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It was a bright morning on the 3rd of February 2020. Like every other Monday, I dragged myself off my bed to prepare for work. By the time I was done, I was running late as usual. As I hastily walked down to the bus stop, thoughts of the recent ban on Okadas and tricycles in 6 local government in Lagos (Apapa, L/Mainland, Surulere, Eti Osa, L/Island, Ikeja), which was put into implementation two days ago came to mind but I just said to myself “we go dey alright”. How terribly wrong I was.

keke Napep

I got to the bus stop at Bamishile, Ikeja already sweaty and eager to get to work. At first, everything looked normal until I began to notice the number of people waiting alongside me. “This is definitely going to take a while”, I said to myself. A while turned out to be a 20 minutes jog all the way to school. I went bonkers when I got to school. “how can the government be so insensitive to the plight of its citizens’, I fumed. Alas, I ended up trudging sadly all the way back home after work, and on the way back, I heard two persons lamenting on how they have been dismissed from work.

I have read several articles, some trying to justify the actions of the Lagos State Government. So, let us take a pause and consider the rationality of the Government action.

  1. Lagos state’s commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, said the ban was needed because of deaths, accidents and disorderliness caused by motorbike taxis, popularly known as “Okada,” and commercial tricycles, known as “Keke Napep.”
  2. According to the state commissioner for transport, Frederic Oladeinde, from 2016-2019, Lagos recorded a total of 10,000 road accidents involving motorcycles and tricycles. Out of the 10,000, there have been 600 recorded deaths.
  3. The Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu responded to the outcry by announcing that a fleet of 65 buses will be deployed along major routes. This, of course, was after the lamentations and criticism.

Lagos Okada-KekeNapep Ban: The Truth. Now let us consider the rationality of the ban excuses:

  1. It should not be the duty of the citizens to try to understand what the Government wants, rather, it is the duty of the Government to understand what the Citizens want. In a civilized world, before decisions affecting the lives of people are taken, the Government will give a reason and then conduct a sincere public opinion. What the hell is wrong with Nigerian Government Executives and Senate/House? No one asks for our opinion, they just seat, make laws that gratify their pocket and begin to implement. If public opinion was conducted, the people will say ‘We don’t care about the deaths, Don’t ban Okada and Napep! Find a way to regularize it to make it safe!’
  2. When something needful is disorderly, what we do is to fix it, not ban it. banning is a coward way out!
  3. The action of deploying Buses to commute Lagosians i.e 65 buses, will lead to the employment of 65 drivers, as against a million of self-employed persons who survive by Okada and Keke Napep. It is a stupid calculation!
  4. Millions of persons will in the affected local government areas, will be put out of a job. Will the Government provide jobs for them all? we know the answer is no.
  5. 600 recorded deaths are nothing compared to another million of unemployed persons, strong potential risk of armed robbers, deaths likely to occur, inflated rate of depression, stoppage of education for children, child abuse and trafficking, high rate of illiteracy, dismissals from the workplace, the list is endless.
  6. Increasing the rate of transportation is a selfish and wicked thing to do. It doesn’t matter if the Government did so in person, local commercial drivers will always take advantage. When the cost of living continues to go high, without an increase in salaries, unfathomable hardship is laid on the masses. Is the aim of the government to kill or to save?
  7. The Lagos State buses and the other commercial buses are actually not enough to commute passengers. Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria next to Kano with about 21 million citizens. The means of transportation available bearly enough to cater to the transportation needs of the people especially during rush hour. We still see people waiting, fighting to enter the buses and going late for work.
  8. Is the Government trying to kill private businesses like Gokada, Oride (Opay), Crowdyvest, who are trying to make Lagos transportation system orderly?
  9. How does government excuses justify Police by firing T-gas and guns on citizens they ought to protect?

In a country where unemployment and poverty is already on the highest step on the ladder, the ban is sure to have an adverse effect as it would lead to a sharp increase in the rate of poverty and crime. It makes it easier for criminals to operate as people are now desperate and willing to enter into any car perceived to be going their way. A case was reported in Ogba on this day on how someone was trying to use the opportunity to make a kidnap.

Why a sudden, stringent and destabilizing law would be passed without a ready back up plan is beyond me. Thousands stripped of their source of livelihood without any contingency plan. How about the Government provide a good road network with tagged lanes for Okadas, cars, buses and trucks? The entire masses and the Okada and Napep association should actually match down in peace to the house of assembly. This is a legal way to change an unjust law. The reckless disregard for democracy in a democracy should stop.

Such a law makes critical thinkers run mad. In the end, the only reason I can deduce here is this – Ban Okada and Keke Napep and increase revenue for Government. Should corruption continue? Aluta continua?

31 Responses

  1. Great writeup. As much as I don’t agree with the ban, I believe every action has both positive and negative impact. In my opinion, the Lagos state government should have made some provisions before outrightly banning Okada and Keke. This, in fact, will avoid Lagosians’ suffering.
    However, to the end of making Lagos a Mega City, there are sacrifices to be made and in the long run, we will enjoy it.

    Also, y’all should remember; Uneasy is the head that wears the crown.

  2. That’s quite a great article you’ve got there.
    Keep it up.
    Let’s try to make them shorter though.
    Not everyone would see the greatness of this article cause they won’t read to the account end.
    I look forward to more articles though.

  3. The ban dey pepper me oo….. I don’t even know what to say. Well done Nenye

  4. Nice article Chinenye Chukwudebelu and Emmanuel Okonkwo!
    This is my first time in Lagos, I’m visiting from Zambia. After reading this and actually seeing for myself the effects of the ban, I really hope the Nigerian government sorts this issue out soon

  5. Nice and insightful read. The ban on motorcyclist and tricyclist has placed Lagosians in such a horrid state. It seems to me that the Nigerian government constantly and efficiently seek ways to rob her people of comfort and sanity. Quite appalling but alas, We shall conquer!

  6. I understand the ban is as a result of recklessness of the riders and care for citizens but I don’t understand the lack of proper planning after implementation of this law. Not everyone can make it to their specified location by following a bus which will now charge more because of its current dominance. 65 buses can not make up for thousands of okada riders with thousands of passengers.
    I guess the government should review this implementation because it’s not in the favour of majority of lagosians. Even if the law is passed, they should make up for the loss, private businesses will probably go bankrupt, more traffic resulted, unemployment and unhappy citizens.
    I understand that change cannot favour everybody but let’s see the plan they have for us

  7. Ok, the thorough analysis, proper background work and sterling writing skills by the writer of this piece is almost even forgotten as one gets so absorbed in the pain of the intense story of these simultaneous sufferings being endured by okada riders, customers and businesses directly or indirectly affected by this ban. It’s quite a beautiful piece how be it the topic is very real. Great content.👌

  8. Okada ban in Lagos State was a welcome development, some people has been looking forward to this. The menace of okada riders in Lagos State has nothing to write home about. It is a terrible experience. Some northern state banned okada and there are living well, so why not Lagos State?

  9. My thoughts exactly! We are complaining of hard times and our so-called government officials are busy making the matters worse.

  10. My thoughts exactly. We are complaining of hard times and our so-called government officials are busy making the matters worse😩😩

  11. I’ve never stayed in Lagos before but I believe this situation will be sorted out soon

  12. Nice write up Chinenye Chukwudebelu and Emmanuel Okonkwo

    They have made us voiceless, they have pushed us to the wall for so long yet we have refused to fight back, Government is meant to protect its citizens but reverse is the case in Nigeria. I don’t know if the video clip I saw on the internet is true when the Lagos state Governor was speaking “on the platform ” last October, He said “we won’t ban Okada and keke rather we will regulate them”.
    If it is true then we as citizens have failed to hold government accountable to what they say to us during and after election .
    If we continue this our I don’t care attitude towards every maltreatment from the government without speaking out, protesting for the right course, they will keep doing it because they know we can do nothing.
    All our political leaders are insensitive, we know this yet we still vote for them..
    Lagosian rise up and do 1 million match to Government house and see if they won’t reconsider their position on this ban.

  13. This is a nice piece.
    My take on this is that a government that is sensitive to the need of her citizen ask for their opinion before enacting or enforcing laws on them and before they do, should provide adequate alternative but it is quite clear that this government don’t care how we feel they never have and never will.

    • True, and sad. So what do we do? Force them to listen through radical but peaceful and democratic methods. If only Nigerians, despite tribe, can have one voice against its leaders.

  14. I heard the Governor on Twitter said the ban will not be lifted despite public opinion. This is sad, how can a leader say that, if not being inspired by his oga at the top. This country is headed to massive doom if these leaders are not checkmated.

    • Yes, I saw it later today. It was an insensitive statement to make. It kind of affirms the logical conclusion of the article. I wish Lagosians will take it to court and to the house of assembly.

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De Critic Team
Emmanuel Okonkwo

Emmanuel Okonkwo is a professional content/creative/copywriter; and a critic. He is a published writer internationally and locally; the founder and editor of DeCritic. He holds a bachelor degree in Philosophy & Communications; a diploma degree in Copywriting & Marketing; and others. Crazy right? He has worked for and written for some of the world best marketing agencies, influencers, blogs and magazines. He is unique, rational, fun, radical and balanced.

Chinenye Chukwudebelu

Chinenye Chukwudebelu is a professional copywriter/content writer that enjoys writing about brand's products/services and lifestyles. She is also an investment banker and a data analysis enthusiast. She has a great voice and she is shy.

Tobe Nosike

Nosike, Emmanuel Tobe is a professional compere, a creative writer and a brand/media manager. He is also an IT expert and accountant. He loves creative writings and lifestyle. Tobe is playful yet gentle and stubborn. 

Chiamaka Ezeonwuka

Chiamaka Ezeonwuka (Dinma Caruso) is a professional digital marketer and blogger. She has an extensive experience in marketing and digital marketing. She is good with people. Chiamaka is a disciplinarian as well as a fun lady. She is blunt, daring, considerate and a goal-getter. 

Felix Echeta

Felix Echeta is a copywriter, video editor, and PR expert with lots of experience to show for it. He is straight-face funny and the spirit of the PR department. Felix is also a blunt writer and he loves to play around with video content.

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