal Group, has said.
In a statement issued on Monday by the group’s programme officer, Kunle Famoriyo, the ARG condoled the bereaved family and pointed out 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”.
The group added that Fernandez deliberately put his philanthropy off the public glare.
ARG’s statement reads further: “We must bring to the fore however, that Late Amb Fernandez played critical, significant and enabling role during the emergence of the current democratic republic that Nigeria currently enjoys. 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.
“However, late Amb Fernandez played a behind-the-scene role; he deployed his resources, time and network to strengthen prodemocracy 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.
“ARG therefore condoles with his bereaved family and reinstate our resolve to continue to advocate for equity, Justice in and the restructuring of Nigeria, causes that the late Fernandez amply supported”.