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Naira Marley: An inspiration or source of deterioration to Nigerian youths?

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John Wooden once said: “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.”

My problem with some of the current artists in the entertainment industry is that they don’t possess the necessary depth needed to model the Nigerian youth. Most of them are so shallow, worldly, materialistic and devoid of necessary values needed to build the next generation.

It is appalling to know that the artists that many of our youths are looking up to do not possess the virtues and values sacrosanct to youth development. Who would then teach the youngsters values? Is it the Nigerian artists, with the evolution of morally bankrupt and deficit songs? I doubt it!

The rave of the moment among the Nigerian youths is singer, Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, who has always been in the news for the wrong reasons. The Nigerian tabloids are always awash with degrading news about this artist that has held the Nigerian youths spell bound.

We keep waking up to news such as “EFCC, slams 11 fraud charges against Naira Marley;” “Nigerian pastor says Naira Marley is a demon;” “EFCC to arraign Naira Marley for Yahoo Yahoo;” “Naira Marley Introduces New Dance Moves, Calls It ‘Tesumole;” “Naira Marley Was Once Wanted For Robbery and Sexual Assault In The UK”…. the list is endless.

He is creating an army of youths called Marlians. His songs and dance steps are inspiring a new generation of morally deficit youths, and it seems the youth would be in his grip for a long time, except something serious is done.

From the dance step, ‘soapy,’ that has popularised the habit of masturbation to his off and on life inside prison to his recent dance step called ‘Tesumole,’ Naira Marley has continuously been a source of controversy and confusion in the entertainment industry.

Some few days ago, a Nigerian mother cried out on social media after her teenage daughter was suspended from school for being part of a Marlian cult. According to the woman, the school caught over 25 girls who were members of the cult, including her daughter.

A teacher had found underwear in one of the girls’ bags and when she was questioned, she revealed that she was part of a cult whose members do not wear underwear to school on certain days.

From thorough investigation, it was ascertained that the girls don’t wear pants, while the Marlian boys don’t wear belts. Imagine young girls and boys joining cults in junior secondary school level. This is actually the level that the ‘Marlian’ fever has driven many youths to.

A Nigerian pastor, Chris Omashola, claimed that he received a revelation from God that Naira Marley is a demon designed by hell to wreck the future of Nigerian youths.

The clergyman took to his Twitter page on Tuesday, January 7, this year, where he shared a series of prophecies concerning Nigeria, specifically warning that Naira Marley’s music is demonically inspired to destroy the youths in Nigeria.

He tweeted: “In 2020, God told me Naira Marley is a demon. He is satanic and should repent before it’s too late. His songs are demonically inspired to destroy the destiny of the youth of this generation. Nigerian youths should desist from calling themselves Marlians.”

There are questions that every ‘Marlian’ should ask him/herself before he/she loses him/herself in the journey: Who is Naira Marley’s mentor? What values does he represent? What is the spirit and motivation behind his songs? What message is he preaching?

If you want to destroy a generation of youths, lower their role models and references. When the standards that youths and children look up to are lowered, they would undoubtedly grow up to live inferior lives.

The Nigerian artists must begin to communicate to the youth with clarity and intellectual depth. Most artistes have thrown caution to the wind, as the content of their songs now revolve around nudities, quick wealth, violence, drugs and a false sense of utopia.

There are various questions to ask before artistes release their songs, these include: What is the moral lesson in the song? What positive message is being preached? What kind of value is being projected? What message of hope and legacy are we leaving behind? What kind of virtue can the youth pick from the song?

It is appalling to know that most of the Nigerian artistes are promoting a generation of valueless youths. I want to specially reach out to parents to get seriously involved in the kind of message their children/wards are getting from the entertainment industry.

Today, we have many youths with ‘entertainment value,’ but no intellectual value. We cannot shy away from the fact that the fastest way of getting any message to the youth is through the entertainment industry. The youth of nowadays would rather be entertained than to be educated.

This is the more reason why parents must keep a diagnostic eye on the kind of messages their children/wards are gleaning from the entertainment industry.
We must face the fact that the youth of nowadays learn mostly from the entertainment industry, which is why I have decided to be a non-apologetic alarmist on the content and messages that the Nigerians artistes are ‘feeding’ the youth.

My sympathy goes out to parents of youths that see Naira Marley as their role model. Naira Marley’s grip on the youth would become stronger until parents take their place and position to speak to their children/wards on the danger of the ‘Marlian’ spirit presently everywhere in the country.

Every organisation and stakeholders to whom the future of the youth is paramount must come out boldly to speak against any form of entertainment that encourages crime, nudity, materialism and demented dancing steps.

It was so appalling in December last year to see one of the banks with great investment in the Nigerian youth doling out N60million to Naira Marley for a week performance at a concert sponsored by the bank.

My conclusion is this: The ‘soapy’ singer has nothing tangible to offer the Nigerian youth. His style of music has done more damages than intervention to youth empowerment in Nigeria. He should be called to order to use his grip to nurture his army of youths and revive the lost values that have eluded the entertainment industry for long.

I believe strongly that there is no man that is beyond redemption. What Naira Marley needs is not condemnation or vituperation, but a prompt realisation of the platform that God has given him to impact the youth. If famed rapper, Kanye West, can make a total ‘U-turn’ to now impart his fans in a Godly way, then there is great hope for the Marlian king.


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