Obi Iyiegbu, better known as Obi Cubana, has granted an interview where he addressed how he became a successful businessman and also his mother’s talk-of-the-town burial.
The 46-year-old businessman told BBC Pidgin he and his siblings gave their mother a burial that became the talk of the town because they had promised her that her 80th birthday would be a carnival. As she died at 78, they decided to fulfil their promise by giving her the kind of burial she got as she fulfilled the role of father and mother after their father died 15 years ago.
The businessman said he studied political science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and kept looking for a job after NYSC but couldn’t find so he started doing “small small mama put” (restaurant) in Abuja where he did his youth service, after which he started a “beer parlour” at Garden, Abuja.
He said that at the time he was doing the beer parlour business, he, his brothers, and their friends were living in a one-room accommodation in Zone 4, Abuja. He said it was a tiny room, 12 by 12, and all the six occupants of the room had was a mattress on the floor which they had to manage.
He said their source of livelihood, the beer parlour, was soon demolished “through El-Rufai”.
He added he thought it was over at the time but he opened “Ibiza” which then birthed “Cubana”.
He explained that not every business he got into worked. Some failed, he said, others succeeded.
Speaking of the publicity around his mother’s burial and comments from some that he and his friends did rituals or got their money through illegal means, Obi Cubana said hard work is the only way he got his money.
He explained that what people see now is years of hardwork.
He said:Miracle doesn’t give money because that pastor needs the money more. Native doctor cannot give you money because his children are the ones who fetch water from the stream. How can he give you what he doesn’t have? Work hard. Work hard.
As for those asking him to “cut soap” for them, he told them to work hard and be consistent.
“Cut soap” is slang used to ask a successful person to give you a bit of what they are using that makes them successful. It originates from the claims that some young fraudsters visit ritualists who give them soap to bathe with for optimal success.
Obi Cubana said: “If you are in your 20s, work now. I am 46 years. I have done my first half. I don’t know why someone who is just 20 years will say he has not made it when he still has 50 years 60 years ahead.
“There is no soap to cut for anybody, there is no soap anywhere, work, pray, be good, make your own soap.”
The Chairman of Cubana Group said the only spiritual power he believes in is prayer. He said his mother, a school teacher, was very prayerful and after she died, he felt a huge part of his energy left him.
He further stated that he believes in fasting and prayer and not rituals.
“I do pray before I leave the house. I pray because if you don’t pray your body will be naked and prone to different attacks,” he said.
As for the crowd at his mother’s burial and how money was displayed, Obi said it comes from years of friendship and goodwill.
He said: “We didn’t plan for one-fifth of the crowd at the funeral. But see what happened at the burial.
“People have been saying that Obi Cubana has money, which money? They need to know people who have money in Anambra and in Nigeria.
“It is not about money but goodwill. What happened that day, money can’t buy it. See the crowd, yet nobody was raped, no car was stolen and no one was attacked. It can only be God.”