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‘Funeral like no other’ for Obi Cubana’s mother



THE social media space was awash with various stories of  the burial of Obi Cubana’s mother in Oba, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, last weekend. The elaborate burial of Ezinne Uche Iyiegbu, who died in December, last year, was nothing short of a fanfare and carnival.

   Some people argued that if there was anything like ‘Burial of the Decade,’ Cubana’s mother burial surely deserved it. Someone said if the dead interact with the living, perhaps, Cubana’s mother would give accolades to her son for giving her a befitting burial.

  The event was the first of its kind in Nigeria. The town of Oba was agog throughout the duration of the event, the biggest take from the town was its becoming more popular. The town’s name trended beyond the shores of Nigeria. What manner of burial! For a long time the event will still be talked about.

  A word that captured it all was the cliché ‘all road led to Oba.’ The funeral that started on Monday, culminated with extravagance entertainment. In the course of the burial, often, you hear asking someone, were you at Oba. If not in Oba, where were you and what were you doing in the course of the funeral? Obi Cubana’s mum’s burial, the most talked-about event in the Nigerian social circles last week, eclipsed WizKid’s 31st birthday, which was on Friday.

  Jokes and cartoons surfaced online depicting the happenings at Oba. A lady was cartooned to have boarded a commercial motorcyclist, popularly known as Okada, and eventually, the Okada rider took off from Enugu City and landed her at Awba Nsukka. Another was said to have taken a canoe from a riverine community to Awba Offemili in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The veteran actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo also advised his followers in an Instagram post that any female friend going on a break for the weekend should be held suspiciously.

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   For the late Madam Iyiegbu’s burial, many dubbed it the burial of the year and rightly so. Others wondered why a septuagenarian’s burial would have all the trappings of a jamboree.

 In response to what some people termed excessive and vulgar display of wealth, Prof. Moses Ochonu,  a Benue State indigene based in the United States, wrote, ”What appears to others as his vulgar exhibitionism and excessive self-indulgences are actually part of his business repertoire, part of the script, and aspects of a carefully, strategically organised spectacle to boost his brand. If I’m right then this is a type of genius. Others of course have a right to be disgusted and to express that disgust, but ultimately, a person has the right to bury their loved ones in the manner that pleases them.” To Cubana, whom most of his friends described as a great personality that likes to keep a low profile life, he was simply honouring his mother.

  The nightlife entrepreneur was said to have gotten 346 cows, 72 goats, 20 rams for his mother’s burial. Cubana received gifts from his friends, employees, and those he had supported through life and the gifts are still pouring after the burial. His former employee, the most socially visible, Cubana Chief Priest, who most people mistake for Obi Cubana gifted his former boss  46 cows with others to support  the burial. The likes of Ifeanyi Ubah, E-money and others donated over N300m and 500 cows for the burial.

  More than 250 cows were slaughtered, assorted food laid out on tables and tonnes of expensive wines and spirits downed by hundreds of relations, friends, associates and well-wishers. The social media were awash with video of rows of barbecue meat prepared from the slaughtered animals. Also, a video circulated on Instagram shows a drink worth #3.5m being passed around guests.

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  Cubana, a self-acclaimed show-killer, arrived at the venue in grand style, donning a 24-karat gold sunglasses by the House of Lunette. Dangling from Cubana’s neck was a $100,000 diamond pendant and neck piece immortalising his late mother. He said he had to replicate his late mother’s face with gemstones. “Had to cut mama’s face on ice! @obisgallery came through,” he said. The pendant was designed by celebrity jeweller, Efobi Stephen. The 27-year-old owns Obis Gallery, an African jewellery-making brand.

  From the over 400 cows donated to the host, the $100,000 diamond pendant, 67 private jets that landed Oba to the fleet of over 500 luxury cars, the ceremony was as loud as it can be. One of the persons present at the event, simply identified as DJ BigN, jocularly advised the billionaire to open a ranch with the livestock or give them away after the event.

  His committee of friends were also said to have raised well over N200 million to support him for the funeral. Cubana’s friends, colleagues, business associates and celebrities alike all outdid themselves to put up a show reputed to be the event of the year.Donations ranged from N100,000 to N5 million.

Indeed, Lagos socialite, Pretty Mike, claimed Cubana told him that his late mum’s burial “would make people crave death with relish”.

  Scores of celebrities and socialites were present at the event to give the late Madam Iyiegbu a befitting farewell. The popular Quillox Proprietor and House of Representative Member, Shina Peller was present. Pop stars like Davido, D’banj, Kcee, E-Money, Poco Lee and Ubi Franklin, among other celebrities, business people and politicians turned out in large numbers for the funeral.

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  What got the event trending most for the weekend was the rain of money. According to an online commentator, in what seemed like a bid to outdo one another, several guests sprayed Obi Cubana with 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes, even in hard currencies. In one of the videos that went viral, two of his guests were seen having a playful cash fight as they threw wads of money at each other, while other guests looked on as residents and bouncers struggle to pick money .

  The funeral rites started on Thursday, July 15, 2021, with service of songs and Christian wake, followed by the burial and reception the next day at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Oba. A thanksgiving service held on Sunday, July 18, at the Good Shepherd Anglican Church, also in Oba.

  Mrs Iyiegbu, who passed away in December 2020, was interred in a golden casket, reportedly worth about N30m.

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