Like the Accra SkyTrain, car promise to Okada riders remain words

WhatsApp Image 2021 10 22 A34thnjm , T 12.jpeg These CODA Drive cars were launched in October 2021

Thu, 25 Aug 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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A sticker at the back of a car on the road this morning read, “Look and look again for okada.” Clear as the message was, it drew attention to an even more serious subject matter on the trade of commercial motorbikes in the country.

Known famously as ‘okada,’ it won’t be far-fetched to conclude that the industry and its legality or otherwise have in recent years become huge political score points.

From the proposed intention by the former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, and his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to legalize the trade, albeit several other oppositions, the sitting government has not been left out of the equation.

Although the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government disagreed with the NDC prior to the 2020 general elections that the activities of okada riders should be legalized in the country, it admits that something should be done about this unavoidably growing means of transport.

According to Road Traffic Crash and Casualty Situation statistics released by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) in the first half of this year, it showed that motorcycle crashes reduced by 12.35 per cent compared to the same period last year.

While the figures appear to be looking better than previously, there are still grave concerns that the legalization of okada riding in the country could foment even more devastation than its advantages, largely because of the extent of crashes associated with them.

But the incumbent government thinks a better approach to this form of transport could be the perfect gamechanger.

On October 23, 2021, the Coastal Development Authority (CODA), through the CODA Drive initiative launched the CODA Drive, an initiative by the state institution that is aimed at keeping the riders safe, while helping them maximize profit through legal means.

Speaking at the event to launch the project, the Chief Executive Officer of CODA, Jerry Ahmed Shaib, stated that this initiative was born out of the fact that he wants to make millionaires out of the okada riders.

"I want to make okada riders millionaires. By owning one of these small cars today, you may just end up owning many more others. Just like Zoomlion that started small, you can also become very big," he said.

At the time of its launch, there were 200 cars available to be distributed with the first batch of beneficiaries expected to pay GH¢25,000 for the cars, with a payment plan of GH¢41 daily to offset the cost.

200 CODA Drive cars expected to be on the streets to replace the ‘troublesome’ okada have not been spotted anywhere, or have they?

And while the NPP may not have agreed with their biggest political arch-rivals, the NDC, on the legalization of okada, one of its leading members in Ghana’s parliament thinks the time to give the riders a green light is now.

In a tweet, the Member of Parliament for Nsawam Adoagyiri and Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, called for the regularization of the commercial aspects of the business in the country.

According to him, okada riders are all over town [and villages], operating small stations and terminals as well as rendering what he describes as good services to some citizens of this country.

He added that the 'illegal' way of operating the motorbikes is risky but it cannot be left unattended forever.

"They are all over Town now, with small stations at or Terminals at some points, they offer 'good' services to citizens more often than not...Okada!

"It's getting risky and it's time we 'Regularize' it.

"It cannot be left unattended to forever!

"Let's give it a thought!" Frank Annoh-Dompreh tweeted.

This also forms part of the several assurances given by this government, to the people, such as the one about the Accra SkyTrain: a planned fully automated, elevated light railway metro network that was intended to serve the Accra city in Greater Accra, Ghana.

Now merely words on paper, the network was expected to have five routes, four of which would be radial routes that originate at a new terminal at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, and another route that loops around the city center, totaling 194 kilometers.

But now, the question begging answers is, where are the cars that were supposed to replace the okadas?

Also, just like the forgotten Skytrain, what is the update on what the government intends to do about this growing means of transport in the country, seeing that it is highly patronized by many citizens?

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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