We are all Marlians. Well, not all of us. As I see some checking in here to quickly register disgust at being labelled Marlians. Some will be quick to let me know that they have nothing in common with Marlians. They are no deviants. They wear belts. They do not make a show or policy of not obeying rules.
Well, we all can’t be Marlians, in the literal sense of it. There is always that remnant. I never meant it literally, in the first place. But then another stab at it. Can we really say we are not all Marlians? Maybe, not in the full sense of it. Perhaps if we weigh ourselves with the scale to measure our level of Marlianness, we might just find that there is indeed that little bit of Marlianess in most of us.
If it is about obeying rules, just take a look around and you just might find we have many more Marlians than we are ready to admit. Take a look at the Lagos roads, for instance. Can we say that most of those people on the roads are not Marlians? Those Okada riders with 2 passengers, driving against traffic on the expressway, as if on a suicide mission! Are they not Marlians? Those big men and women getting up to all sorts, beating traffic light. They are not Marlians?
The unruly behaviour at a lot of our public places. Is the ‘anyhowness’ we see at every turn of our public lives not an indication of Marlianism? The way we engage with politics and governance at all levels with scant regard for the rules. Is that not evidence that the Marlian culture is more prevalent than we assume?
Naira Marley says 20,000 Marlians fly that ‘airline’ every month. He obviously does not know what he is talking about. But indeed, many Marlians are patronising the business, even if they do not have the official pass as evidence.
In the first place, the private jet charter business is as Marlian as it can be. It is as opaque as it can get. At a time, it ran largely like a kabu-kabu business, with many of the players registered as one thing and operating as another. They will ferry whoever to wherever, as long as the money is right. If you think the business of flying a Marlian in the name of a Judge or a Minister only started today, then you must be a Marlian. The passenger manifest tells you just as much as the letter from the big man behind the business on the ‘anyhowness’ of it all. They did not start confusing Fashola with Fashola today. It is the name of the game, is spite of the protocols that are supposed to govern the business. It is just that Marlians will rather blame ‘a bunch of useless people’ than take responsibility when the trouser loses its grip. It is ingrained in the Marlian code.
The whole Marlian business is about seeing or positioning yourself to be above the law or whatever rules there are. But there are degrees to it. There is a level of audacity, some will say stupidity, to contemplate, not to talk of planning the event that brought Naira from Abuja to Lagos. You must think yourself to be immuned from everything about covid-19 and think that the protocols put in place are for lesser beings.
You cannot even blame Azeez, in the first place. Someone comes up with an idea, as odd as it is, pays him for his service, hires a plane to fly him from Lagos to Abuja, according him a VIP treatment all the way. What else validates the status of the number one Marlian more than that? What else does he need to remind himself that he is indeed above whatever rules there are? It is not that this is the first drive-in event that I have heard of, but how a concert was going to hold, while maintaining the distancing protocols and keeping to the specified number is beyond me?
How they eventually pulled it off is beyond me. Rules are for others, not for the Marlians. You cannot blame them.
But then, have other Marlians not been moving around, in spite of the ban on inter-state travel. While big boys have been flying, Marlians less endowed have been taking care of the Marlians in uniform who are supposed to enforce the restriction order. Marlians everywhere. Marlians, everywhere you turn. Some say covid-19 is a scam, others see themselves as invincible. The virus probably takes a bow once he sights a Marlian. Why should a Marlian wear mask?
See how we are carrying on, in the face of the yet-to-recede threat. I hear people say coro is gone. We have done away with the rules. The protocols no longer matter. The face-masks have become chin-masks, decorative pieces for the times.
Many of us are Marlians in our own way – cutting corners, where we can or looking forward to an opportunity to cut it. Baby Marlians, Aged Marlians, Uniformed Marlians, Political Marlians, Religious Marlians. All sorts of Marlians.
We have more Marlians than we know or are willing to admit. It is just the degree of Marlianess that separates Naira from Kobo. It is not until you throw away your belt that you become a Marlian. Too many Marlians who do not even know that they are Marlians.
When are we having another coro-concert? Mafo.