A Pentecostal pastor has publicly apologised to a popular Nigerian nightlife entrepreneur, Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana over a controversial comment.
Mr Cubana, a few days ago, thrust himself, his brand, his friends, and his Oba community in Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east, into limelight when he buried his late mum with style and glamour that seemed unheard of in any part of Nigeria.
Aside from numerous celebrities, amazing gift items, including hundreds of cows, wads of naira notes were frequently thrown into the air by Mr Cubana’s friends during the burial.
Clips of the ceremony, posted on the Internet, got Nigerians talking – several people who attacked Mr Cubana, questioned his source of money, while others defended him as “a good and generous man”.
“The place where you are standing to spray money, the road is not tarred…. Can’t you see the stupidity of illiteracy,” Ntia Ntia, the pastor of Full Life Christian Centre, Akwa Ibom State, reportedly said of Mr Cubana.
Mr Ntia’s remark attracted outrage from several Nigerians who said Mr Cubana was a better man and “more godly” than many Nigerian pastors.
The pastor retracted his statement and apologised to Mr Cubana, after the backlash.
Mr Ntia said, in a clip that is being circulated on Facebook, that he immediately changed his perception about Mr Cubana after watching a BBC interview where the celebrity businessman talked about his humble beginning, his struggles, and how he made his first N1 million.
The pastor said his comments on Mr Cubana were “very harsh and unkind”.
“I want to say that the comments came out very wrong and prematurely. With further information, the life that the man has affected, the people that the man has lifted, the destinies that he has invested in, sincerely I want to say that it is not my intention as a preacher to preach to cause hurt or to cause pain or to preach to discredit anybody, at all.
“As a preacher, my assignment is to preach words that heal, not hurt, words that help, not harm. Therefore, in any way those comments might have caused harm or pain, I sincerely apologise.”
He also apologised to Mr Cubana’s friends and others who may have been hurt by his comment.
Mr Ntia said Mr Cubana is “a great man, with the things he has done”.
He said he regretted his comment, and that he has “100 per cent” respect for the businessman.
“We need more of such people who have a heart for others and would go to a great extent to invest in others,” he said.
Besides, Mr Ntia said his wife is from Anambra State, and, therefore, Mr Cubana is his in-law.
Cubana speaks about his life, mum’s burial
Meanwhile, Mr Cubana, a graduate of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said, in the BBC interview, that wealth comes through hard work, and not “native doctor” or “miracle”.
The 46-year-old busimessman said he made his first N1 million through a commission paid to him as a property agent in Abuja shortly after his National Youth Service Corps programme in the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, he has gone through rough times, including being a food vendor, and sleeping in a one-room apartment with six friends.
He had never been involved in any unlawful business, he said.
“No be everything we you dey see today work-o, some no work. Some we put hand, we lost money,” Mr Cubana said in Pidgin English.
He said he and his family were planning a carnival for his mum’s 80th birthday, but that since she did not live to that age, they had to convert the plan and the “energy” into her burial.
His mum was a teacher in a local school, he said.
He said the act of throwing money into the air, which is frowned upon by the Nigerian authorities, was a demonstration of love for him by his friends.
Apparently justifying the act, he said he and his friends were free to do whatever they like with their money