It was a harvest of seizure of motorcycles yesterday in Lagos state, as the Lagos state government began implementing new regulations on the operations of commercial motorcycles aka Okada. The Lagos state government’s regulation which took effect yesterday had barred Okada riders from the entire Lagos CBD area on Lagos Island, Ozumba Mbadiwe on Victoria Island, Awolowo Way, Gerrard Road, Alexander Road, Alfred Rewane Road, CMS, they are also forbidden from plying the entire stretch of Funsho Williams Avenue, Eko Bridge, Yaba, Third mainland bridge, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Mobolaji Bank Anthony. I could go on and on but the list does not end, this is a clear sign that the end is here for Okada riders here in Lagos, the end to their menace, their mischief and the hurt they have caused to many people finally comes to an end.
This is Lagos and even when the development had been on news, State Government has been warning them to stay off the road many defaulters where caught on the road,, and the law enforcement agents were on hand to deal with those who broke the law, many bikes were seized yesterday , some escaped the long hand of the law and left their homes as early as 6am to the Third mainland so as they would not be caught, a mild drama occurred at Ogolonto junction of Ikorodu Road, when over 10 Okada riders dared the enforcement team of LASTMA and Police stationed there, they were chanting Arrest us if you can in Yoruba, as they displayed their stupidity in the area.
Even though this is has been welcome by Lagosians, it has brought sadness and pain to many, a large number of people depend on Okada to get to work everyday, and even senior executives use Okadas as the fastest means to get any meeting considering the traffic in Lagos, there is no way you can beat the traffic if you have an emergency meeting, so most of them leave their drivers and hop on Okadas to make it on time, the story has been the same in my office as some of our Direct Sales Executives reported to work unusually late that day angry that they had to trek some distance before they got the Tricycle popularly called Keke Marwa (NAPEP) and you can trust Lagosians, the Fare for Keke has doubled due to high demand, a route that costs you N50 before is now about N90 or N120, and you still get to rush into it as people would fight for space. In Maryland Mobil filling station usually dotted with Okada riders, was deserted, same was the story in Tafawa Balewa square and CMS,
A bike man who I heard narrating his ordeal with a man while I waited in traffic said he was on his bike on Ekoro Road when a KAI operative came on him and seized his bike, hmmmm is Ekoro Road now a high way? This is what you get in Nigeria, people abuse power, small time now Scouts and Man-o-war go start to arrest Okada now.
The fear is looming, the impact of the ban on businesses would be great as some business thrive on Okada to distribute their goods, deadlines are met because of Okada, most people get promoted in their office because they come to work early which improves their productivity and hence gives them the edge, most people get to wake up by 4am in a bid to get to work early, but when they get home late they cannot afford to wake up that early again so they wake by 6 am and use Okada all the way…what a shame. Some members of the public expressed fear on the impact of the restriction to their business and families. They contended that while the government said it meant well for them and their security, the restriction would adversely affect their business and families.
One thing I love my country for is that no matter what happens we would still survive, no matter how high they raise the stakes, we would still survive, so the pain and agony would be felt for just a while and then, we would continue and find a better way to go through the normal Lagos traffic.
Good People, Great Nation
Joseph Osodi signs out……………..