Obi Cubana and the Oba Burial

Thisday  July 20, 2020

By Reuben Abati

The sociology of demise and funerals is a vital side of the African cosmogony. Parents pray that their children ought to outlive them as a way to give them a befitting burial. They liken this to the identical method when hearth dies out within the fireside, it’s changed by ashes, and when a banana tree withers, a sapling sprouts as a replacement. When Africans die, it’s believed that they’ve merely travelled to a different realm, and develop into ancestors, and therefore, a funeral ceremony is a send-forth occasion. The demise of a teen nonetheless, is taken into account a tragedy. This is why such obituaries are prefaced with the solemn declaration that “The wicked have done their worst”, “We love you but the Lord loves you more” or “A Painful Exit.” The tone of the elegy at a funeral is thus a perform of the circumstances of the demise, or the spiritual inclination of the household as in “With Total Submission to the Will of God…”, “Inna Lillahi wa inna Ilayhi Raji’un”. Age is certainly an element. If the useless lived as much as an outdated, ripe age, you might be prone to see such bulletins as “A Glorious Exit”, “With Gratitude for a Life Well Spent” or “Ä Celebration of Life”.

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Among the Yoruba of the South West, the demise of an outdated man or lady is described as “oku eba”, that’s – a transition that’s value celebrating, with beneficiant dollops of cassava paste. Other teams within the nation even have various patterns of burying their useless. Among Muslims typically, the burial of the useless is carried out swiftly consistent with Islamic injunctions. The simplicity of Muslim burials, the solemnity and dignity of it, is incomparable to anything I’ve seen, even when Muslims within the South West of Nigeria, nonetheless discover an excuse to throw lavish events which have extra to do with the tradition of the individuals, relatively than the faith. One dictionary describes the Yoruba because the “fun-loving people of the South West Nigeria.” But basically, the style of burials, the scope of the rites, the dimensions and tone, is a mirrored image of cultural norms and dominant values, at each group and particular person ranges throughout Nigeria. What is noteworthy is how the lack of a beloved member of the family may abruptly find yourself as a celebration, and the reason for that’s as difficult and numerous because the Nigerian society itself.

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In this regard, one thing occurred final week, in Oba, Anambra State, Nigeria: the funeral of the mom of a person popularly often called Obi Cubana, which might appear to be a metaphor for the collapse of values in Nigeria typically, the impact of poverty – religious, psychological and bodily – and the way that pushes the individuals to determined ends. The burial of Cubana’s mum could also be seen as a type of celebration, she died at 75, nevertheless it was a lavish send-forth that was terribly obscene. The city of Oba has actually by no means witnessed something like that. Not even in your complete Anambra state has anybody organised something so loud and lavish. This was not a celebration of life. It was a celebration of Money. Obi Cubana’s mom died in November 2020. It took him greater than seven months to plan the burial and when he determined that it was time for the useless to be despatched forth, his apparent intention was to organise the mom of all burials, such that even the dwelling would envy the useless and want to die. The solely drawback is that not many Nigerians would relatively die realizing that it isn’t each one that may ever get that form of burial. Oba is ordinarily a quiet city of 9 villages, positioned between the business city of Onitsha and the economic city of Nnewi. During the civil battle, it was the final frontier of the Biafran Army. But that group will now be remembered for a very long time, for the burial of the mom of a sure Obi Cubana. The position performed by the social media, and by Cubana’s buddies is exceptional: how a rustic misplaced its ethical centre and has produced a era of recent Nigerians who worship cash, ego, kudi. The pleasure generated amongst younger Nigerians who couldn’t make it to Oba however who adopted the occasion on social media and have become excited, is a measure of the extent of the disaster that Nigeria faces.

By Friday, the spectacle had begun to unfold. Social media managers of the burial who apparently had been engaged to take action – they’re known as influencers – instructed us and confirmed photos, concerning the Obi Cubana Festival of Money. The first of the movies that I noticed was that of a younger man throwing Naira notes round, on the streets as if he was distributing candies to kids. The notes had been in packs, crisp new notes, and as every bundle was thrown on the crowd, individuals fell over themselves and rushed to choose up items. This was like a John the Baptist show. Many of Cubana’s buddies and company would quickly arrive, and earlier than they did, a lot of them posted on Instagram, the stacks of cash they had been going to spend. Cartons of Naira notes. In one publish, a bunch of girls had been proven swimming in a pool, others had been hanging round, scantily dressed, all wanting like that they had adjusted their organic options. That is now normal apply amongst a class of Nigerian ladies. They do a breast job, purchase a surgical, traffic-stopping butt, they usually all look alike, absolutely bleached to their knuckles, with pretend hair, unusual eyelashes that protrude like pins, and naturally overseas accents which have a mixture of each dialect from Wales to mid-West America.

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The boys by the pool threw cash into the water and the women scrambled to seize their share of the providing. This was the sample all through the burial. Naira notes, sorry bundles of Naira, had been thrown about, sprayed, pasted so recklessly you’d assume this was a future Olympics Game, wherein the athletes had been making ready for a Gold Medal. Obi Cubana himself was on the centre of all of it. One woman, merely recognized as Livy was proven in a single video throwing so many bales of cash at Cubana that he exclaimed that he would want a Chest X-Ray! The method cash was being thrown like items of cement blocks, I additionally thought that an ambulance ought to have been on standby. “Killed by money at Cubana’s mother’s burial” would have been an acceptable headline within the circumstance. The public was later knowledgeable that Obi Cubana acquired about 300 million Naira as contributions by his buddies to bury his mom. He additionally obtained over 100 rams, and 400 cows, 46 out of that was equipped by one man known as Cubana Priest who not solely introduced the donation but additionally mentioned that was only a tip of the iceberg.

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Cubana himself didn’t disappoint. He wore a diamond pendant that was valued at N50 million. His mom’s casket, specifically imported from wherever was mentioned to have been about N40 million. This celebration of cash was so unbelievable, the burial grew to become a matter for social media punditry and the creation of emojis. Some individuals mentioned it was sure Obi Cubana’s mom was already in Heaven as a saint, sitting on the right-hand facet of the Almighty. Nobody has been to Heaven to substantiate that, so we have now no proof. Others mentioned with the quantity of cash spent on the funeral, the Nigerian authorities ought to henceforth method Obi Cubana for a mortgage and cease disturbing China, IMF and the World Bank. Other observers had been fearful concerning the supply of the cash that was being thrown round like confetti. Nigerian banks would additionally readily let you know that they don’t have new notes. They give out soiled notes to their clients. But there have been extra crisp, mint notes in circulation at Oba over the weekend than in your complete Nigerian banking system. And the notes had been abused.

The Central Bank Act of Nigeria – Sections 5, 21 (4-5) prescribe penalties for the abuse of the nation ‘s national currency. The law forbids the sale, purchase, and the plunking of the Naira, and prescribes penalties: six months imprisonment or a fine of N50, 000 or both. The penalties are so light, I don’t assume they imply something to Cubana and his buddies or their likes. And why ought to that hassle them anyway when the Oba funeral was attended by the identical regulation enforcement officers who ought to know that it’s an offence to abuse the Naira (fact is: policemen joined others to gather the notes that dropped on the ground), and there have been lawmakers and outstanding politicians in attendance too. In truth, no one needs to be shocked if Cubana finally ends up as a Governor or Senator tomorrow. He has successfully used his mom’s burial to show some extent: that he has money and the braveness to spend it. Nigerians worship cash. And that was why all through the weekend: the favored saying was: who no dey Oba, na wahala him get? Women had been became objects and debased. Whoever had not seen his girlfriend or spouse was suggested to go to Oba in Anambra State. And there was a specific video of 1 woman who collected as much as three huge luggage of cash, by simply choosing cash from the ground like a mendicant! Nollywood stars fell over themselves to be seen and heard. One revered actor even acquired so carried away he started to behave like an Area Boy on Instagram. I gained’t point out his title as a result of he’s a person I like very a lot. Money is a Devil in Nigeria. It turns even probably the most enlightened into clowns.

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At Obi Cubana’s mom’s burial, so-called celebrities, a few of these characters who describe themselves as manufacturers (no matter which means!) grew to become ushers, bodyguards, “all-right-sirs” and videographers. Obi Cubana has each proper to bury his mom the way in which he needs. But who’s he? How did he make his cash? How a lot tax does he pay to the Nigerian authorities? The Oba burial is over now, however the one factor anyone will bear in mind is the Bacchanal orgy of cash. I’m not certain half of the individuals on the occasion even know who Cubana’s mom was. What form of particular person was she? How did she relate throughout the group? Did she even ever see, deal with, spend, a bundle of crisp Naira notes in her lifetime? Who are Obi Cubana’s members of the family? Does he even have siblings or prolonged members of the family? They had been all blanked out! Members of the Oba group had been marketed as crumb eaters. They struggled to seize the Naira notes that had been thrown into the air. They stared on the money-miss-road invaders from a distance. When it was throughout and the waka-come-Cubana crowd left, they struggled over the left-over crumbs of cow-meat barbecue. They had been successfully reminded of their poverty.

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Obi Cubana would most likely not go to that group once more till he must organise one other show-off. Would it not have been higher if he constructed a hospital in his mom’s reminiscence? Or a college? Or a church? And then the individuals will bear in mind her, and never how her son and his buddies put cash to disgrace at her funeral. And who’re these buddies? The form of names which were talked about sound unfamiliar to me: E-Money, Internet Money, Pablo Cubana, Escoba, Jowizaza, Livy, Cubana Priest. Is the Nigerian Immigration Service, answerable for aliens and expatriates, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) answerable for National Identity Registration and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, answerable for Homeland Security, conscious of the presence of those individuals inside Nigeria? Who are they? And why do they spend cash like that? Not even Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet will throw cash round like that!

The burial of Otunba Mike Adenuga’s mom in 2005 has been in comparison with that of Cubana’s mom’s burial, and definitely Otunba Adenuga ought to really feel maligned. It is an unintelligent comparability. The level that has been made is that when Adenuga was burying his mom he donated a cow to each road in Ijebu-Igbo, his house city. Yeah. But there have been no drunkards throwing bales of cash on the streets or cleavage-bearing ladies, bleached from head to toe, with synthetic physiognomy and a mass of extreme protoplasm, promenading right here and there, with shameless, bedmatic show. Last weekend, we noticed a brand new definition of womanhood in Oba.

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My level is about style, class and values, not melodrama, or the appropriate of individuals to stay as they need. And right here, I additionally draw consideration to the burial about the identical time of the mom of the previous Managing Director of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, which passed off in Lagos on the Tafawa Balewa Square. The distinction is putting however I convey it up as a result of it additionally says one thing about Nigeria: the emergence of two polarized publics, each of seemingly robust weight and whose distinction lies is the inherited way forward for our youngsters due to the way in which Nigerian leaders have failed the individuals. The burial of Apostle Mrs Aig Imoukhuede was a dignified, elegant occasion attended by the Nigerian institution from politics to enterprise and civil society. It was the celebration of a lady who achieved distinction in her personal proper and whose accomplishments in that regard had been correctly show-cased. The funeral was not about her first son, the banker, investor, philanthropist, pal of each vital determine. It was, most appropriately, a celebration of her life. Nobody had any must throw cash round. Even if Mrs Imoukhuede was a dealer at Oyingbo market, there would have been no want to show her funeral right into a competition of cash. And but the richest and most influential Nigerians with the strongest pedigree had been there. One weekend, two burials, completely different tales! I go away it to you to stretch the comparability. I’ve made my level: Nigeria is in bother. Young Nigerians, merchandise of a failed management, worship cash and fakery. The gentrified class practice their kids in the perfect faculties overseas, however those self same kids will return to a rustic that may have been taken over by the Oba crowd who’re sadly, the way forward for Nigeria. Obi Cubana, and Aig Imoukhuede, our commiserations.