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Obi Cubana: Igbos, entrepreneurship and the money ritual stereotype

The Igbo man dares, where others are reticent. He stoops to conquer, eyes on the prize, suffering and taking indignities in his stride where others are prideful, writes Victor Ikhatalor

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Obi Cubana
Obinna Iyiegbu "Obi Cubana"

In as perfect a response as one could give to social media click baiters alluding to ritualistic and illicit sources behind the “spraying” display at his mother’s burial ceremony, Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana while speaking to BBC Pidgin, emphatically stated; ” native doctor no fit give you money, becos im children, na dem dey fetch water for stream” (Translated: Native doctor cannot make you rich, because they are his children that fetch water from the stream).

Obi Cubana is from Oba, Anambra State and is an Igbo man and on the weekend when friends and associates came to do him honour at his mother’s burial, he came face to face with a most distasteful stereotypical diatribe typically reserved for “Igbo’s” (money ritualist) – a most disgusting tag not founded in any reality.

This mindless allusion that casts a whole race of people in such light is tiresome and defies reason, especially when it is the Igbo race.

I stand to be corrected, when I say, the Igbo’s are the most hard-working, industrious, ingenious people on the African continent and in the top echelon on the face of the earth.

The Igbo man dares, where others are reticent. He stoops to conquer, eyes on the prize, suffering and taking indignities in his stride where others are prideful.

He is pragmatic and uniquely wired to be ingenious where others are stymied or weighted by inaction and resigned to their fate.

It is of this stock that Obi Cubana is from and the overwhelming majority of their success stories are won through a tenacious will to succeed and lawfully at that.

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Yes, the show of opulence in the spraying of money might put some “moralistic” noses out of joint, but such displays have been made a national sport by Nigerian elite “misleaders” who have institutionalized and elevated the display of conspicuous consumption to an art form.

At least, those who graced the Oba event have not been tagged amongst the lot, who loot our collective commonwealth and hide humongous amounts in pits, inside pillow, under cooking pot, animal gullets or in “Panama papers” shrouded foreign accounts.

And yes, even though I am not in sync with the “heavy” display of money in Oba, my personal disposition does not deify me as a “god” to become judgmental. If anything, I understand the manifest power of “single stories” once taken hold.

Obi Cubana, who in recent days, had to offer a public clarification that he was not Cubana Chief Priest, has amazingly up to his mother’s burial kept a low and unflashy profile considering he is an entertainment big-shot.

The show-biz industry all over the world is one where it’s players are forever in an unending quest for their own peculiar holy grail, which entails going to any length to get “noticed” and “talked about”.

It is in this context that the spectacle of “Oba” should be situated. Obi Cubana and majority of his guests are of the show-biz world!

For those who got on very high horses taking subjective measurements of the amount of money rain in Oba, for surely their grouse must be in the measurement, as money rain is a national sport that takes place on a daily basis in ceremonies across Nigeria, then they should know that their commentary has only succeeded in making the event a “dream” show-biz success – “getting noticed and talked about”.

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As for the odious stereotypical vituperations thrown at Obi Cubana and his “men”, it is a given that they, just like the mudslingers and indeed every other Nigerian, if  found wanting in acquiring dubious wealth will face justice according to law.

Under no circumstances otherwise, should anyone be venomously castigated for their way of life just because it differs from another’s.

Obi Cubana’s story of fighting the odds to become successful as told on BBC Pidgin is a very Nigerian story and very uniquely a storied theme among Igbo’s and many such testimonies abound.

His single story is a mirror to countless others and I can testify in witness to a few myself as indeed I am sure many can.

That there are evil people who are participants in ritualistic killings for money rituals is not in question. That such ritualistic acts is prevalent across the country and not typical to any particular place is empirically not in doubt. However, not every young man who “makes it” is a ritualist. Until proven otherwise, young people in Nigeria who succeed in the face of dire odds deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Talking to BBC Pidgin, Obi Cubana said; Work, pray, be good. Dem no dey cut soap for anybody for this world” (translated: Work, pray and be good. There is no easy route to success)

Nigeria’s super cop, Abba Kyari, Obi’s friend and a man who I am sure, has to be very particular in his associations, had this to say of Obi Cubana; “Obinna Iyiegbu popularly known as Obi Cubana is one of the most hardworking entrepreneurs and humble personalities that I have known for many years. He is a brother and good friend” Full stop

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Victor Ikhatalor, ambassador of Nigerian Industry and Business.  He can be reached via email: [email protected]

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