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Much ado about Okada ban

By Ebele Orakpo

Ah, ah! I thought all this okada madness has stopped,” exclaimed Mercy at the Mile two Bus-stop when about 15 okada riders rode at their usual maddening speed despite riding against traffic, an offence in Lagos State.

“Yes, they were banned from major roads,” replied Kachi.

“So Oshodi-Apapa Expressway is not a major road?” asked Mercy aghast.

“Maybe these ones are the untouchables. Almost on daily basis, they knock down innocent passers-by because they take the wrong lane and on very high speed. And when you dare complain aloud, they abuse you thoroughly as if you were the one breaking the law. The whole thing is just crazy!” said Tunde.

“But why are they complaining if they were only banned from plying major roads? That is the right thing to do. They are too reckless,” noted Izzy.

“Honestly I thought they were banned from operating completely in Lagos State,” said Mercy. So what is their problem?”

“No, just from the major roads. But even if they were banned completely, is it a crime? After all, they have been banned in so many states and they all trooped down to Lagos to continue their business. It would have been okay if they operated by the rules, but no, they are a law unto themselves. Just visit Igbobi and see the havoc they have wreaked on the people they are supposed to serve,” stated Tony.

“Ehn, no problem. When they send all their customers to the orthopaedic hospital, then their business will end,” said Kachi, tongue-in-cheek.

Reported Henry: “I saw about 50 Hausa Okada riders loading their motorcycles into a trailer at Mile 12. I asked one of them where they were going and he said; “We dey go home. Gaskiya, you, I don tire por Lagos. Wahala e too much. Haba! Eberyday, dem go distop us. E don do gaskiya.”

“No mind dem jare. Dem go return very soon when hunger wire them,” said Tunde.

Said Kachi: “But on a more serious note, why should they be banned from the lucrative routes? After all, the Governor used them during his campaign and secured their votes. So it is unethical on his part to just destroy their means of livelihood.”

“Grammar! I don’t see any wrongdoing on the part of the Governor. He is just protecting the citizenry,” said Izzy.

“The problem with our governments is that they do not provide alternatives. Banning them is good but what plans did he put in place for them? If we are not careful, armed robbery will increase and it will be penny wise, pound foolish because it is the same citizens he is trying to protect that will suffer,” said TJ.

“You are right. At least they should provide them with Keke Napep.

“Dat one no be okada too? Glorified okada. In fact, they are becoming as notorious as okada riders,” stated Mercy.

“Keke Napap can never take the place of okada in Lagos. Okada is faster in the usual Lagos traffic,” said Jude.

“The only solution is for government and people to provide enough vehicles for the people and good roads and rails,” said Mercy.

“Agreed. But no matter the number of vehicles and the quality of roads, nothing will change if we don’t change our mindsets,” said Tunde.

“Many of these okada riders don’t know jack about motorcycles or traffic rules so what do you expect? Let government provide them with alternatives,” said TJ, adding: “But the roads they are allowed to ply are still many so what’s really their grouse?”


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