Unamused Motor Riders Association of Ghana (Okada) have rejected Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia’s promise that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration will provide them with alternatives to their controversial trade.
Dr. Bawumia, against the tide of the rat race by the Ministry of Transport and other government appointees to hold “consultations” to legalise Okada, announced yesterday that the NPP will not legalize Okada but will provide an alternative and “safer means of transport” for the 600,000 people estimated to be engaged in the commercial motorcycle business “Okada”.
“(Okada riders) need to graduate from this risky and less risky Okada riding to a safer means of transportation,” said Dr. Mahamudu Bawumiah at an MoU signing event with German carmaker, Volkswagen and another automobile manufacturer called BlackIvy, in Accra.
However, the riders have rejected the offer downright, saying they are not interested in any alternatives and that all they want is a proper legal framework and safety regulations that will make the burgeoning mode of transportation safter for the significant number of Ghanaians who rely on their services.
“…The youth have already involved themselves so we are expecting regulations on it. We are Okada riders. We are not drivers so if they will give us a car, when are we going to learn to drive. Even if you are driving, still you are in danger. How many of us can you give us a car because we are thousands across the nation?” The National Chairman of the Association, Fatawu Ali, told Onua FM.
“We don’t agree to that [the alternative arrangements promised by the Vice President]. We like the Okada because even residents in the Vice President’s village are using Okada. We need to find a safety solution instead of the car,” Fatawu said.
Dr. Bawumia’s announcement has totally messed up the government’s narrative around Okada as it becomes clear that the Akufo-Addo government is not too sure of what to do with the Okada business question after the administration has strangely announced it was in “consultations” to legalise Okada after the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had announced that if voted into power in December, he will legalise the booming commercial business.
According to the NDC flagbearer, ex-President John Dramani Mahama, legalising Okada is one of his priority projects if voted into power in the December presidential polls.
Opponents of the Okada, business have pointed out the unenviable safety record of these commercial motorcycles. However, the group’s Chairman said , comparatively, commercial cars are cumulatively killing or maiming more people in Ghana than motorbikes.