Ghana Concerned Drivers' Association has kicked against former President John Mahama’s promise to legalise 'okada' business should he be elected president again in the December 7 elections.
According to the association, there is nothing to be gained from legalising okada, except to increase road accidents and casualties, as well as the peace and stability of the transport industry.
Former President John Mahama, in his manifesto, said his government will legalise the commercial operation of 'okada' when voted into power in 2021.
According to him, the 'okada' business has become a means of sustenance for young people who are unemployed.
But the association, with over one million people nationwide, also indicated that legalising okada in Ghana may escalate indiscipline and accident on our roads.
It is of the view that apart from the unhealthy competition, 'okada' legalisation will create havoc and mayhem on the roads for both commercial and private drivers.
The secretary of the association, Nana Owiredu, at a press conference in Accra, noted that what the association expected as a promise from a political party was the enforcement of the ban since 2012, per the rule of law, and not a promise to legalise it for political expediency.
He stated that when legalised, thousands of okada riders will spring up overnight, making it impossible to regulate.
“We will rather support measures to help 'okada' riders to join the vehicle transport business rather than the legalisation of okada to create problems on our roads. Therefore, we demand an immediate enforcement of the Road Traffic Regulation 2012, not the legalisation of okada,” he added.
He further stated, “We expect solutions, not problems, from our leaders. Therefore, we encourage the NDC to reconsider its manifesto promise to avert the impending calamity of its decision.”
“The NDC is promising to legalise okada to create jobs. While we are not opposed to job creation for our okada-riding brothers, the NDC seems to be oblivious to the effect of their promise to our livelihoods. For us, this back-tracking promise to legalise okada amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
“In other words, okada riders will be given jobs whilst we lose our own. We will, therefore, not sit aloof for the NDC or any political party to legalise 'okada'.
The association, he emphasised, utterly opposes against the legalisation of okada in Ghana because it amounts to risky endangerment of passengers' lives and livelihoods of millions of our members.
He pointed out that even though accidents happen with cars, it is incomparable to the accident rates of okada, citing more than 4,000 cases of motorcycle accidents with 732 deaths from the records of the National Road Safety Authority in 2018 alone.
“Even in Nigeria, from where okada emanates, okada has been outlawed when caught between the argument for jobs and bloodshed on her roads. It is only with alcohol hangover that we have heard one must drink more to cure, but we are cautioned to move away from danger and not launch into it in most life situations. In our view, Lagos State in Nigeria has elected to err on the side of caution, and we prescribe the same for Ghana,” he stressed.
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