Encomiums, as former Nigerian great, Chris Enahoro dies at 80

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The late Chris Enahoro

Nigerian sports stakeholders were thrown into mourning yesterday following the news of the demise of the country’s former double captain, Chris Enahoro.

Enahoro, a former schoolboy athlete, who in the 1950s and early 60s held the West African high jump record, reportedly died in his Surulere, Lagos home after a brief illness yesterday.

The former Government College Ibadan old boy, who played football for the defunct Western Region and also was captain of Nigerian cricket national team, was said to have had ‘a little health challenge’ last week, which eventually led to his demise.

When The Guardian visited his residence at Ajao Street, Olufemi, Surulere, yesterday, some workers renovating parts of the premises disclosed that the former Chairman of the Nigerian and West African Cricket Association passed on around 6.30 a.m. yesterday, adding that his remains had been taken by officials of Ebony Casket to an undisclosed mortuary.

According to his Personal Assistant, Razak Adedigba, who spoke to The Guardian on phone, the doctor attending to the all-time school athletics record holder, came on Wednesday to treat him at home.

“When the doctor came on Wednesday, he attended to him and told him to rest. He later woke up in the evening to have his dinner and told me he was getting better.

“Early today, he woke up at 5.00 a.m. to visit the toilet on his own, after which he told me to help him to lie down on the floor. I switched on the fan for him, but he died around 6:30 a.m.”

According to Adedigba, the staunch Manchester United supporter, who had difficulty walking due to lingering leg injuries, showed no sign of death even up to yesterday morning.

“As always, he celebrated his 80th birthday on December 25 last year and everybody who attended the event knew he was very fit.

“I have been living with him for more than a decade and he has been a very healthy man despite the leg problem,” he said.

He was survived by two children, a man and a lady, who live in London, as well as his younger brother, Greg Enahoro.

One of his closest confidants, Group Captain Gab Esho, described Enahoro’s death as a great loss to Nigerian sports family because “he contributed a lot to the development of the sector.”

According to Esho, “Enahoro was three years my senior at Government College, Ibadan and during his school days, there was nobody equal to him in cricket. The closest to him was Akpata of Kings College Lagos. He started playing for the national team immediately after leaving Government College Ibadan.

“He also held the West African high jump record before it was broken by one Charles Njoku in the 1960s.

“Enahoro was a fair minded man and a great athlete, who contributed so much to the growth of Nigerian sports.”

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