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Obi Iyiegbu: Hospitality Maestro Driven by Consistency, Hard work and Resilient  

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By: Oladapo Sofowora

 

Born and raised under the roof of modest civil servant parents, Obi Iyiegbu’s parents were core disciplinarians both teachers. Growing under such conditions has helped shape his perception of life most especially enhancing his ability to bring fortune out of every misfortune. Like the Biblical Joseph the Dreamer, the dark husky-voiced cosmopolitan super dandy is typically a man who sees tomorrow and believes in his lofty dreams and aspirations.

After serving as a youth corp member when Nigeria returned back to democratic rule in 1999, Obi envisaged he and many others were going to be absorbed as full-time staff of the National Assembly being the first set of corp members to serve there. Alas, his heart was broken as they were released after their compulsory service to their motherland. His dreams of being a civil servant like his parents did not see the light of the day. He would have fit the job at the National Assembly perfectly having graduated with a second class upper division in Political science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Super Dandy Obi Iyiebu

He was at a crossroads but going back to his parent’s house in Anambra was never the option. He opted to stay back in Abuja to make ends meet. He started off as a house agent in Abuja and also ran a boutique. With hard work, consistency and resilience he was soon popular as a top choice for those who need to secure a stress-free apartment in Abuja. He secured houses for people and got a commission in return. His breakthrough came when a client he got an apartment for told him to furnish the house to high taste. After caring out that project, the proceeds he made from the contract he used to rent an open space where he and his friends sold beer, palm wine, bush meat and other delicacies. His idea was quite unique as he infused continental and local bar standards together. He enjoyed massive patronage as his joint was a mecca of sort for fun-seekers. He racked in enough funds not until then Minister for FCT Malam Nasir El-Rufai demolished their joint claiming it was not part of the Abuja master plan. It was painful but he needed to move ahead for challenges ahead. As a skilled sailor despite the turbulence and typhoon direct to sink him, he was able to navigate through the heavy tides. He alongside his friend opened another bar called Ibiza. The business boomed as they got triple the amount of patronage they used to get. They redefined the open business with uncommon ideas infusing their knowledge as graduates. He was never ashamed to serve beer to customers where there are plenty of orders. He enjoyed what he was doing with sheer passion.

 

In one of his numerous trips to South Africa, He went to chill with his friends at a spot called Cubana in South Africa. On getting there, he was fascinated by the sartorial elegance and sheer luck that comes with the name Cubana. He decided to adopt the name immediately. He phoned a friend and asked for a name search at the Corporate Affairs Commission. He was told no one has ever registered the name. He immediately registered the name and that was how Cubana came to life.

Man of the Moment Obi Iyiegbu

To flourish in the Nigerian business terrain, you must have the heart of Hercules, the fearlessness of Achilles, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, and the hide of a rhinoceros. The Society Big boy definitely possesses all the above qualities as he made up his mind to go all out and chase his dreams taking all necessary risk. All his life, he has never delved into any business without seeking partnership. He believes partnership helps business grow quickly so he adopted the partnership model. He called friends and associates who saw his dreams for Cubana. While some faulted his dreams those who believed in him invested their funds. After sowing with tears, God rewarded his hard work with the success story of Cubana Groups as a business conglomerate with an interest in Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Hospitality, Liquor Production, Events and Branding. He is reaping bountifully with a smile on his face.

 

Many of those who questioned the source of his wealth never knew the pain and failure he faced to get to the current position he is today. He loathes media attention no doubt, but his type of business keeps throwing him into the public domain. He is a silent achiever and rather than talk, he prefers his good works and achievement speak volumes of him. As of today, his Cubana Night Club chain is currently the most talked-about fun place for fun-seekers. With its edifice pattern and architectural wonderment; the club resonates the popular city of Las Vegas in the United States of America known for its bright light and other spectacles.

 

When it comes to the Hospitality business, the father of four knows it like the back of his hand. For those students looking to write a thesis in any hospitality-related courses; citing the Night Life generalissimo’s approach to business; gives you an edge. Apart from being the cynosure of all eyes, the witty and highly cerebral businessman is not carried away by appraisals from praise singers. He is a focused man who believes in God’s time for everything. He is not pressured to do anything. He does things within his capacity at any time he wishes to do it.

 

Many wonder how despite his tight business schedules and travel itinerary, he still carves out time for his wife and kids; he is of the opinion that; family time should be held in high esteem. He believes when his home is at peace business will flourish. That’s why he makes every free time with his wife and kids worthwhile. Those close to Okpapaozuora 1 of Oba will agree that he is a generous giver who gives without blinking an eye. He gives like money is running out of fashion. There are several people for who he has built houses, settled for business, given scholarships and lots more but he has never made noise about it. He believes in humanity that he loathes the sight of another human in distress. He is readily available to do everything humanly possible to help. More reason he partnered with his wife Barr. Ebele Iyiegbu on her Kiek Foundation to reach out to the needy; most especially vulnerable children.

Obi Cubana

Those who just heard about him, during his mother’s burial think he just shot into limelight with no deep root or history. Taking a glimpse at his story shows that; he has been around for a while silently doing his thing before his mother’s burial gave him the highest media attention he has ever received all his life. When he was nominated as The Sun Newspaper Hospitality Icon of the year 2020, some raised eyebrows by making disparaging comments. His detractors are quick to forget that with his track record in the hospitality sector with clubs, lounges and hotels littered across the country; he is more than deserving the award. As of today, he is one of the biggest employers of labour in the hospitality sector with over one thousand direct staff and two thousand indirect staff working for him. His business is currently doing well competing with Night clubs across the world. To further extend his business tentacles; he is set to commission his Cubana Hustle & Bustle in the heart of London in 2022.

 

Obi Iyiegbu Receiving Sun Hospitality of the year 2020

A day to the award presentation; The shrewd businessman was hosted and celebrated and awarded by popular Liquor brand Remy Martins alongside his friends. On the day of the Sun award presentation, Obi was glittering like a diamond in the company of his wife, friends, business associate and family members. His table was the center of attraction as many thronged there to pay homage to the gentleman extraordinary. With a warm and welcoming smile on his face, he greeted everyone with an open heart. When it was time for his award; half of the crowd in the hall stood up and escorted him to the stage. This singular gesture opines that; he is indeed a man of the year. It also connotes that; he is loved by many and his giant stride as a cosmopolitan businessman is being appreciated and recognized.

 

For him, the award is a clarion call to do more and also make sure he continues to impact his immediate society positively. With the launch of his wine brand Sageitude and his under construction CASA by Cubana Homes in Lagos and Abuja, it’s a clear indication that Obi is going into the year 2022 with much firepower. For naysayers, Obi remains a moving train that can’t be stopped. He remains God’s project still under construction.

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FIRSTBANK COMMEMORATES 2022 INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY, DEDICATING THE WEEK TO CELEBRATING THE YOUTH

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022 and themed “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” 

 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The Day also amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind. 

 

Leading up to the day, the Bank dedicated the week of 8 – 12 August with a lineup of activities to reiterate its commitment to Youth Empowerment.

 

As a Bank renowned for its role in developing the economy through sustainable employment and entrepreneurship endeavours, the 2022 edition of the Youth Week will promote economic empowerment and employment, digital technology, and education as its focus during the celebration.

 

The Youth Week comprises various activities, including a Fashion illustration workshop, Design skill training, Gen Z/Millennial Webinar and many more exciting activities. These activities would give participants opportunities to win various exciting gift items.

 

Under the [email protected] program, the Bank will empower the youths through Artistry Workshop Sessions & Arts Classes. Interested in the art of fashion design and illustrations, visit the Bank’s social media handles – Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr – for information on how you can be among 10 lucky winners to have the opportunity to learn the business of fashion at Claire Idera fashion studio. 

 

Likewise, the Creative design workshop will enable youths design skill training; design thinking principles and their application in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. Interested youths can also participate on the FirstBank social media handles, where 25 lucky winners will be selected to learn the Art of Design at Geneza School of Designs.

 

Commemorating the Youth Week, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank said: ‘’We remain committed to celebrating the younger demography whose voices, actions, vigour, and tireless participation in the political, economic, and social activities have continued to birth major contributions towards the sustainable development of Africa and the world at large. The planned activities will promote better collaboration and solidarity across generations to foster successful and equitable relationships, and partnerships thereby ensuring “no one is left behind” and empowering everyone to leverage their full potential toward achieving the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

This Youth demography has a striking significance for us at FirstBank with the Millennials and Gen Zs constituting almost 60% of our workforce. This shows that youths are an integral part of our organisation and every country where we operate”, he concluded.

 

For more information and participation in the Youth Week, kindly visit the bank’s verified social media platforms; Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr

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BUA CHAIRMAN, ABDUL SAMAD RABIU GIFTS FG 10BILLION NAIRA AS SECURITY SUPPORT FUND THROUGH HIS ASR AFRICA AS HE VISITS BUHARI

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Leading Nigerian Businessman, Industrialist and Philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari today in Abuja, to update him and to thank him for creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, and also brief him on the strides BUA Group has made in the past few years.

Thereafter, Rabiu briefed the President on the activities of his foundation, The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) during which he also announced the donation of a N10billion Nigeria Security Support Fund from ASR Africa towards the provision of some security equipment, medical and other supplies, upgrade of health facilities and other infrastructure for families of those on the frontlines.

According to Rabiu, the visit was in order to identify with President Muhammadu Buhari, during whose tenure BUA has built over 10 factories with two of the Group’s subsidiaries now amongst the top 10 largest publicly listed companies in Africa, and to further support the efforts of his administration in business as well as in the security space.

In his response, President Buhari said it was heartwarming to see and hear of Nigerian companies doing so much within Nigeria, and Africa especially in the area of production using locally available raw materials. He also expressed his elation at the achievements of BUA which had led to phenomenal growth within such a short time. “As a Government, we know we have done a lot in this regard, and we will continue to do more to support the aspirations of serious businesses, big and small, by providing an enabling environment as well as supporting value creation within Nigeria..”

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One Year After, Family, Friends Celebrates Late Hosa Okunbo

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Like the popular saying that; sweetness is the memory of the righteous for Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, His memory will forever linger on in the heart of many most especially those he has touched their lives positively. About a year ago when the news of his long-time battle with cancer came, many started praying that a philanthropist of his repute who has many under his scholarship and under his payroll should survive the deadly sickness but as the supreme being will have it; Captain Hosa as he is fondly called succumbed to the dreaded grim reaper and embarked on a sojourn of no return.

 

It was indeed an emotional moment as the country most especially Edo State was thrown into a sober mood. Tears started to flow like a river as loud voices rented the air asking God why such a man with a heart of Gold will have to leave without bidding farewell. In disappointment, all sundry succumbed to the will of the creator as the one who giveth and taketh. The head honcho of Ocean Marine Solutions and Wells and Carlton hotel had joined his ancestors at the very tender age of 63.

 

In celebration of his life and times on earth, His family held a one-year thanksgiving memorial service for him in the United Kingdom headed by his wife Mrs Nosa Idahosa Okunbo and children at the Trinity House in West Hampstead, hosted by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo. The church service reawaken memories of the late billionaire business mogul as it was an intense and emotional atmosphere.  In Nigeria, His daughter, Olori Aiyivieruewinoya ‘Ivie’ Emiko-Atuwatse, Atuwatse III, Queen of Warri Kingdom alongside his other children also had a memorial service for him at Greenhouse Farm, Benin, Edo State. It was a grand celebration where his friends and fellow kinsmen joined to celebrate his one-year memorial service and remembrance.

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