~ My close encounter with Obi Cubana ~
Some years back I met Obi Cubana at the house of Asamma at Oba. It was a quick introduction by Nnabugwu Onyeka (Oni Henkell). We exchanged pleasantries and continue to stuff our mouths with peppered Gizzards.
This year, February 14, at the instance of Onyeka, who invited me with 2 other couples (Ebere Chukwudulue and Onyedika Obiesie) to accompany him to the grand opening of Hustle and Bustle, the newest Lounge and Club from the stable of Cubana Group, I met Obi Cubana once more. This time he was the Chief host and excused himself to attend to numerous guests from the length and breadth of Nigeria. He handed us over to Chuchu who I owe a lot of gratitude for his wonderful attention.
It was a grand opening with a massive turnout. After the dinner, it was not easy for us to enter the club from the front door. People were so many. Obi Cubana permitted us to be escorted through the back, service door which is strictly made for staff only.
We had a good sitting position. Onyeka ordered some bottles of expensive wines for our table. That was the first time I heard the famous “Dorime song” that announces the purchase of premium wines. Only Onyeka will explain how we left the club without forgetting our names.
Hustle and Bustle lived up to its hype. It is the best club among the ones I have visited in Nigeria. A lot of people feel that way too.
On the way to our hotel, we were informed that Obi Cubana will be hosting us for a dinner in his new (yet to be occupied) house at Guzape, the next day.
An amazing house with luxury crafts. We took a tour of the house with him; no room was spared. You will be impressed with his bedrooms, sitting rooms, study room, TV/Cinema room, and important to him, the cellar which will contain wines enough to entertain guests at the 1st and 2nd tenure inaugurations of the next governor of Anambra State.
We ended the tour at his garden at the back of his house, big enough to contain about 150 guests. That was where the dinner was set. Some of his friends like Chuchu (our dearest companion), Too (Furniture Royale) and Jowi Zaza later joined us for the dinner. Of course, Jowi Zaza came with some beautiful foreigners to tempt us mortals. But the presence of my wife and the fact that I prayed before eating my dinner did not allow the devil to have the upper hand. I dey craze?
Some minutes after Jowi Zaza and Obi Cubana posted two different videos of the house tour and the event of yesterday on social media, I heard somebody mention that the videos have been viewed/liked by more than 50k followers apiece.
For people like us who struggle to gather 50 likes on our posts, the information prompted me to lookup his page on Instagram to see what was happening. Ladies and gentlemen, I lost appetite when I saw what was happening on his Instagram page. The post like others before it reached more than 100k before my eyes while my mouth was still busy with marinated Salmon fish he dished out. Ironically, I saw 2 different characters of a man who is a private, fun-loving host, and an aggressive brand builder who uses every opportunity to project his brand to the public. He mastered this art so well that every single post on his Instagram page becomes an instant hit.
That is the power of branding. And if that does not humble you, a mention by CNN may not humble you as well.
Now let us look at what happened in the last 48 hours.
It was supposed to be a burial but very few can say who was buried, if the deceased was a mother, an uncle or even a friend. The only thing that was consistent on social media was “Obi Cubana”.
I do not know how his friends did that, but 100 cows and hundreds of millions raised for him may not add many material values, but that act validated his good-natured stories and added intangible values to his brand.
Without selling himself, the burial provided a unique opportunity for people to hear about his generosity, business partners talked about his hard work, friends and employees talked about riding on his goodwill to become rich, the family became more united as more fortune smile their way, the top investigation cop (Abba Kyari) came from Abuja to felicitate with him and guaranteed security, non-invited guests came with goodwills, and politicians came to learn the magic of how to gather an unpaid, unhired crowd.
The narratives from various angles were the same. He is a hardworking 46-year dude who is the new face of show business in Nigeria. No scandal. No negative business gone-wrong. No ritual. No drugs. Just a brand that worths hundreds of millions on a piece of paper.
If Obi Cubana spent N500m on this burial, the goodwill his brand earned in the last 48 hours should be valued more.
I am not seeing a burial ceremony. I saw a brand validation.
By the way, I am not Obi Cubana, but with 46 cows, I have forgiven Cubana Chief Priest.