THE name Chris Enahoro was Synonymous with the game of cricket right from the 60s when he was captain of the Dyaks cricket club.
According to Engr. Emeka Onyeama, the President, Nigeria Cricket federation, as Nigerian captain, Chris was a tactical genius and knew the game in and out.
He went from playing to administering the game and rose to become the chairman of Nigerian cricket Association and of the West African Cricket conference.
Chris was not only a supreme Cricketer but was also a good footballer and a record high jumper. He also took his sporting interest to lawn tennis where in his retirement he developed young stars.
To many people, Chris meant different things to them. There is virtually no one who came in contact with him that did not have an impression about the man popularly called Lachristo or the legend.
The news of the passing on of Chris Enahoro on 19 January 2017 at the age of 79 years took everyone by surprise, knowing the energy he had always exuded in his playing and administrative days and in his discussion on Cricket and Tennis matters.
He was an indelible feature in the lives of those who knew him and related closely one way or the other and this was greatly reflected in the various tributes to him.
At the Cricket pitch and Lagos lawn tennis club, Race Course where he was honoured with mock cricket and lawn tennis matches as well as tributes, before he was finally laid to rest on the 17ths of February, people could not control their tears from their eyes apparently because of their various affectionate encounters with Chris.
The eldest daughter, Debbie, a trained lawyer in the United Kingdom who always looked forward to hearing his daddy voice almost every weekend, noted that daddy always made her feel safe even though they were thousands of miles apart.
“I always looked forward to hearing his voice almost every weekend. It was never the words he said, it was just hearing Daddy and his cantankerous self, making me feel so protected from the mad hectic world I was living in. Even though I am a grown woman he still treated me as his little girl albeit calling me an old woman and called Amanda his grand daughter his princess.
“My daddy had the biggest heart ever, he was such a selfless man not just to family, friend but to anyone who he felt needed help, she added. To Dino, Chris Enahoro second son his father had a personality which seemed larger than life as he was super cool and always kept up with modern trends much to his surprise.
“I enjoyed the deep and late night conversation with him, and he would discuss so many topics from sports to the state of the country. That came with a cost as you would have to stay up with him until around 3.00am. Dad would stay up in order to watch live coverage of Cricket or tennis. In particular he loved watching the Indian Cricket team, the Williams sisters. Raphael Nadal and his beloved Manchester united.
“Dad was very particular about cleanliness, appearance and most importantly time keeping. I appreciate and learnt from his sense of community. He appeared helpless for different causes to assist the less privileged. This was paramount for him and he disliked any injustice to any individual or group. He told me that one must try to speak the truth and “damn the consequences.” I told him that in reality you cannot do that and he always laughed. Dad always did things his way.
To many of his nephews and nieces, Uncle Chris was a second father because of his formidable presence, humorous anecdotes, guidance and care. He was there to take charge of any situation and he can be aptly described as the rock of the family.
Even to his siblings, Chris left his footprints as a beloved brother. In the words of his youngest brother, Emmanuel, “Brother Chris was a man of great vision, right from their youthful days. He was always there for the family.
His death was a rude shock to his family whom he was always in close contact with. I am personally touched because he paid the school fees of two of my children and he did not allow me to lack as he gave me clothes and money. He will be greatly missed by the family indeed, he noted.
A lot was said and written about the man Chris Enahoro by his classmates in school, colleagues in the sporting world, relatives and those who benefited from the kind hearted man. When one looks around these days, there are very few people who embody the gift of toughness, commitment, fairness, discipline, leadership, role modeling and thoughtfulness as Chris Enahoro.
There is no doubt that posterity cannot forget him in a hurry as he will continue to live not only in the hearts of a great majority of those who came across him, albeit those he touched their lives. His generosity, sense of humour will be missed by many who knew him as a good man and a man of principles.
An extremely generous person whose business in his later years, running the Chevron sponsored tennis development program was really pleasure for him. He spent his money and any profit made on paying school fees and helping to solve the family problems of his wards.
This die hard Man U supporter spanning over six decades affected a lot of live s during his life time.
In the words of Jimi Awosika a director at insight communications” Uncle Chris was a great gardener. He planted and tended and all around us today we can see the beautiful flowers and crops. As in the words of Elton John, a gardener like that one no one can ever replace. Trust you to still tend where angels sing.
Christian Idemudia Enahoro was born on Christmas Day 1936 to Chief Okotako Anastasius Enahoro and Princess Inibokun Fidelia Victoria Enahoro (née Okojie). He was the eighth child of ten siblings. His father’s job in the inspectorate division of the colonial education department meant that growing up, he obtained his education in various states. He began his primary education in Akure, Ondo State and continued in Warri, Delta State, then later in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. He completed his secondary education at Government College Ibadan in Oyo State. Being of Esan ethnicity and spending his developmental years outside of Uromi, meant he was “detribalized” and part of the first generation to consider themselves Nigerian. He spent his entire adult life residing in Ibadan and Lagos.
Chris Enahoro was born big and strong. Coming from a sporting family, he enhanced his natural flair with unwavering wholeheartedness. His lifelong passion was sports. He set a commonwealth youth High Jump record in 1956, putting Nigeria on the global athletics map! He had played football, cricket, table tennis, lawn tennis, athletics and hockey. A review of the second twenty-five years of Government College Ibadan, described him as, “easily the finest athlete that went through GCI”.
Having retired from competitive sports, he devoted himself to sports administration, and promoting the cause of potential young sports stars. He was the chairman of West Africa Cricket Association. In later years, he engaged his heart in the promotion of tennis to the extent that family and friends knew that the place to reach him, if he was not at home, was the arena of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, where he was nicknamed “The Legend”. He founded a tennis academy with the support of the oil company Chevron, which today has potential Nigerian tennis stars in their teens training abroad.
Tributes received by the family are unanimous about his generosity. Not only did he give himself to others, he was popular with the children of his friends who hailed him “Uncle”, as though he were a blood relation. Chris Enahoro would reach into his pockets to draw personal funds to assist ball boys in need.
His friendships were long lasting. He never wavered in supporting anyone to whom he gave his trust. In return, he expected the friend not to break that trust. These attributes eased his way into a career in public relations.
Chris Enahoro’s observational humor endeared him to many. His penchant for storytelling was developed during his early journalistic career and in later years, established him with the narration skills of a village elder.
In recent years, Chris Enahoro became a central figure of reference in the Enahoro family which started with ten of them, but now left with three, Mrs. Elizabeth Santos, Peter Pan and Emmanuel. He readily accepted and rigorously undertook the role.
He leaves behind his daughter Debbie and his son Dino, who are both lawyers practicing in the United Kingdom, and granddaughters, Olayinka, Arabella and Riley.
May his soul rest in peace.