Obi Cubana And The Great Gatsby Are Not Sides Of The Same Coin

By Isaac Asabor

It is not hyperbolical to opine that the social media platforms, with specific emphasis in this context on Facebook, is not always an online distraction or procrastination platform. While some may be habituated to their social media linkages, it is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date. Major news outlets, corporations and persons of interest use social media to deliver messages to the masses. With items posting instantly, the public stays informed. Some issues may trigger hullabaloo, but social media does more good than harm when disinterestedly reviewed.

There is no repudiating the fact that it is against the foregoing backdrop that when I stumbled on a question paper used in examining undergraduates of Faculty of Arts, Department of English, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, in their first Semester Examination on 07/09/2021 on Facebook platform, I was somewhat flabbergasted. I was unarguably flabbergasted as one of the questions, precisely question 4 reads: “Obi Cubana could be likened to the great Gatsby. Discuss”.

At this juncture, it is expedient to opine that I was taken aback by the question as Obi Cubana does not have anything in common with the great Gatsby, who is also known as Jay Gatsby.

First and foremost, “Who is the great Gatsby, and who is Obi Cubana?” It is as the foregoing questions are answered in this context that one will be on an explanatory pedestal to understand that both of them are not in any way sides of the same coin.

As gathered, Jay Gatsby is a young man in the roaring twenties that is branded as “new money”. The reason he is known as “new money” is because he created his fortune unlike people who are known as “old money”, who inherited their fortune from family. In a similar vein, it can be said that Obi Cubana, whose real name is Obi Iyiegbu, and Chairman of Cubana Group, had in July 2021 when he was trying to ward off the backlashes that trailed the lavish burial he honored his departed mother with revealed that he made his first million naira, after his National Youth Service Corps program in Abuja, and that is where the seed of his breakthrough sprouted from.

It was also gathered that the great Gatsby did not earn his money in an honest way. He earned it by bootlegging alcohol, which was illegal because of the prohibition of alcohol at the time he was involved in the business, and he also earned a lot of his money from fake stocks.

On the contrary, despite the eyebrows raised concerning the “Naira Rain” that literarily fell during Obi Cubana’s mother’s burial, the business tycoon has revealed that his riches were as a result of hard work, and more so as a political science graduate from the University of Nsukka who underwent his NYSC program in Abuja where he was subject to a monthly allowance of over N100, and there is no denying the fact that he made his money by starting with what he had at hand at the time considering the fact that money then was valuable.

Besides, with his place of primary assignment at the National Assembly where he earned N2000 monthly, Obi managed with his friends and brothers in a one-room apartment in Zone 4, Abuja.

As he narrated to Journalists, it was in Abuja that he was introduced to the real estate business, where he met a client who wanted to furnish a house, and after furnishing the house for the client, Obi was gifted N500,000, as he also made over N600,000 in profits for the job.

He added, “That was the first N1.1 million I made before I joined contract work in Abuja. I signed a contract with PPMC, made a little money, and then bought my Mercedes V-boot.”

He also revealed that he invested the money he made into a garden beer parlor before he established Cubana, which has now gained national and international prominence.

It is against the foregoing backdrop that Obi Cubana cannot in anyway be likened to great Gatsby who was a bootlegger that invariably made his monies through illegal means. More so, Cubana is a straightforward and honest person in his dealings, which unarguably opened more doors of his success as everyone witnessed the massive and unprecedented support extended to him by those he helped in the past.

Though, it was also gathered that even though Jay Gatsby didn’t earn his money honestly, that he was a very honest man when it came to what he wanted. Findings also added that even with all the monies he had, he still wasn’t happy, and that the only thing that could make him happy was to have his one love Daisy. Against the foregoing backdrop, does Obi Cubana share anything in common with him apart from in the aspect of riches and fame?

Gatsby often threw parties so that he could get a glimpse of Daisy and these parties were filled with his illegal alcohol which is why his parties were such a big hit. The narrator of the book and Jay Gatsby’s closest neighbor Nick Caraway tells us that he never sees Gatsby ever socializing with his party guests and that most of the guests don’t even know who he is or what he looks like. They can only tell Nick the stories that they had heard about Gatsby. It’s not like these people had the technology like we do today to figure out what someone looks like or what they do for a living. Still comparatively put, Obi Cubana is known, his businesses are known, and his kinsmen are known, even as he is popularly known to hail from Oba, a community in Idemili-South Local Government Area in Anambra State.

At this juncture it is expedient to say that, Jay Gatsby represent the American dream life in the 1920’s and the story tells us of how some people will do anything to get what they want even if that means earning their riches through criminal acts. To my view, they don’t share anything in common as nobody remove Cubana’s drive for entrepreneurship and human capacity development from his success story.

Now to finally shock you, the Great Gatsby is fictional book, and a film that has Leonardo Di Caprio played Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby that presents the notions of money and poverty, covering how these aspects affect individuals in society. To throw an insight into what the novel is all about, it is expedient to say that the themes of money and despair educated Nick Carraway to pursue a quality life rather than wealth that encouraged him to move to West Egg. In this case, the failure to do so led to a dead end like Gatsby, who got shot by George Wilson. The plot and themes show that everyone wants money, but it clouds judgment, leading to despair when Gatsby dies and showing how everyone is hopeless to run faster like the boat. Contrarily, Obi Cubana is alive, and not fictional. His success is being practically demonstrated, and visible in all his businesses that cut across economic sectors, and are incubated under the popular Cubana groups.

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