‘I plan to make Marlians a global movement,’ said Naira Marley, whose birth name is Azeez Fashola. Marlians are popularly known to follow his philosophies and lifestyle, and he has been accused of misleading the youths. Why are youths following him anyways?
Icons like Naira Marley keep being followed because of their relevance to their followers. According to a source, at least 55% of Nigerian youths are part of his movement. That is more than any Nigerian artiste or politician is getting.
There is a difference between preference for someone’s music and love for his lifestyle and perspectives. Our youths play different music styles from local and international labels, but few of them name their lifestyles after any artiste or famous person.
Naira Marley’s relevance is based on at least three things: his outspokenness about the cancer of corruption in the country, his connection to Indian hemp, and his ability to effortlessly communicate to the average Southern Nigerian, poor youth.
Youths in Southern Nigeria want someone who understands what they are suffering; if the person also has solutions on how to fight the bad situation and to spend time till the situation is defeated, they would follow the person. That is why people like Sowere, Nnamdi Kalu and Sunday Igboho are trending.
Whenever tired people cluster around some beacon of hope and relief, they get transformed into the image of the icon. Adolf Hitler won hearts by words and lifestyle first, and then put guns in the hands of his followers and attacked through them.
People like King David and Jephtah in the Bible were joined by worn out, dissatisfied men too; this and other sources prove that this behavior is normal. You just need to look at Nigeria to see that such leaders get followers than can die for them.
Naira Marley has been accused of leading youths down a wrong path; if one were to read his tweets, one would wonder why he says many dirty things he says. His followers, however, drink whatever water he provides, since they like him.
One would wonder the kind of future Nigeria would have when it is run by men and women who drink, do sexual intercourse and speak in ways that would make their own children worse. Is this one of the disadvantages of corrupt governments? Yes, because Naira Marley is just filling a gap.
In summary, should we fight corruption with corrupt lifestyles? Should we fall for the lure of sensual pleasures like promiscuity, hard drugs and recklessness because our pains are too much. This is for the youths to decide.