Nobody Knows Grief Like Halima Fernandez


•Billionaire widow arrive homeland in a haze of sorrow

As she alighted in her homeland, the beautiful widow wept and poured out her grief like an opera conductor dreaming in a Handelian mist. Thus Baroness Halima Fernandez, widow of late Ambassador Anthonio Oladeinde Fernandez, wept recently as she arrived in Kano from abroad.
In a heartfelt outpouring of grief, she said: “Good afternoon Kano. The sun feels incredible. Never knew Kano heat like this. Kowa yabar gida, gida yabar sa. Alhamdulilahi. After five years, I’m home. It is 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.”

And as if she mean to reply her traducers spreading the ill news and rumour that she was never married to her late billionaire husband, Halima said: “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 with documentation, and important dignitaries were present.”

It is interesting to know that Baroness Halima is from Maude family in Kano. She met her late husband through the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, and the late Emir turbaned Fernandez as the Garsan Fulani Kano, a title that translates as the Champion of the right of the Fulani people of Kano.

A violinist has his violin, a painter his palette but all a female celebrity has is her baby bump, you would think. You could be forgiven for thinking that the heavily pregnant Nigerian actress, dancer and musician to mention a few, are driven by spasms of self-love to frantically display their baby bumps on the social media. Critics of their action would interpret it as symptom of extreme vanity and esteem issues but fans of the celebrities would simply consider it: ‘moving with the times’ or ‘going with the trend.’

The rate at which local celebrities discard their clothing to reveal their bare skin covering their embryos would leave the conservative gasping for breath and clutching at norms with frenetic speed. The roll call of local female celebrities who are subscribing to this cultural import from Europe and America has become worrisome to folks who believe a woman’s femininity is best preserved and motherhood better ennobled if the contemporary woman could endeavour to keep her hidden graces covered and shielded from the glare of an increasingly nosy and narcissistic world.

Just recently, Dior Chidera Adiele, shocked her fans and raised serious eyebrows by posing completely nude for a photo shoot celebrating her baby bump. The Nollywood actress, in a bold move, flaunted her huge baby bump completely nude like publicity seeking actresses do in Hollywood. No one had dared posing nude with baby bump until Adiele and worries are, the bug will catch on very soon among the nation’s publicity-seeking celebrities. Moralists believe the increasing fascination of Nigerian celebrities with the imported baby bump voyeurism and the reciprocal lust accorded their hankering for acclaim by their fans and media audience, poses inimical challenges to the preservation of Nigerian norms and culture.

Sometime life can play a cruel joke that can turn today’s hero into a villain in a few seconds. A seeming bad circumstance may come with all the didactic precepts of a lifetime. Many of the lessons that guide future actions are sometime learnt on the sacrificial altar of someone else’s misery. In that short spate of time, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, former chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, must have realised how transient life is, and more importantly that in politics, there is no permanent friend, only permanent interest. Since he was removed, he has resigned to the fickle finger of fate, living a low profile life and adjusting to life without the exaggerated obsequiousness and panoplies of power.

However, this might sound stranger than fiction, but it is the bitter truth, Chief Ogbulafor now sells pure water, but not in the archaic, small scale format that abounds everywhere. Back in his native Umuahia, Abia State, and prior to his political relevance, he had a company called NUELA along Aba road, opposite Modern Ceramics Industry, Umuahia that produces table water and ‘pure’ water. On the heels of his forced resignation from his plum position as chairman of self-touted Africa’s largest political party, Ogbulafor renovated the office complex housing NUELA, indicating that politics may be far from his mind at that moment. Today, his pure water business is really booming even as he engages in small politics by the side.

While her husband was alive, she had the sweetest experience of the world; she knew what it is to be the heartthrob of the political godfather. She understood what it is to be courted by the lowly-placed, the high and mighty seeking innumerable favours from her husband. But no sooner her husband died than Alhaja Bose Adedibu, widow of strongman of Ibadan politics, Alaafin Molete, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, tasted the bitter pill of betrayal. In friendship, she found coldness and in trust, she found treason. It appears her whole world has come crashing down like a giant iceberg.

And the reasons are not far-fetched: no sooner the remains of her powerful husband were lowered into the grave than his friends and political associates began to desert his political empire and family. One after the other, they deserted the Adedibu family and would not want to have anything to do with the people he left behind. The situation also forced Bose to shun her late husband’s political associates particularly those he assisted when he was alive who later turned their backs on the family. But such dismal happenstance is now a thing of the past. Today, Bose enjoys a fresh lease of life. No longer is she the morose and disillusioned widow of a former garrison commander and politician. She has picked up the pieces of her life and moved on. How? Wait for details on this page.

The pulpit becomes the cradle and last resort of the disenchanted politician. Thus the idea that only a cleric can represent Christ at the altar is a most serious heresy in the parlance of the Nigerian politician. When push comes to shove and disillusionment sets on the erstwhile brilliant horizons of the career politician, the latter beats a retreat to seek comfort in unlikely places. Some would retire to the bosom of a woman.

Many more would retreat to comfort and safe havens of their business dynasties. But a certain breed would rather mount the pulpit. As you read, Ama Pepple, a former Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, has embraced the pulpit. The Opobo, RIvers State born beauty is seriously enmeshed in the gospel of the Lord. She is currently preaching salvation and righteousness and devoting the better part of her days to preaching and living God’s word.

While information about her ordination remains sketchy, she is said to have mastered the art of mounting the pulpit to preach the gospel.
Until she retreated to the pulpit, Ama Pepple was one of Nigeria’s well known female technocrats who rose to the pinnacle of the civil service. She was later named the Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development before the cabinet shake-up that relieved ministers believed to be loyal to the G-7 governors who walked out of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) PDP convention during the Governors’ Forum crisis. Her removal was more dramatic in that she was said to have gone to President Jonathan a few days earlier to plead with him to make peace with Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Pepple travelled abroad immediately she was sacked and has since maintained a low profile and modest lifestyle.

It is so hard to ditch the winning habit particularly when you are Herbert Wigwe, the Managing Director (MD) of Access Bank. Wigwe, like a knight bearing shiny lance and armour, resourcefully steers Access Bank to financial success and entrepreneurial acclaim at the local and global business fronts. This claim is justifiable by the success stories and exploits of the bank under the leadership of Wigwe.

Recently, the bank was awarded the Euromoney Award for ‘Africa’s Best Bank Transformation’ at a well-attended event in the city of London, United Kingdom (UK). The event which further attested to the cutting-edge facilities, futuristic policies and exploits of Access Bank, attracted the creme of London and Nigeria’s high society. Access Bank’s MD, Wigwe, was in attendance at the event with members of staff of his bank. Access Bank Plc scooped the award of the Best Flow House in Africa in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2015, which held at the Natural History Museum in London.

This would be the first time a Nigerian bank would be recognised as winner of this highly sought-after award. Access Bank’s win comes in recognition of the bank’s increasing transaction flows across Africa, particularly its dominance in the Nigerian financial markets.

For the umpteenth time, Access Bank has commanded the applause of critical agencies. Like an indefatigable knight and conqueror of life’s greatest odds, the foremost banking institution also won the prestigious global Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Award in Karlsruhe, Germany last Thursday. By its win, Access Bank emerges as the first African recipient of the much coveted Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement award in Germany.