Plans by former President John Dramani Mahama to legalise the commercial use of motorcycles popularly known as Okada have been met with outright rejection by a group calling itself Concerned Drivers Union.
The group, which says it has over one million members across the country, has raised the red flags over the proposal regarding the legalisation of Okada, saying it will increase road accidents and lead to loss of lives.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, Secretary of the group, Nana Owiredu, said, “We will support measures to help Okada riders join the vehicle transport business rather than the legalisation of Okada to create problems on our roads.”
The association is calling on “the NDC to reconsider its manifesto promise to avert the impending calamity of its decision.”
The Concerned Drivers Union said, “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.”
According to them “there can be no justification for a promise that essentially takes one group’s livelihood and dangle it before another group as a new opportunity. Apart from the unhealthy competition, Okada legalisation will create havoc and mayhem on the roads for both professional and private drivers. The regular occurrences of broken tail lights, mirrors and body dents to our cars leave much to be desired. The Okada riders who cause these accidents speed away, leaving drivers to bear repair costs. The situation is unfathomable when Okada is legalised (sic).”
They said, “Therefore, 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. This is in addition to the unhealthy competition that may escalate indiscipline and accidents on our roads. Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we expect solutions, not problems from our leaders.”
The association is, therefore, calling for a “dedicated enforcement” of the 2012 Road Traffic Regulation which banned the commercial use of motorcycles.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak