The last few days have been some of the toughest in the lives of Mrs . Ndidi Ejimba and her three children – Chidera , Angel and Rejoice .
Wife of the deceased
Since the shocking demise of their breadwinner , Dominic , on the evening of Saturday, August 19, 2017 , things have not remained the same for the young family . Like a pack of sheep deprived of the guidance of a Shepherd, Ejimba and her children face an uncertain future .
Waking up healthy and full of life that fateful Saturday morning , there was no reason for the household to accommodate any fear of an impending calamity . After saying the usual prayers, it was time to get the day started . Head of the family , Dom , as he is fondly called by those close to him , soon set out for business at his shop , bidding his wife and children farewell while promising to unite with them later that evening. An ardent football lover , the deceased had left his shop later that afternoon to watch matches involving top English Premiership clubs. Even though the match involving his beloved team – Arsenal – was to begin around 5 : 30pm that day , his love for football pushed him out to a viewing centre nearby from as early as 12 : 00pm . While everything went on smoothly and the father of three was having a great time at the place , events took a different turn late into the match between Arsenal and Stoke City Football Club . One week later, the dust of that Saturday evening has yet to settle .
The viewing centre
“ My husband came back to the shop at the end of the first half of the match between Arsenal and Stoke City to urinate, ” 32 – year – old Ejimba , who is carrying a fourth child , told Saturday PUNCH . “He promised to be back at the end of the match, telling me how his club would win . But about 20 minutes after he left to watch the second half of the match, somebody rushed to the house to inform me that he had slumped at the viewing centre and that he was being rushed to a hospital .
“ When I got to the hospital and saw him, he was almost dead . He was on a stretcher . At a point, one of our neighbours , who was among those that rushed him to the hospital , told me to go back to lock the shop and get a vehicle we could use to transfer him to another hospital . According to him , the hospital he was rushed to couldn ’ t handle the situation. I never knew it was a trick to send me away from the place because all that time my husband was already dead , ” she said . Still refusing to believe the news when she eventually heard , Ejimba told doctors and nurses at the hospital not to put her husband in the morgue yet , trusting that he was only ‘ sleeping’ and would wake up from his slumber soon enough . By the morning of the next day and with no sign of Dominic springing back to life , the young mother of three knew that it was indeed real – her husband and best friend of 10 years had gone and never to return .
“ It was until the next day , which was a Sunday that I finally believed that my husband was dead after he failed to wake up, ” she recalled painfully . “ His corpse was finally deposited at the morgue by the hospital workers . The sight of his lifeless body left me in utmost shock and a deep sorry state.
“ My husband was neither sick nor showed any sign of being unhealthy . He woke up normally and we were all looking forward to a great day and other activities that weekend before the tragedy .
“ We had plans together as a family but now death has taken him away . He died less than one month after we moved into our new house in the village . We were planning to dedicate the new building with relatives and friends when he died .
“ To imagine that my husband who took good care of us is no longer around is unbelievable . I don’ t know where to go from here because life has not been the same for us since then , ” she said .
Recounting to Saturday PUNCH how her late husband loved the London- based English club – Arsenal – and would do everything to display his affection for them , the expectant mother said that on a number of occasions they had had disagreements over his obsession with the team and all that concerns them . She said no matter how hard anyone tried , Dom was not ready to shift grounds – it was Arsenal or nothing .
“ Watching Arsenal play was his life , ” Ejimba interjected sharply . “He would rebuke and sometimes ignore me whenever I told him to reduce his obsession with Arsenal . He loved the club so much . He was ready to chase his customers away and lock up his shop just to watch the team play . For the 10 years that we were married , he never stopped watching football matches involving Arsenal .
“ He was a loving man to his family and all those who came in contact with him . He had a lot of plans for us especially the children whom he promised to train to any level as far as education was concerned . He did his best to always make us comfortable and happy; we never knew death would snatch him away from us so soon . Words cannot tell how much we will miss him, ” she added before breaking down in tears .
Eldest child of the family , Chidera , while recalling the last moments he shared with his late father , told Saturday PUNCH how they had not been able to find sleep since the tragic incident . A brilliant primary school pupil, the eight – year – old feared that his dream of becoming a medical doctor in the future might have been punctured with Dom’ s passage .
“ Daddy had asked I and my siblings to stay back home that Saturday because he didn ’ t want us going to the shop even though I often assisted him there. He promised to buy something special for us on his return and we were all looking forward to having him back home that evening before the incident occurred .
“ We are really saddened by his death . My younger siblings ask about him all the time and I don’ t know what to tell them . Daddy promised to send me to the university so that I can become a medical doctor but now that he is dead , I don’ t know who will help us . I wish that he could come back to us one day , ” the little boy said . Describing the incident as a big loss to the family , a relative to the deceased , Livinus Nwosu , said that even after one week , they found it very hard to believe that he was gone . While reiterating that Dom was healthy at the time of the tragedy , he appealed for support from members of the public for his widow , three children and unborn baby.
“ His death is a rude shock to us ,” he said. “ Being one of our prominent sons, the family is deeply pained by his loss . As far as I know , he was very healthy at the time of the incident and there was no need to express any form of fear . This is why his demise still surprises us .
Viewing centre where the incident occurred
“ He left behind a very young family ; we appeal to members of the public to please assist in easing their pains . It is a very sad period for us ,” he added .
According to a shop owner , Mrs . Chinyere George , who witnessed the incident at the football viewing center that Saturday evening, the late Dominic complained of dizziness moments after Arsenal conceded a goal in the closing stages of the match. Helped out to a corner by a friend , he was said to have slumped while attempting to drink a cold bottle of a popular beverage drink.
“ Everything happened very fast . After being helped out of the place and tried to take the drink, he collapsed . There was commotion all over the place , the generator had to be switched off for people to come out and assist in rushing him to the hospital .
“ My husband was among those who took him to the hospital but it is unfortunate that we lost him . He was such a loving man , ” she said .
The incident , which happened in Anara along the Okigwe – Owerri Expressway in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State , has remained a topical issue on the Internet and several social media platforms .
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