During the time of his initial entrance into the industry, I wasn’t really disposed to enjoying and famzing Naira Marley. I wouldn’t call it hate but I didn’t fall for him either. Even his widely accepted Nigeria’s Football support anthem “Issa Goal” didn’t move my musical taste bud. He was to strengthen my disregard for him when he released “Am I a Yahoo Boy?” the moment the song dropped, I predicted that he was headed for a controversial showdown with the authorities and it did happen. 

“Am I a Yahoo Boy?” sounds like a rejection of that ignoble act but a listen to song expected to condemn it turned out to be an endorsement of the act that has brought international disrepute to Nigeria and he paid dearly for releasing such a song. That notwithstanding, the song is loved by many and his imprisonment did nothing but to promote the song more and brought Naira Marley into the consciousness of the public. 

So how did I become a Marlian, a reserved Marlian though! 

It is simple! I became a Marlian after seeing the haste with which EFCC tried to make a scapegoat out of Naira Marley. The swiftness of the arrest, the sentencing and all other proceedings in the case brought out the stinking hypocrisy in that agency’s operation, who have repeatedly failed to officially jail a thieving politician but decided to embarrass a youth who is a victim of corrupt leadership that is characteristic of postcolonial Africa, Nigeria in particular. I became a Marlian when I saw how quiet Marley was during the whole period of that trial. He was calm, unshaken and respectful to the law court. He was eventually granted bail and he did what made me baptize myself into the Marlian’s Republic. That was the release of “Soapy”. A song we all love to hate. I too didn’t quite like the song until I saw the visuals. His reenactment of his prison ordeal with his friends, Zlatan, Rahman Jago, Guccy Branch etc, is a bold statement on the face of what is wrong with Nigeria’s correctional facilities. The overcrowded cell rooms, the unjustly jailed and the randiness of most inmates who involve in gay practices and masturbation. Marley exposed all that and in him I saw a rebel, a likeable rebel who even made a shout out to his jail house “kirikiri ijo soapy.” Now that’s the mark of a rebel. 

Hate him or love him, what we can’t take away from Naira Marley and even Zlatan, his friend is that he has perpetuated himself and can no longer be ignored. He seems not to care about the society’s notion of him. He is seemingly unaware, unconcerned and unbothered about pull downs. This young man appears to be building a consciousness that is likeable to Fela’s Kalakuta Republic which gave hope to disenchanted Nigerian masses during the military era in Nigeria. The youths of that time saw Fela as a rallying point, drawing inspiration and succor from the late maestro’s lifestyle. Now we have the Marlians, who are not just comprised of urchins, but millions of idle, disenchanted youths who are disappointed with their leaders. In Naira Marley, they found opium, a dope-like kind of relief that engages their frivolities since the FG has shown carelessness for its most important citizens. 

As time goes on, I am certain to do a piece comparing Kalakuta Republic and the rise of Marlians, but Naira Marley has to put in more work and effort to earn such comparison, even though we are witnesses to early intimations of resemblance. He has established a cultic followership within a short spell; we only hope that his republic doesn’t spiral the youths into more dilemma and crime. He can use this opportunity now to reorient the masses into being good youths and ambassadors of repute. His song “Bad Influence” isn’t enough in this regard, we need more of such soul searching songs. 

Marlians, come forward!

This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike

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