Prior to early 2000s, Oba, a sleepy town in Anambra State, Nigeria, was a quiet settlement. However, it has since the late 2000s experienced a massive influx of settlers due in part to its strategic location. Oba is hugely connected to wealth, but never in its history has it dominated nationwide conversations as it has done in the past week.
Tales of the flamboyant display of wealth at the funeral of Obi Cubana’s mother in the laid back town, have dominated the social media and household gossip chatter. Born Obi Iyiegbu, Obi Cubana is a known Nigerian businessman who has become an internet personality. After the launch of his first hotel in 2006, Obi in 2009 expanded his business portfolio with an investment in a South African franchise, Cubana. He lost his mum, Lady Uche Iyiegbu, in December 2020 at the age of 75. Seven months later, the show business and entertainment mogul pulled off the most extravagant funeral seen in the Nigerian internet era.
Shut down Oba It was his boisterous mentee and former business associate, known as Cubana Chiefpriest on Instagram that gave the funeral its first viral moment when he brought in a trailer load of 46 cows. A close friend of the show promoter revealed that he made the order from Katsina State. Another friend donated over 90 cows, and it was said that Obi received almost 400 cows from friends and well-wishers.
That set the tone for what was to come during the eight days funeral that Obi called a carnival. In the following days, Obi and his army of wealthy friends threw the events in Oba into the consciousness of Nigerians, excitedly sharing their display of opulence by the minute on social media, mainly Instagram. From Obi’s N50m pendant with his mum’s photo to hordes of currency sprayed with wanton recklessness, it wasn’t just the regular style of spraying single notes, they were throwing blocks of minted notes and several banks had bullion vans and security personnel on standby to move cash to their branches. Cases of Azul, a drink that costs more than N3m per bottle were shared in large quantities, guests arrived in long convoys of the most luxurious cars after private plane trips, the businessman and his peers stopped at nothing to put on a show.
Moneybags like Jowizaza, Ned Okonkwo, Henry Iyke, Justine Obiajunwa, Emeka Esomonu, Chima Desmond Anyaso, Nnamdi Chu Iyiegbu, Ugochukwu Harvey Igboanugo, Pretty Mike of Lagos, Prophet Odumeje, Francis Nwaogwugwu, Quincy Okoh, Akin Alabi, Olakunle Churchill, Peter Obi, Escoba Smith, Andrea Williams of Betro Furniture, Emma Bishop Okonkwo, Shina Peller and many more, took turns to visit Obi at his Villa in Oba and joined in the extravaganza. Celebrities also trooped in with BBNaija’s Frodd seen on Instagram spraying money, veteran actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo, gave some funny moments on his Instagram page, as he too joined in the act. Davido, Phyno, Patoranking, D’Banj and KCEE, all performed in a concert in Oba last Saturday. “What I saw in Oba is something I have never seen before at an event.
It was really amazing stuff,” Raymond Iyieli, founder of Rayz TV, a society and celebrity platform who covered the event, told Saturday Telegraph. For the regular Oba residents, the extravagant funeral provided some opportunities. Gerrard is an upcoming highlife musician from Oba but relocated to Enugu in 2016 in search of opportunities for his career. He and his friends quickly formed a group of praise singers and spent the whole week in Oba welcoming guests with melodies from their gongs and drums. “We are six in the group and every day for like three days, each of us made N400, 000,” Gerard told Saturday Telegraph.
For context, there were almost a dozen of those groups at the venue and Gerard and his crew didn’t even have access to the entrance of the VIP area. Yet, they made that much money. With the brazen display of wealth, the funeral of the septuagenarian which had the trappings of a festival has gotten Nigerians talking. Some have called it the ‘Burial of the Year’ while there have been debates about the most lavish funeral in Nigerian society settings.