No fewer than four persons died, Wednesday night while watching the semi-final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cote D’Ivoire.
They include a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete, Ayuba Abdullahi, and a corps member serving in Adamawa State, simply identified as Samuel.
Anambra-born businessman, Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote d’Ivoire, was also reported to have collapsed inside the stadium, while watching the match and died later in hospital.
But experts said excitement could cause sudden death if there was an underlying health condition.
Recall that the Super Eagles won the match 4—2, in a penalty shoot-out.
It was learned that Ojougboh, an erstwhile member representing the Ika Federal Constituency of Delta State in the House of Representatives and former Executive Director, of Projects, on the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, reportedly slumed in his house in Abuja, while watching the match.
Sources said the outspoken politician slumped, when a penalty kick was awarded against Nigeria during the match, which gave the South Africans an equaliser, as Nigeria had earlier taken the lead in the match.
He was said to have suffered a heart attack and was confirmed dead at a hospital he was rushed to.
Kwara varsity deputy bursar dies watching Super Eagles AFCON semi-finals.
Similarly, the Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University Malete, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, also died while watching the match.
Sources close to the deceased who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abdullahi went to a viewing centre in Sango area before he started feeling unease.
One of the sources said: “The deputy bursar watched the Nigeria/South Africa match from the beginning till the end of the extra time, and continued till it was time for penalty kicks.
“He complained that he was feeling dizzy, so he said he needed to go back home and rest, not knowing that his BP had gone up.
“On getting home, he collapsed and was rushed to a private hospital in Sango where he was referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital but died before he could be attended to.
He was buried yesterday morning, according to Islamic rites.”
Corps member dies watching Super Eagles’ semi-finals penalty shoot-out
Also, a member of the National Youth Service Corps serving in Adamawa State, simply identified as Samuel, also died during the penalty shootouts of the match.
The corps member from Kaduna State, allegedly passed away just before the final kick which secured Nigeria’s win in the match.
A post by the NYSC read: “We lost one Nigerian during our victory celebration over South Africa at our sports viewing centre here in Numan.
“The corps member who is serving in Numan from Kaduna State fainted before the kick of the winning goal.
“He died before they could reach the hospital in Numan. May his soul rest in peace.”
Anambra-born billionaire allegedly dies in Ivory Coast stadium watching Super Eagles
It was also reported that Anambra-born businessman, Chief Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote D’Ivoire also died while watching the match in the stadium.
Nwoye was said to be the richest Igbo businessman based in Ivory Coast before his death.
A Facebook user, Chukwudi Iwuchukwu, in a post yesterday, quoted a witness as saying that Nwoye was on top of the moon, shouting at the top of his voice when Nigerian striker, Victor Osihmen, scored the second goal which was later cancelled by the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.
It was alleged that the shock of seeing the goal cancelled and a penalty awarded to South Africa was too much to bear for his fragile heart, leading to his collapse inside the stadium.
According to the report, he was immediately rushed to the hospital but all efforts to revive him failed as he was pronounced dead.
Sales Rep dies watching match in Ogun
Also in Ogun State, a sales representative with one of the multi-national manufacturing companies in Nigeria, Nestle, died watching the match in Abeokuta.
The 43-year-old man, identified as Mikail Osundiji, allegedly died as a result of shock after the centre referee cancelled the Nigeria’s second goal against South Africa, scored by striker Victor Osimhen, and awarded a penalty against the Super Eagles.
It was gathered that the late Osun State-born Osundiji, a father of two, did not show any sign of sickness prior the football encounter which he watched at a football viewing center at the Federal Housing Estate, Olomoore, Abeokuta.
An elder sister to the deceased, Mrs. Adetunji Nofisat, explained that Osundiji suddenly breathed out heavily after the cancellation of Nigeria’s second goal, lowered his head and consequently fell to the ground at the viewing centre.
“That was when other people at the viewing centre rushed to him and took him to one of the private hospitals in Olomoore where the doctor on duty pronounced him dead,” she said.
Excitement can cause sudden death if there is underlying medical condition—Experts
Reacting to the development yesterday, a Consultant Cardiologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Dr Ramon Moronkola, attributed the spate of sudden death while watching a football match to either a heart attack or a stroke.
In a telephone interview, Moronkola said grief or excitement could cause sudden death, particularly if there was an underlying medical issue that is diagnosed or undiagnosed.
“People can die suddenly as a result of grief or excitement. For those that die as a result of excitement, usually there is an underlying cardiovascular issue, either known or unknown to the individual.
”For people that develop heart failure for example or those that have had what is called Ischemic Heart Disease, which is some form of blockage in their heart before, any form of excitement can tilt such people towards a heart attack.
“Some people are also prone to developing what are called arrhythmias when there is an emotional surge.“Arrhythmias mean the heart is beating abnormally and goes into an abnormal rhythm, and that can also lead to sudden death.”
On what individuals can do to prevent such unexpected occurrences of sudden death, Moronkola said everyone should undergo regular health checks, even as he called for immediate resuscitation of emergency response and preparedness approaches in Nigeria.
“There is nothing that can be beyond regular checks even if you have no symptoms and don’t feel any pain, it is good to check. It is when there is no war that you prepare for war, so even if you have no symptoms, and you are not sick, it is good to have regular checks so that you can detect any underlying issues. That is the only way forward.
“Try regular health checks so that you can know what your background condition is and manage it appropriately. If you have high blood pressure that is not controlled and when you have an emotional surge, your blood pressure will go through the roof compared to someone whose blood pressure or hypertension is well controlled.”
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Cardiac Society, Prof Augustine Odili, said: “My heartfelt sympathy to the family. We just confirmed that a Nigerian who lives in Cote d’Ivoire also died in the field yesterday. We confirmed that he hails from Anambra state, a businessman.
“The possibility is that they might have had what people call heart attack, which is known to be caused by the expression of emotions. Again, it is also important to talk about how each of them died, and at what point. Two of them I learnt died when the Nigerian player scored a goal and the goal was disqualified and then South Africa scored and the penalty shootout.”
Tinubu, Akpabio, Atiku, Oborevwori mourn Ojougboh
Reacting to Ojougbo’s death, President Bola Tinubu in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, condoled with the Ojougboh family, the government and the people of Delta State over the loss, yesterday.
“It is with a heavy heart that President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the passing of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, who died on Wednesday.
“While praying for the peaceful repose of the departed, President Tinubu comforts his family and urges them to find strength and hope in God Almighty, who presides over the affairs of men, as well as in the cherished memories and legacy of the late APC chieftain,” the statement read.
Also reacting, President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, described the sudden death of Ojougboh as shocking and a huge loss to the people of the Niger Delta and the entire country.
In his reaction, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, equally expressed his condolences over the passing of Ojougboh.
In like manner, Delta State governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Festus Ahon, described Ojougboh as a grassroots politician and administrator who excelled in the various capacities he served.
Commiserating with the Ojougboh family, the people of Ika nation, Agbor Kingdom and the APC family over the demise of the politician, the governor said: “On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I mourn the passing of an astute and grassroots-oriented politician, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.”