Obi Cubana: Lessons in entrepreneurship, Africapitalism?
Obi Cubana has created a national sensation but what lessons can we learn from this about entrepreneurship and how Africans live capitalism?
On Sunday 18th July 2021 at the outing and thanksgiving service for late Uche Iyiegbu (Odoziaku), his son, Obi Iyiegbu popularly called Obi Cubana, the entertainment mogul and billionaire pledged to support 300 youths from 300 families in his Oba native community Anambra state with the sum of N1m each to start their own businesses.
This gesture which may sound outlandish is typical of this young man whose philanthropy has become his second name.
In his desire to uplift the downtrodden, he has allegedly empowered over 500 youths in the last 15 years from various parts of the county. Hence, it won’t be surprising that in the next 10 to 15 years, some of the beneficiaries of the recent N300m largesse would have become multi-millionaires in their own right.
The fact is: You cannot remove Obi’s drive for entrepreneurship and human capacity development from his success story in life.
Indeed, stories have it that the lavish party and Naira rain at his mother’s burial on Friday 16th July 2021 were funded by those he assisted in business.
Here is the import of the Obi brand – remember and empower those under you, because there would always be a payback time. Like Obi Cubana, successful men and women should make it a duty to introduce and nurture other young men and women adequately.
Money is good, but we should also encourage people to grow and progress. Imagine that Obi Cubana took in Paschal Okechukwu better known as Cubana chief priest as a boy grew him in business and today, the boy owns a thriving business in Owerri as well as manages Obi Cubana’s business empire.
Where would the chief priest have been today without his benefactor?
Obi’s idea of entrepreneurship and human capacity development is worthy of study.
Whereas the process of setting up a business is known as entrepreneurship, an entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards.
The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business or procedures.
Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy, using the skills and initiative necessary to anticipate needs and bringing good new ideas to market. Although highly risky, entrepreneurship can also be highly rewarding, as it serves to generate economic wealth, growth, and innovation.
Human capacity development on the other hand has been defined as “The process by which individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, and societies develop their abilities – both individually and collectively – to set and achieve objectives, perform functions, solve problems, and to develop the means and conditions required to enable this process”.
In the case of Obi Cubana, a number of key lessons are drawn from Obi’s business activities. Most important are these: capacity development initiatives must be participatory in design; implementation and monitoring initiatives must build on core capacities and be a two-way process of knowledge transfer
• Initiatives must provide for flexible and suitable learning pathways;
• Approaches must take greater cognizance of the overall societal/political context in which initiatives operate;
• There is a need for much better integration of initiatives based on regional/geographical, intra-sectorial, inter-sectorial, and vertical linkages;
• Appropriate incentives must be built into capacity development initiatives, and those delivering capacity developments may themselves require capacity development for effective delivery.
Therefore, an overarching lesson from this young entrepreneur is that capacity needs to be consolidated and strengthened at four levels: in individuals, in organizations/institutions, in sectors and networks, and in the overall enabling environment in which the first three function in this sense, initiatives must take a holistic view of the context in which individuals operate.
Born on April 12, 1975, in Oba, Anambra State, Obi Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana) attended Secondary school Onitsha and the University of Nigeria Nsukka with a degree in Political Science in 1988.
Described as one of the richest Nigerian billionaires, Obi is an entertainer, show promoter, and entrepreneur with a net worth estimated at $96 million (N39.50 billion) This is based on his income, properties, and assets.
For the mother’s burial, he was said to have received 346 Cows, 72 Goats, and 20 from his friends, employees, and those he supported through life. For instance, he got 46 cows from his former employee Pascal Okechukwu, the Cubana Chief priest, and 10 cows from his old-time friend and young billionaire Jowi Zaza.
In addition, he also received from his friends, a gold-plated casket for his late mother estimated at $73,000. The socialite also had a diamond pendant made for his late mother which he said had to replicate his mother’s face. His friends and business partners had saved up over $648,646 for the funeral
A video of the funeral went viral where guests were seen throwing cash at each other. Multiple award-winning artists, Davido, Phyno, D’banj, Kanayo O. Kanayo, E-money, Shina Peller, Ubi Franklin, Cubana Chief Priest, Kcee, and Odumeje were among the celebrities that attended the burial ceremony.
In 2006, Obi Cubana started his first business, Ibiza Club in Abuja, seeking to satisfy fun seekers and nightlife lovers.
Following the remarkable progress he made from the Ibiza Club, he established the Cubana group, a hospitality club that provides all-around entertainment satisfaction in 2009. Cubana group was first established in Owerri, Imo state.
Today, Cubana has spread across various states in the country including Lagos, Abuja, and Enugu.
Cubana group businesses and establishments include; Rolex Hotels – Lagos, Pablo Cubana – Lagos, Crave Cubana – Abuja, Grand Cubana Hotels – Abuja, Opium Cubana – Owerri, Cubana Night Clubs – Lagos, and Gustavo Cubana- Enugu
The businessman is currently working on opening more clubs worldwide with the planned opening of one in Dubai and a Cubana real estate company. He owns several mansions across the country along with expensive cars.
In recognition of his achievements, he has received several awards and recognition across the country. His wife, Ebele Iyiegbu, a lawyer, is the founder and owner of the KIEK foundation, a non-governmental organization.