The Obi Cubana’s Umunneoma Economics and Igbo Apprenticeship System

The Obi Cubana’s Umunneoma Economics and Igbo Apprenticeship System

A few days ago, I wrote, “Legends have it that most of the wealth displayed during the burial came through donations from men who Obi Cabana supported in their entrepreneurial journey. As I have written in Harvard Business Review, the Igbo Apprenticeship System remains a vehicle to accelerate wealth creation and insure a future. Obi Cubana is another case study.” I want to discuss that case study in this piece.

The Igbo Apprenticeship System is a business philosophy of shared prosperity where participants co-opetitively participate to attain organic economic equilibrium where accumulated market leverageable factors are constantly weighted and calibrated out, via dilution and surrendering of market share, enabling social resilience and formation of livable clusters, engineered by major participants funding their competitors, with success measured on quantifiable support to stakeholders, and not by absolute market dominance.

The Igbo Apprenticeship System is the Umunneoma Economics – and Obi Cubana is his recent interview and writing (see below) has provided new datasets on how the system works: “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…In 2018, I took 100 educated men out of streets and introduced them to the white men for business and today there are billionaires …Yes, I will gift 1 million to 300 Oba boys to start up business and link them up too to make it. I have a lot of friends and associates and we are like brothers to each other. ” Check, that is a venture capital fund and private equity fund combined, except that he does not take equity!

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Obi Cubana’s philosophy reminds me of Dr Nnorom Ukpabby, one of the finest men who ever lived in my Ovim (Abia state) community. The man was so loved that during catechism in the church, when people were asked to name their saviour, many said “Dr Ukpabby”. They failed the catechism and would return back to class, hoping next time they would pass the exam, to be admitted as full members of the Methodist Church.

Dr Ukpabby earned his PhD from the United States, returned back and became the first indigenous dean at UNN. He pushed his kinsmen to education and did all necessary to help them across Nigeria. After the old version of FLSCE (primary school), a town crier would go around, telling villagers that a truck would arrive from the city next week, and anyone with his standard six certificate should come to the village square. He mentored them, supported them, and turned boys into men. He was not a businessman but he ran a playbook that brought another dimension to community building. 

Obi Cubana’s umunneoma economics accelerates economic returns and the world has seen what it means to push for the rise of all, not just a few. While we do not want such displays of wealth, as it is not necessary, I want us to pick a lesson here: nations rise with the rise of ALL, and not just a few. Obi Cubana’s Oba community is rising not just because of him, but because others are arising with him. That is the ubuntu philosophy and that is the spirit behind the Igbo apprenticeship system. Focus on that – and avoid the noise!

Obi will modulate next time but let us not miss this important case study. In a different nation, researchers would have descended to Oba (Anambra state) to understand what he did to produce such an impact. But in Nigeria, it is to bring him down. Of course, he will return back to business and continue to push, putting all the distractions behind. He did not get to where he is now by listening to “noise”. But  I challenge him to modulate next time as Diobi, the palm winetapper, must not reveal everything he sees on the top of the palm tree, says the Igbo proverb.

—-Obi Cubana’s article and video—-

Change Nigeria

If Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are Nigerians, the Nigerian press would have crucified them for going to space when there are many hungry Nigerians on earth. But because they are whites, they are praising them as visionaries.  They will attack Dangote even when they praise American cities for giving Amazon HQ2 tax breaks. To thrive in Nigeria, filter the noise and stay focused. Obi Cubana shaped all; the nation did not even notice that bandits killed 13 policemen in Zamfara on Sunday. Success must not be a SIN in Nigeria!


Obi Cubana Finally Speaks ?

“I want to state this clearly, I am not the talking type or Social media interest free person”
Obi Cubana; finally speaks.

“Many have questioned the type of boys and friends I have, to me, I hardly address anyone as my boy because we are all boys to God Almighty.

I don’t have any boy who is into rituals, if you are my boy or my man because I like to address my boys as my men, it means you are working hard and you made your money in a clean way.

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.

I linked 40 of them into importation and made them use my name and platform to import goods into the country. After two years, I checked on them how they were doing and find out some had issues and I supported them again to stand.

I am happy today that out of the 53 men, 38 are billionaires while the rest are in the level of a millionaire. In 2018, I took 100 educated men out of streets and introduced them to the white men for business and today there are billionaires in dollars.

They also help me in their capacity when I require their help. All their friends both Nigeria and outside patronises me.

I am into hotel and club business and I have so many businesses I am brand ambassadors to.
I have alliance with spirit drinks and wines, I am brand to many businesses in the world.
It gives me joy to see my men do well, non of my hotel managers in Nigeria can small poverty, I encourage them to raise others from their local communities.

I have never sacked a worker due to misconduct, I bring you in and speak to you the way you will understand.
I have this understanding that we should allow the stubborn people to exist and cool headed people to exist and we make use of them when their needs arises.

I don’t believe in the supremacy of power rather I believe in the fare share of power and authority and allow everyone to feel belonged.

I have many uncountable people through my hotel business, I have encouraged many, I have made a lot of friends millionaires and billionaires because it gives me joy. Seeing them throw money around gives me happiness and they know, so anytime there are with me, they show such attitude of throwing money to please me.

Yes, I will gift 1 million to 300 Oba boys to start up business and link them up too to make it.
I have a lot of friends and associates and we are like brothers to each other. We love and encourage one another in good and bad as you have seen in my case that all of them came massively to support me.
Critics is normal and there are there to say what they want to say but when you are doing the right thing, you don’t listen to what people say. If I have my way, I will also help those criticising me.

A lot of non Obas will still benefit from me because I am still in the business of making people great.
Cubana chief priest is my man and he is a jolly fellow. People mistake him for me, I am Obi Kubana and he is my Chief priest I hope you understand it now.

I am not into politics and I don’t have interest in it till tomorrow. I respect those in politics because dey carry power. Lol hahaha.
My advice is they should identify talents and make them great, don’t have any fear of who betrays you tomorrow, just make men and move, if they remember good if not be happy that they made it through you.

I didn’t asked my boys/men for donations or help, I didn’t also asked my friends for help or donations they did that on their own and I appreciated their efforts.

Gradually ala Igbo ga adinma”

Comment on LinkedIn Feed

Comment: “I am as well awaiting the Prof’s inputs as it concerns moral impacts on this issue.” –

My response: I have addressed that many times: my feed is a business school. Those looking for morals on how to speak about money should go to their pastors or imans. That I write on a subject does not mean that I believe or agree with the subject. My job as an academic is to apply the nuanced academic perspective without being swayed by emotions. I do not drink alcohol.  I do not smoke. I have never entered a nightclub.

But that does not mean that I cannot put effort into analysing those businesses because Ndi Igbo said “uwa bu ahia” [the world is a market]. I want to understand the business in anything! That I write on Dangote business model or Obi Cubana branding model must not be seen that I endorse or will do the same. I am simply a messenger in trying to understand what they do.

The Obi Cubana’s Carnival and Nigeria’s Acres of Diamonds


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One thought on “The Obi Cubana’s Umunneoma Economics and Igbo Apprenticeship System

  1. These guys are smarter than the their detractors, in multiples. When you struggle to make impact, let alone turning boys into men, it becomes both a mystery and worry in trying to comprehend how they do it.

    I saw hate flying all over the place, nobody cared to learn business lessons, rather they are more interested in dishing out moral lessons to people whose accomplishments they can only dream of, it’s pathetic.

    A seemingly unknown Obi buried his mum, and magically everyone across the continent and beyond became aware and it kept trending? To reduce such an incredible feat to mere spraying of cash is insulting and loathsome. How did Obi and his guys create the build-up leading to the main event? It’s worth studying! Our over schooled compatriots are not as smart as they project themselves, and it’s embarrassing.

    One person, creating billionaires and millionaires in their hundreds, and the misinformed bunch are focusing on money spraying? Please march naira and give us 100 millionaires, even the CBN will be happy with you! What again is government working so hard to achieve: keeping naira notes clean or creating wealth? You already know the answer.

    We need to wise up in this geographic space, hatred has consumed many of us.


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