The Marlian pop culture and new identity of Nigerian youths

By Diana Onuoha

“Marlians come forward, the rest f**k off

I am sure you must have heard that a thousand times.  In our country today, there is one fast route to joining the clique, one word that qualifies you to be in vogue. Say Marlian! This trend is becoming so socially acceptable that a national day for Marlians is debated to be set aside. There are values for members and uniforms to complete the unbelievable cycle.

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Controversial Nigerian singer, Naria Marley, will certainly have won a Nobel prize for his subtle but powerful grip on the youth through his lyrical delivery. The young man is raising a new generation of Nigerians who are weird and excusing their inappropriate moral and social values simply with a seven lettered word: Marlian.

Being a Marlian is the new social excuse; fail in your exams and not make it to the graduation list, just say you are a Marlian; after all Marlians don’t graduate. Wear your trousers and drop it at your thighs flashing your faded boxers; just say you are a Marlians; Marlians don’t wear belts. Go on a beating spree, manhandle your mother, abuse your siblings and challenge your father to a fist fight; just say you are a Marlian, they are manner less after all.

While we argue that Naira Marley is just an ordinary musician making his daily bread, while we insist that being a Marlian is just a social identification. While we pretend that non-Marlians are boring and too serious about life, we should also ponder on the significance of the increasing number of Marlians we have today.

Is it not ironical that we accuse the media of polluting the masses with their content and programmes and yet we refuse to say the same of an artiste who seem to have a hypodermic effect on the youths? Naira Marley is the bell, and when he rings, the unsuspecting dogs begins to salivate. Are we saying it is okay to have the Marlian identity on our CV, swagger into any organization with our belt-less attire and alter organisational policies because we have no manners?

While we pretend that non-Marlians are boring and too serious about life, we should also ponder on the significance of the increasing number of Marlians we have today.

Do we want a Marlian president? Do we want a Marlian doctor who won’t graduate but jump in to operate on you? What about a Marlian lawyer representing you in court?

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By keeping mute and allowing this culture to bloom, are we saying that we are ready to live in that brutish state where everything is excusable simply by being Marlian? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about leadership, innovation, science, research, ICT, skill sets and other progressive plans that youths should have a focus on. If we advocate for non-graduation, are we not trying to belittle education and research? Are we saying it is okay to do anything at will because you have an already-made justification for it?

If we say that Marlianship is no wrong, if we decide to pretend that being a Marlian is a little fun for anyone. If we insist that the Marlian motto is just mere jokes, then we should know we are the proverbial adults that stayed at home and watched a goat deliver while being tied. We must take a stand and push this pop culture to extinction or else we will come to the point where the words of Chinua Achebe will hold sway: things will fall apart and the centre will not be able to hold.

Tomorrow, when the future generation will rise up with their motto such as “to kill is joy”, “ rape is just a little past time”, “ there  is no need to be innovative” . We should put a smile on our faces and applaud them. If we dare to raise eyebrows, then the joke is on us.

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