Socialite Obinna Iyiegbu, aka Obi Cubana, topped Google’s list as one of the 2021 most trending people in Nigeria but the year was not all rosy for the 46-year-old Anambra-born businessman.
Here are some highlights of Cubana’s challenging and pleasant moments reported in the media:
Naira rain at mother’s burial
The Chairman of Cubana Group became a social media sensation and the rave of the moment in July after the ‘money rain’ at the burial of his mother at Oba, a town in the Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Several videos went viral which show celebrities, business people and politicians spraying money indiscriminately during a concert held after the interment of the deceased. Scores of cows were also reportedly slaughtered at the event which many described as ostentatious.
Celebrities who were physically present at the well-attended funeral included musicians D’Banj and Phyno, among others. Popstar, Davido, Kenneth Okonkwo (Kcee), Emeka Okonkwo (E-Money), Poco Lee and Ubi Franklin. Nollywood actors Williams Uchemba and Alexx Ekubo were also at the event. A member of the House of Representatives and Club Quillox’s proprietor, Shina Peller, amongst other politicians were also not excluded.
Embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, was also at the burial. The police officer would later be fingered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States for allegedly conniving with an alleged international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi in a fraud scheme.
Speaking in an interview after the burial, Cubana said he didn’t “plan for one-fifth of the crowd at the funeral,” attributing the success of the event to God.
Many youths subsequently flocked to social media to hail the nightclub boss asking him to “cut soap” for them but speaking in an interview, Cubana condemned money rituals and urged youths to work hard to make their money legitimately. He also said he made his first million naira after his National Youth Service Corps programme in Abuja.
“Soap” is a lingo used in Nigerian social circles to affirm the ritualistic tendencies among youths. In an era filled with quick-rich schemes, young people involved in fraud and other illegalities resort to charms to fortify their heinous trade. When the phrase, “cut soap for me” is used, the person who made the statement simply means: “show me the way to get rich” or “take me to a ritualist”.
2021 Man of the Year award
In October, the nightclub boss clinched the 2021 Man of the Year award. He defeated Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman UBA Group and Mr Abdul Rabiu, Chairman and founder of BUA Group to clinch the position.
The award, organised by IgbereTV, is endorsed by the African Union and the African Film Institute. It recognises and honours the outstanding impact of leaders in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria.
Early November, Cubana was detained for three days by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja and the adventure-seeker’s passport was seized.
The Anambra-born club owner was later released on administrative bail after he was quizzed over his alleged involvement in money laundering and tax fraud, among other illicit financial deals.
The Punch gathered that Cubana may be required to visit the EFCC headquarters from time to time until the conclusion of investigation.
Customer’s death in Abuja club
Also, in November, the socialite shut down his Abuja club, Hustle & Bustle, over the death of one of his customers.
Reports had it that a lady, identified simply as Susan, was electrocuted by a metal on the floor of the clubhouse in the Aminu Kano Crescent area of Wuse, Abuja.
The club, however, denied the electrocution claim, saying the young lady died after she “tripped and fell”. Hustle & Bustle was reopened weeks later. The autopsy of the death of the customer is expected to be released by the police.
Social media following
As 2021 winds down, Cubana continues to serenade his over 1.9 million Facebook followers and over 2.5 million Instagram followers with ravishing photos of himself, his wife, children and friends taken in the cabins of private jets, amongst other exotic places.