For Erelu of Lagos, Princess Abiola Sherifat Dosunmu, last Wednesday, 24 January, 2018, will always remain indelible in her memory. It was the day she was celebrated by the man who cherishes and adores her. She was treated to a near superlative post 70th birthday party by her very dear friend, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria. The party was held at the Green Heritage Resort, Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex, Abeokuta, Ogun State. It was graced by close family members and friends of the celebrant and her host.
Erelu Dosunmu clocked 70 last July, and she had marked the event with a week-long activities, which climaxes with a party that had King Sunny Ade on the bandstand.
However, her 70th birthday celebration wouldn’t have held any significance had her darling friend, Obasanjo, had not hosted a party in her honour.
And though the invitation cards sent out to guests, had indicated that the celebration was at the behest of Obasanjo and his wife, Bola, she was conspicuously absent during the party.
However, Bola Obasanjo’s absence didn’t dim the gaiety of the party. The convivial atmosphere of the venue provided the much needed vista of fanfare for the high profile guests to mingle and connect.
To Obasanjo, Erelu Dosunmu is more than a friend. Their bond of friendship was established many years ago during Erelu Dosunmu’s marriage to the late Ambassador Deinde Fernandez, her second husband.
Before her marriage to the Fernandez, Erelu Dosunmu was married to Major Tunde Elegbede, the father of her two eldest children – Kunle and Adewunmi. The marriage ended when Elegbede died.
Ambassador Fernandez, who died in 2016, was married to Erelu Dosunmu for over 20 years, and the union produced a daughter, Antoinette Oyinkansola Fernandez. Their marriage, though tumultuous in nature, was a well celebrated affair within the Lagos Social Establishment. Over a decade ago, the relationship took a more downward side when Ambassador Fernandez publicly requested that Erelu Dosunmu drop his name. Subsequently, the Lagos princess resorted to her maiden name, Dosunmu.
In her quest to reconcile with Fernandez, the true love of her life, Erelu Dosunmu sought the intervention of Obasanjo, who was one of his very close friends. Unfortunately, Obasanjo’s intervention moves was believed to have further strained his friendship with Ambassador Fernandez. It will be recalled that when Obasanjo completed his second term as Nigeria’s president in 2007, Erelu Dosunmu had hosted a classy soirée to celebrate his 70th birthday anniversary. Those who were privy to how close the two friends were even swore they would end up as a married couple.
However, that expectation was said to have been deflated by Obasanjo’s first daughter, Iyabo. She was alleged to have foisted the choice of Bola as her father’s official wife.