If you reside in a highbrow area that affords you comfort while commuting to and from your destinations within the city/town then you may have to spare yourself some few minutes to have an idea of what’s contained below. It has to do with the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation. It is interesting to know that the use of motorcycles (or Okada, as it is known in Nigeria) has lived with us ever since the factories began to roll out large quantities of motorcycles. And it may be as a result of the threat from poverty, as made worse by unemployment, that helped in no small measure to fuel the population of those willing and ready to join the trade. Motorbikes are normals and of a popular sight. But as their numbers have risen, some governments have restricted their operation within most cities so as to adopt new and modern means of transportation. But we owe the operators of commercial motorcycling some praises.
The menace of bad roads
Beyond it being a source of income to some households, commercial motorcycling has filled the gap of the shortage in means of vehicular movements in the hinterlands. There are many hard to reach places in Nigeria and most African countries. There are villages with poor or no access roads. Most rural communities can only be reached through the service being offered by motorcyclists. These shouldn’t be ignored. Most governments have been spared the embarrassment of not being able to provide good roads to connect the rural communities owing to the fact that the commercial motorcyclists are keeping things alive in and out of those places. Take agriculture as an example. Some farmers do experience losses after harvest just for the single fact that there are no good roads to allow cars to come in and evacuate the produce to places where the market does exist. The situation would have been worse if there were no motorcyclists. Can we also ignore the help these guys do offer to pregnant women who need help to access the hospitals that are often located far away from their communities? So much can be said.
The way forward
Yes, we are fully aware of the safety concerns when it has to do with operating a 2-wheel vehicle. We won’t also forget how it can easily be used by miscreants to carry out robbery within towns and cities. But such cases shouldn’t give room for dislikes. The way forward will be to constantly train and sensitize the operators on safety issues, and to check on their mental state. Also, a proper organisation of the operators for easy identification and coordination will limit its use for criminal activities. They should be recognized within the system of public transportation and given operational guidelines in order to eliminate the rowdiness that always does characterise their activities. Let’s not throw away the baby with the bathwater. Okada travel is a part of us. Let’s adjust to it.