“Discipline is the pinnacle lesson” – Obi Cubana from Freemen

14 February 2024

“Discipline is the pinnacle lesson” – Obi Cubana from Freemen

“Discipline is the pinnacle of Igbo Apprenticeship,” says Obi Cubana as he features in Showmax’s documentary Freemen.

With the launch of the much-anticipated Showmax documentary series on Igbo Apprenticeship titled Freemen, entrepreneur and businessman Obi Cubana has highlighted discipline as the paramount lesson he gleaned from the age-old traditional system.

The Igbo Apprenticeship System is a cultural phenomenon where established businessmen, known as “ogas,” take on apprentices, referred to as “mwa boys,” to learn a trade and eventually take over the business. The cultural practice ensures apprentices immerse themselves in learning a trade, from loading and unloading goods to pricing and customer interactions.

Watch the trailer for Freemen

Disclosing this in an exclusive interview on his appearance in the upcoming documentary, Obi Cubana stressed the significance of discipline in the Igbo Apprenticeship model. “The most important thing I learned from observing Igbo Apprenticeship is discipline,” he affirmed. “Waking up when you are supposed to wake up. Going to bed when you are supposed to go to bed and living within your means.” 

Despite not undergoing the formal apprenticeship himself, Obi Cubana credited his success to the principles instilled in him during holidays spent with trade-oriented family members. The discipline learned, he noted, has been a cornerstone in his journey as an entrepreneur.

The entrepreneur further touched on the need to document the story of how the system has been an institution in the eastern region of Nigeria for centuries. “The Igbo Apprentice System is something that needs to be studied and thoroughly understood. This is because it initiates a positive chain reaction and allows outsiders to delve into the culture that has shaped a people. This Showmax documentary has the potential to revolutionise various areas and foster a shared world,” he said. 

As part of the Showmax relaunch in February 2024, the seven-part documentary is now streaming on the African streaming service. The documentary also features prominent figures such as Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Okey Japan, Bartholomew Duru Nwanguma alongside his son Peter Nwanguma and other notable personalities. 

Freemen is now available exclusively on Showmax, with new episodes dropping weekly on www.showmax.com