Home » » THE 'OKADAMAN',HIS BIKE AND THE PROSPECT OF A SECURED ECONOMIC FUTURE-ONYIYE OLOMU

THE 'OKADAMAN',HIS BIKE AND THE PROSPECT OF A SECURED ECONOMIC FUTURE-ONYIYE OLOMU




When I read of the endorsement of Sen Okowa by the Association of Motorcycle Riders,my curiosity was aroused. Yes,I concur that there have been other remarkable endorsements of the Senator by equally reputable groups and Associations but that of the ' okadamen',as they are popularly called,struck a special chord in me probably due to the peculiarities ascribable to the group. May I try to explain.

In virtually every State of the Federation, Okadamen have become somewhat an endangered species. Every virtue or vice in our communities always seem to place them precariously and in disadvantaged situations. I shall cite two examples to buttress my submission.

First,is it not observable that once the network of roads in States that have thriving Motorcycle businesses begin to get tarred and broadened, almost immediately, governments and citizens of such States spontaneously begin agitation for Okadamen to be removed from such highways,lanes and streets?

Quite frankly, we are not unaware of multiple cases of avoidable accidents caused by,or involving motorcyclists and their passengers and in most cases,the casualty rate has been gargantuan or unimaginable.

However, we are of the opinion that the process of removing these people ought to be phased and also, during this delicate period,alternative business choices should be provided for them. Okadamen are responsible Nigerians that should be treated as other Nigerians are treated inasmuch that they are worthy citizens and not the scum or wretched of the earth!

Furthermore,and unto our second example, it is also now a norm that whenever the spate of robberies, kidnappings,assasinations( especially those carried out at night )increase in any given community, it begets the hue and cry that okada business must be banned.The perception is always that the perpetuation of these vices are done with the use of motorcycles most of the time. Sadly,nobody in these moments of public outcry, advocate for the separation of the wheat from the tares among these bikemen. However, if truth be told,in the long run,society is always worse for it.

Just imagine the sheer number of individuals that depend on this ever -growing business for economic survival. Think also of their families and dependants that wait each day for papa to come home with money for food after each day's hustling,toiling and struggling under the scorching sun and you may have begun to understand and appreciate the irrationality of just throwing these Nigerians back into the labourous Labour market without providing them economic alternatives. Definitely, some of these once -upon -a -time Okadamen might in the end take to crime in order to survive.
Recently, I heard one respectable House of Representatives member in Delta State insinuate that okada business is meant for lazy and unschooled individuals and that riding okada for too long as a means of livelihood is ridiculous.

May I inform the Honourable and others imbued with this mindset that many of these Okadamen so referred to derogatorily by them,are young and energetic graduates who took to this 'demeaning' business after a long and tiresome search for the evasive white- collar jobs. Moreover,they are,to say the least,honourable entrepreneurs who have chosen the path of honour rather than taking to criminality. So,demonizing them to score cheap political point is unnecessary. May we leave it at that.
Back to the crux of this discourse.

Although we were not privy to the discussion that birthed the endorsement, one thing we are sure of is this:Sen Okowa,just like he has done with other endorsing Associations and Groups,has won the confidence of the large Body of Nigerians called in our local parlance, Okadamen. Otherwise, this group could have elected to either remain indifferent/mute in the current political dispensation or take to praying and hoping that whoever emerged as the next Governor of the State MIGHT just favour them through his economic policies and programmes.

So then,that our beloved Okadamen have unreservedly thrown their weight behind the Senator is to us,a show of implicit belief that the latter is sure to win and that having won,he is ready,in concert or partnership with all relevant stakeholders, to bequeath unto Delta and Deltans, economic policies and programmes that are not only robust but also have human face to them!
God bless our Delta State!

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