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The okada debate died with election 2020


The National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has said that from January to April this year, 2021, a period of three months, there have been over 2,000 motorbike crashes recorded, the ones not recorded may even be more.

No one seems to care. They would end us as one of the several statistical figures that are just complied for the sake of it and then scribbled down in some never-to-be-read-again file that gets  dumped on some dusty shelve with wobbly legs in one of the several government offices downtown Accra.

This alarming figure from the NRSA has not led to any policy to regulate or completely ban the use of motor bikes as a commercial means of transport, a very popular business that has become known as ‘Okada’, one of the terms Ghanaians copied from Nigerians.

Meanwhile Ghanaians were told in very plain terms during the election 2020 campaign period that there is a law that criminalizes the use of motorbikes as a commercial mean of transport.

Whatever happened to that law and whether it is no longer a useful law is a question for the gods because more than ever, Okada business has become extremely popular.

The then presidential candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahatma had promised that if his party was given the nod, his government would see to the legalization and regulation of the Okada business.

Government however rubbished the suggestion and produced tons of super scary statistics to prove that motorcycle taxis have been a leading cause of road accidents and fatalities.

In its stead, government promised to give out mini cars to the Okada riders to discourage them from using motorcycles as taxis.

Then the debate became pure partisan politics which ended in a non-debate but spewing of emotional viewpoints fueled by parochial partisan interests.

The elections have come and gone; the Okada business is still thriving and getting larger on a daily business. The accident and emergency centers at the various hospitals have not stopped collating figures from Okada-related accidents and deaths. Figures that would end up as mere statistics although they are figures about the death of Ghanaians.

Indeed many more persons are beginning to invest in motorcycle taxies as an additional source of income. Of course, the migration from the rural areas into the capital cities to engage in the Okada business continues unabated.

Meanwhile the policy makers, policy regulators and politicians have all gone back into ‘default setting’ awaiting the next elections for them to play on the keyboards of people’s emotions, just to win votes.

If Okada is truly an illegality, how come the riders are forming Associations and establishing stations at almost all major cross roads in the capital city?

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