By Omor Bazuaye
“We’ve left our pots unwatched and our food now burns”….it was a renowned playwright, Ola Rotimi that stated this in one of his classic dramas “the gods are not to blame”.
It seems that recent events in Nigeria appear to have confirmed the true condition of Ola Rotimi’s warnings and we are all living witnesses.
An incident involving an Okada rider that resulted in the death of a passenger smashed by on rushing truck has left Abuja, Nigeria’s capital cagey and at the edge of security anxieties in the last two days.
What this readily brings to mind is the recklessness of a society that left a critical segment of its youthful population uneducated and without skills; and in the process reduced them to Okada riders.
Now and in the face of growing threats, authorities must now contend with the menace Okada riders now constitute across the country.
I just hope it is not too late. Was it foretold? Yes. Did humans hid the warnings from the gods- to educate its next generation and do better than Okada? No.
What we now have is an army of Okada riders who litter every nooks and crannies of our cities. I even hear that “some” of them are displaced graduates. So some of them are even educated but have no space in the societies to excel and are as such left with Okada to survive.
In most cases, the Okadas( motorcycles) are imported from China in bulk by politicians who gleefully share to displaced citizens as their empowerment tools.
Now we are here trying to clampdown on monsters institutionalized in the first place by visionless leaders constantly in search for the easy way out.
I know of a time in this country when nobody will ever contemplate a ride on commercial bikes- and I doubt still if motorcycles have been gazetted as official means for commercial transportation.
Yet we allowed it and to give it some kind of legitimacy, local government authorities/ State governments collect levies amounting into billions of naira from ( Okada riders) even without proper licensing.
I’m not going to bother myself with how the monies collected as revenues have been expended. It will be meaningless.
Now that Okada riders have taken over our roads in total disregards to all known traffic laws and fomenting all manners of criminalities, authorities must be kidding to think they can just wave them aside with a fiat pronouncement without alternatives.
If you have had close encounters with these Okada riders then it probably would be easy for you to notice how these guys hold everyone else but themselves in contempt and responsible for their predicaments.
They hate car owners, perceiving them as being the cause of their predicament.
The feeling seems mutual with car owners ignorantly refusing to recognize that they too are entitled to the roads( but not when they ride against the traffic as it is often the case).
An encounter with one Okada rider always readily comes to mind. In a hurry to keep up with an appointment, I once took a ride on Okada. The experience nearly landed me in Igbobi(a famous orthopedic hospital in Lagos) after the Okada rider completely ignored the traffic against rushing vehicles. When I asked why he disobeyed the traffic warden he said the traffic policeman was there for cars only. This is the level of most of the guys we are dealing with. Mostly angry with the world and ready to transfer that anger at the slightest provocation especially my brothers from the North of the country.
To my mind, we need to treat the issue of illiteracy more seriously first. If we don’t, the number of displaced Okada riders will mount and they will not only threaten a sitting governor with their votes but possibly sponsor one of them to take the governorship seat and who knows maybe the Presidency. Don’t doubt it, they have the numbers and can be united in one solidarity.
Democracy makes it possible!
Culled from Omor Bazuaye’s Facebook page.