Mohammed Tijan addressing his colleague motorbike riders
Mohammed Tijani, National Chairman of the Okada Riders Association (ORA), a group of commercial motorbike riders in the country, has accused the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of not keeping to their word in dealing with them while in power.
According to him, the then NDC government, led by ex-President John Dramani Mahama, prior to the 2012 elections approached them and made several promises to better the conditions of their occupation while soliciting for their votes.
However, they met the shock of the lives when not long after winning power the then NDC government outlawed the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes, otherwise known as Okada.
He pleaded with the government to support them in various forms, including acquisition of driving licences and protection from police hostility among others.
“We are not for NDC or NPP. All we are saying is that, these things do happen to us often. Politicians approach us and make so many promises to us only to win power and abandon us. The NDC has done that to us before,” he stated.
Mr. Tijani made these revelations during an activity held on Tuesday at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to, among others, familiarise itself with the concerns as well as the challenges faced by the riders.
At the function were leading members of the party, including the National Organiser, Sammy Awuku; the Greater Accra Regional Youth Organiser, Moses Abor, and the party’s candidate for the Korle-Klottey Constituency, Prince Appiah Debrah.
Also present was a pool of Okada riders from various parts of the city, including Nima, Odododiodio, Circle, Adabraka, Odorkor and Ashaiman, who cheered wildly while their president spoke on their behalf.
The NPP National Organiser charged Okada riders in the country to ignore the promise by John Mahama to legalise the Okada business.
A Better Alternative
He said with the introduction and implementation of the National Transport Recapitalisation Policy, Okada riders would have the opportunity to acquire motorbikes or cars to work with on a work-and-pay basis, stressing that “this is not going to be a one-off programme”.
Mr. Awuku explained that the rationale for the policy is to provide a sustainable source of livelihood for the youths in the Okada business while they still look out for better job opportunities.
He assured them of government’s determination to provide more jobs as well as helping them acquire drivers’ licence, among others.
“We can’t promise what we can’t do. We shall do our best to meet the needs of all Okada riders,” he vowed.
By Nii Adjei Mensahfio