The Okada Riders Association, in the wake of comments from the Vice President, labelling Okada as a risky business, has reiterated calls for the legalization of the okada business in Ghana, insisting that okada can be made much safer if there was a regulatory system in place.

Okada business has become quite popular in recent times, especially in the capital, which informed the promise from the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, to legalise okada should he be re-elected on December 7, 2020 to ensure better regulation and safety while providing more job opportunities.

Currently, Section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), prohibits the okada business, stating, “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”

Mahama’s promise was met by huge support leading to immediate pushback from the opposition. The Vice President, Dr. Bawumia has been at the forefront of the pushback, describing the operationalisation of okada in the country as a “risky business”, while announcing government plans to offer new cars to okada operators on a lease basis in order for them to carry out their activities in what he believes to be a much safer manner.

“You don’t want to finish graduate school and then make a life from okada riding. You can have a better option, and we will give you a better option. So yes, we will not legalize the okada business in Ghana. It may be a tough decision but it is in the interest of Ghanaians. We are having discussions, but we will stick to our decision to provide a better alternative for the okada riders. Let give them an opportunity to buy safer vehicles through lease and pay over time. It is a better option than what the alternative is”, he said.

However, the Okada Riders Association has hit back at these comments. Speaking on Citi’s Eyewitness News, the Public Relations Officer for the Okada Riders Association, Solomon Akpanaba argued that, with the necessary training, the number of accidents recorded among motor riders will be reduced.

“Even drivers who are trained and given licences get involved in accidents. So if the motor riders are not given any training whatsoever, they should not be blamed at all. It is not their fault that there are no training schools for motor riders. Besides, no one has the right to attribute the accidents to the okada business. How do you draw the line between the commercial ones and the private ones?“

He further argued for legalising and regulating the okada business.

“Under regularised systems, the carelessness of some motorbike riders will be reduced because they will belong to unions that will control them. What at all is it about regularisation that some people are against? Under a regularised system, commercial riders will be differentiated from private ones. They can be tracked and traced. Indisciplined riders can easily be traced and arrested. Remember, the riders will also pay tax, they will as well be taken through proper training and licensing,” Solomon Akpanaba argued.

John Mahama and the NDC have remained committed to this course since the announcement and have insisted that they have a blueprint to making the operationalization of the okada business safer and more convenient.

Credit: Citi News Room