By Isaac Asabor
It is no more news that Oba, a somnolent agrarian community in Anambra State, was few days ago brought into spotlight more than ever before after the popular Nigerian nightlife impresario, Obi Cubana, hosted sympathizers during the burial of his mother. Without doubt, given the array of glitterati that graced the event that is now classified to be a Talk-of-the-town burial ceremony, not few analyst have taken position on the polar positions. Not only are people talking about the seeming unprecedented event in the community, some mischievous and unarguably envious ones among them are pointing accusing fingers at him that he is a money ritualist; even if none of them has being able to buttress the allegation beyond reasonable doubt.
As gathered from the event which went viral on social media platforms, not only is Obi Cubana wealthy, he, no doubt, has an enviable Social capital that can never put him to shame in his lifetime if he has the grace to sustain it.
At this juncture, it is expedient to say that the phrase, “Social Capital” is not an everyday catchword, and even if it is, not few people may really know what it means. Against the foregoing backdrop, it is expedient to say that “The term social capital refers to a positive product of human interaction”. While ostensibly softening the ambiguity of the infrequent term, Investopedia, an online platform committed to simplifying complex financial information and decisions to its readers, by giving them the confidence to manage every aspect of their financial life explained that “Social capital is a combination of words that don’t seem to belong together. How can ‘social’ be ‘capital’? This can be rather perplexing on first consideration”.
‘Capital’ is an economic concept for a tangible element of production that can be created through investment and used when needed. How can this relate to the term ‘social’ which cannot be ‘used up’, and that is broad and intangible; involving beliefs, values and emotions?” Be that as it may, Obi Cubana, creatively used social capital to get what he wants during the burial of his mother.
It continued by explaining that the core intuition of social capital is that being social has benefits. This does not seem like a ground-breaking discovery, or one that should require a term to capture or communicate its meaning. It added that humans are social by nature, and have evolved to be social and it is a defining characteristic of what it means to be human.
From the foregoing standpoint, it will be clear enough to say that Aristotle famously said, “He who lives without society is either a beast or God.” A similar maxim in Ika dialect says, “Onye Wen Ihian Ka Onye Wen Egho”, which interpretatively means the man that has people such as friends, relations and associates rallying round him in event; good or bad, such as Cubana experienced is bigger than the one that has money.
It is not difficult to understand that we, and society generally, benefit from being social: helping, sharing, and caring about our fellow humans. Being social is being human and our society and economy is inescapably linked to sociability.
Still in the same nexus, virtually everyone that watched the burial ceremony online saw how Cubana’s friends supported him, particularly when seen from the fact that they cooperatively contributed money for him towards a successful burial for his mother, Madam Ezinne Iyiegbu.
As gathered from unverified reportages that have been trending on social media platforms even on some conventional newspapers, the club owner received 246 cows from his friends, notwithstanding the fact that other good wishers donated funds worth millions for the event.
According to media reports, Obi Cubana received gifts; both in cash and in kind, from well-wishers and friends who constitute his social capital that run into millions of naira.
It would be recalled that the Committee of friends he belongs to and his business associates who are no doubt part of the social capital that assisted him by raising well over 267,000.000. (Two Hundred & sixty Seven Million Naira) for the burial, including 247 live cows where unarguably the trump card he flaunted for the burial to be successful. As if that was not enough, a trailer load of Hero Beer from a friend, and 30 bags of foreign rice also from a friend were gifted to him even as foreign casket worth 30 million was also donated to him by one of his business associates. Did I hear you ask “Is this another version of MMM?” Well, there is no need for you to ask such question as the answer is inherent in an African proverb in pidgin format that has the dog assure its playmate about relationship thus “If I fall down for you and you fall down for me, it is playing.” In fact, still explaining the need for everyone to have good friends, an African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Without any iota of exaggeration, it is difficult to far in life as a friendless introvert.
To my view, it is expedient to say that in as much as some friends can be toxic, it is advisable to have supportive friends that can be looked up to as they would always reciprocate the kind-heartedness and love extended to them in the past. The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as a supportive friend is someone who understands who you are and what you need. A supportive friend is the one that understands how you have persevere through thick and thin. Without doubt, everyone will go through some tough times and some very good times; irrespective of the family background. The dog principle of “fall down for you and you fall down for me, it is playing” is no doubt what Obi Cubana keyed into to achieve result during the funeral rites of his mother, Madam Ezinne Iyiegbu.
For the sake of clarity, it is germane to say that a supportive friend is the most important kind of friend to go through life with. Whether you live together or are thousands of miles apart, a truly supportive friendship will always remain symbiotic, with both of you knowing that you are appreciated, validated, and loved by the other whether you talk often or not. Ask Obi Cubana, he will enlighten you on this topic. As it is now, one may not be wrong to say he is a guru in the business of investing in friends, and making a good Return On Investment (ROI) therefrom.
Many times in life, we feel as though we can get through a stressful or challenging situation if only we had someone to go through that with. A supportive friend is always there for you and is willing to walk through that burning building along with you. This is not to say that they are going to follow you wherever you go blindly. They can, and will, help you by identifying the pros and cons of a decision you are about to make, or letting you know if they do not agree with what you are doing. But, they will also do their best to stand by you after you make whichever decision it is that you make. They are not judgmental.
Throwing to how he has invested in people, he said, “In 2013, I pushed 53 uneducated Oba boys into the market to learn trading. In 2017, I withdrew all of them from their Ogas and settled all of them with 3million Naira each and paid for their shops. Hmm! This is awesome. I my view, what he has done in this context is what some government agencies established to create jobs have been struggling to do for ages.
Back to the issue that necessitated this write up, If I may ask Cubana’s traducers, ”Why would a man that has mentored and connected 40 young men into importation and made them use his name or rather his brand and platform to import goods into the country, and after two years, checked on them to see how they were doing and found out that some had issues, and went ahead to once again support them again to stand not be richly supported in time of need; both in cash and kind during his mother burial? Why the pejorative backlash about the money that was lavished at the event? How is it your business?
In his statement, he explained that out of the 53 men he has mentored and established so far that 38 are billionaires while the rest are in the level of a millionaire. So, with this kind of Social Capital that were readily disposed to rally round him as they were aware of his mother’s death since November 2020, were his traducers expecting him to accord his mother a miserable burial?
He said, “In 2018, I took 100 educated men out of the streets and introduced them to the white men for business and today they are billionaires in dollars.
“They also help me in their capacity when I require their help. All their friends both in Nigeria and outside patronize me, and they do not have an ulterior motive in showing that they care for you. They are just genuine”.
Ostensibly informing his traducers that they’ve not seen anything yet, Obi Cubana reportedly vowed to give 300 Oba Youths N1 million each, totaling N300 Million. He made the pledge in the Church during a thanksgiving service conducted for his mother. His traducers are not seeing this. Arithmetically put, by the time he will organize a social event in the future, may be marriage as his children are coming up, and the 300 youths he pledged to invest in, and who may have at the time become millionaires and billionaires by then, reciprocate his good gesture by donating N1m each to him, thereby amounting to N300m while the donation of 2 cows by each of them would amount to 600 cows.