Whilst the Undertaker’s WWE theme song and the UEFA champions league anthem were known to mesmerize club scenes and bars in Nigeria, none quite had the enigmatic ability to raise goosebumps amongst clubbers than Eric Levi’s song, ‘Ameno Dorime.’ The compelling effect of ‘dorime’ on its listeners makes them spend more of their money, buying the most expensive drinks available, especially when played during a celebratory spree. The word, ‘dorime’ would go on to tickle the fancy of Nigerians as it is now used as an adjective to idolize glamour, luxury, and high spending. And really, these are the right words, to describe what happened on 16th July 2021 in Oba, Anambra state. It was indeed a ‘dorime’ burial ceremony.
Call it a big Netflix movie or a premium box office, the fact remains that the just concluded funeral in Afor Uzo, Oba, in Idemili South LGA of Anambra state had everything expected from the yearnings for wealth, money power, and relevance in Igbo land. From the assemblages of the crème de la crème of the showbiz industry, to the markings of moneybags who share 7 to 12 digits account balances; from the roll call of strong men, to the battle cry of strong brotherhoods from the geopolitical compasses of the ‘Dot-Nation;’ all roads led to Oba, and you cannot but agree that the funeral of late Uche Iyiegbu, mother to Obinna Iyiegbu a business mogul, popularly known as Obi Cubana lived up to its billings.
Obi Cubana is a Nigerian business magnate, entertainer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and show killer. He is the chairman and owner of ‘Cubana Group,’ an empire name for top clubs, entertainment and hospitality outlets in Nigeria. The funeral of his late mum became the talk of the town. There was a lot of buzz about his hometown, Oba, not just because of the funeral but because of how he brought attention to the town. This was because he received no fewer than 246 cows from his friends and business associates for his late mother’s funeral during the weekend. One of them, a celebrity barman, Cubana Chief Priest whom it was gathered was picked up and groomed by Obi Cubana gifted his boss a trailer load of 46 cows. Over N257million was reportedly raised by the same friends to support the funeral. To them, it was a harvest of goodwill and a repayment of debt of gratitude to Obi Cubana whom it is reported, invested in and contributed to their growth. Call it the Igbo apprenticeship system if you like, but the fact remains that his wealth was said to be pretty transformational.
The funeral shut (or shot) down the Nigerian internet broadband space as those who didn’t attend, fed their eyes to stupor with their mobile data. As expected, a lot of reactions and talking points were generated on social media, most of whom have condemned the ostentations and intimidating display of money seen in the spraying of bundles of naira notes. Some Nigerians saw it as waste, show off and needless display of affluence especially by Ndi-Igbo.
But was the ‘Oba burial’ a waste of money? Was the ethnic profiling necessary?
The truth remains that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But to Obi Cubana, the lavish fanfare that greeted his late mother’s burial may not be a show-off; it was to promote his business brand which is built around luxury, showbiz and entertainment. People go to his clubs and buy drinks worth millions of Naira to show off, relax and enjoy. His business associates are men of luxurious lifestyle and these were the caliber of people that graced his late mother’s funeral. That said, if your business is built on ‘dorime,’ your customers and associates will be people of ‘dorime!’
Also, the funeral provided the opportunity for some of these men to show to the world that they are not only rich, but that they largely run the showbiz industry. To those who think that the Igbo domination of showbiz ended with the era of CD plates in Alaba International market, they may just have a rethink. The fact remains that they are the major shareholders and they run arguably the largest labels of major entertainment and showbiz outfits around the country.
While you think the funeral was a waste of money, Obi Cubana himself hit arguably 1 million followers on Instagram on the night. The search level of Obi Cubana on Google was on a stupendous level. The implication is that his Pablo nightclub in Lagos and other Cubana outlets around the globe will get more clientele. This can provide the leeway for him to seal the next big deal with potential money bags willing to invest in his brand. Also, while the naira notes were flying up and down during his mum’s funeral, he trended literally as №1 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so much so that within the snap of a finger, fans of Grammy award-winning star, Wizkid forgot his birthday was being celebrated too. All social media platforms were engulfed in a wild frenzy of Obi Cubana’s late mum’s funeral.
The biggest beneficiary of the lavish funeral may just be the Anambra and Delta state governments. Most dignitaries landed at Asaba airport and some checked in at Asaba hotels even days before the funeral proper. The same happened with hotels around, Awka and Nnewi. Traders, and transport companies within these regions all benefitted. Needless to say, data companies also were smiling? Every megabyte I ‘subbed’ during the weekend was just going ‘zam! zam!’ like the combined speed of Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin at the Olympics because I had camped on Instagram to see nice pictures and videos for myself.
Now, to young and impressionable minds; do they have the mental faculty to interpret the lavish and outlandish show of money and affluence they saw in Oba in the right perspectives? Can they resist the urge to think they must now get rich at any cost? Well, something which could be in similitude with this perception could be depicted in a recent post by veteran Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie on his verified Instagram handle. It read in part, ‘Some people are sending me messages begging me to show them where they can do money rituals…’ The thespian responded with the words, ‘…is it now a crime to be a good actor? The truth remains that society is potentially in trouble. The tendency is that people, especially the youths may no longer consider the legit path to success in their various struggles. You hear them say things like, ‘na for where ona dey see dis money?’ ‘Follow who know road,’ ‘cut soap for me,’ and so on. A critical examination of these clichés reveals they may not entirely be said as a way to catch cruise but out of subtle desperation to get rich either by hook or crook.
To this end, every Tom, Dick and Harry must rise up to the ‘challenge’ this socialite funeral may have caused in the psyche of susceptible minds. There is no gainsaying that some youths may have gotten heart attacks or depression over what they have witnessed in Oba. They must now urgently kill every smack of desperation. These youths should rather continue to have positive mindsets and take their routine hustling seriously. They should understand that diligently going about their businesses and taking their academics seriously lies the pathways to their success stories. To those who would be in a hurry to say, ‘school na scam’ should begin to have a rethink. They should realize that Obi Cubana whom they now idolize holds a degree from the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka. To those questioning his source of income as well as the sources of income of his cronies and associates (who were seen spraying Naira notes), they better do so with every stint of carefulness; lest they run the risk of being labeled ‘poverty minds’ or ‘enemies of progress.’
By and large, there’s nothing wrong with the billionaire business tycoon giving his late mother a befitting burial. Whether we like it or not, it was his moment of grief and I am so happy his friends and business associates came through for him. May the soul of his late mother rest in the Lord. We shall continue to talk about this ‘dorime’ funeral. It shall continue to get the buzz, frenzy and spotlight it bargained. Tongues will continue to wag because it was indeed a ‘dorime’ burial ceremony.
Chukwuemeka Oluka is a graduate of Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. He is a research enthusiast and a passionate writer. He writes in from Enugu and can be reached via “firstname.lastname@example.org”