9 min read

Demilade Tiwo


Naira Marley is undoubtedly one of the most controversial Nigerian artistes of the present day. Going from one court case to another, fighting for the unjust course, recording and releasing songs with censored contents among other socially immoral qualities that trail everything he stands for.

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One thing to be concerned about is how big the “Marlians” movement is currently growing.

“Marlians” as known across Nigeria are youths and fans of Naira Marley who are said to have “no manners” and are people who live by whatever their president dictates, however your pass to being a Marlian is never to wear belts.

Naira Marley gained recognition in Nigeria in 2018 after he featured Olamide and Lil Kesh in a song titled, ‘Issa Goal’ which was recorded to support the Nigerian Super Eagles at the world cup. He went ahead to do a remix of the song after it had been widely accepted featuring the likes of Simi, Falz, Slim Case and Lil Kesh.

Naira Marley is referred to by his ‘unschooled’ followers as the present-day Fela because to them he has fought in support of internet fraud and “Yahoo Boys”. But the stunning difference between Marley and Fela is that Fela never fought for any unjust course.

The singer was arrested on his birthday in 2019 for allegedly being involved in internet and credit card fraud and since his series of oredeal with the EFCC, Naira Marley has been the talk of the town, as some believe, the case with the anti-graft agency just widened his fan-base and made him extremely popular.

Shortly after Naira got released from EFCC’s custody, He released a song titled “Soapy” which sparked a lot of controversies on social media. The soapy dance imitates masturbation and in the lyrics of the song Marley claimed that people in Nigerian Prisons masturbate, which a few numbers of people who have been running prisoners’ rehabilitation causes see as disrespectable representation of what truly happens in the Nigerian prisons.

A popular Nigerian Dancer Khaffy rose up against this claim but was blasted by Naira Marley who referred to her as “Old School”.

Sadly many prominent Nigerian Celebrities who are supposed to be advocates for change and good morals are now coming out to declare their ‘Marlianship’, giving more youths the trigger button to join the ‘mannerless’ train.

Popular Nigerian singer Wizkid, via his Twitter handle sometimes last year declared that he was a Marlian, DJ and daughter of Nigerian Billionaire DJ Cuppy also declared that she was a Marlian. Richard Mofe Damijo, Mercy Aigbe, Toke Makinwa, Salawa Abeni are other celebrities who have declared their ‘Marlianship’.

A cross-section of Nigerian youths said the influence of Naira Marley has turned most youths to something else.

“Naira Marley has not influenced the youths in a very good way, his influence has turned most of them to something else, you’d see them on the street acting abnormally all in the name of wanting to be like Naira Marley.

Another said, “I’m not a big fan of his songs, and I want to advise the Marlians to use their brains because this same Naira Marley who said Marlians don’t graduate has children in school. I also read one time that Naira Marley is a graduate so why is he misleading the youths? Why would you follow someone to the detriment of your own life?”

A story circulated the media a few days ago, about some secondary school girls who were suspended for forming a cult-group which they tagged ‘Marlians’. According to the story, the girls who called themselves Marlians would go to school without putting on their under wears. the cult was however uncovered when a teacher in the school found a pant in their bag.

Meanwhile, all of these happenings are due to the ‘great kind of influence’ the singer has on the society, The government has also unknowingly given him publicity and fame when he was dragged for alleged fraud.

You would agree that when Naira Marley birthed the idea of Marlians he did not envision it to be something this big and controversial. He was probably just creating his own fan base but you know how Nigerians over do things. Also, his constant court cases gave him another level of recognition.

Speaking about Fela, although during his own controversial era his lifestyle was not very pleasant but he was supported and loved by the masses because he sang against corrupt leaders and the harsh treatment of the civilians by the military leaders, he also touched on the activities of politicians. Naira Marley on the other hand is fighting an unjust course and promoting bad morals so shouldn’t be compared to Fela in any way.

However, one thing we should not forget as Nigerians is the fact that the influence of naira Marley can still be put into good use. In as much as we try to criticize the singer, we should also make a conscious effort to ensure that he realizes that he can positively influence the society.

In other words we should channel positive energy to making Naira Marley realize the negative impact his influence has on the society and make him realize how to become a positive influence on the society.

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  1. Ranking Standard

    January 16, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Well detailed write up. Big ups!


  2. Aisha Eniola

    January 17, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Well done! I like the objectivity of this article


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