A Deputy National Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Eric Edem Agbana has launched a safety campaign for commercial motor (Okada) riders in his constituency, Ketu North, to ensure the safety of the riders and their clients.
As a youth activist who has toured the country and most parts of Africa to promote youth activism, Agbana stated that the gesture was part of activities to mark the International Youth Day observed across the globe today.
He donated hundred (100) reflecvtive vests to the riders who had formed the Tadzewu Motor Riders Union in the municipality to help remind them on the need to prioritize their safety in their daily activities.
“We are encouraging the various communities to form unions within the next 3 months, to allow for proper monitoring and regulation of these young and hardworking riders,” Agbana said in a Facebook post after launching the “private initiative.”
“In the next three months, my friends and I will distribute these branded vests to about 1420 motor riders within the municipality,” he added. “The safety and well-being of the riders and ‘passengers’ remains a top priority.”
Reiterating his commitment to sustaining the training and campaign, Agbana expressed appreciation to the Chiefs,Assembly Members and the people who are leading the formation of these unions.
“Let’s Do It Together,” he urged.
Popularly known as ‘Okada’, commercial motorcycle activities have inundated the national capital, Accra, and other parts of the country as a means of basic transportation for citizens.
Their activities have caused many accidents leading to calls to get commercial motor activities banned in the country but the NDC believes the business coud be well managed safely to create employment for thousands of youth.
Ahead of the 2020 campaign, the NDC flagbearer, former president John Mahama assured Ghanaians that the activities of okada would be properly managed and itegrated into the country’s transport system amid a fierce opposition from the ruling NPP.
The NDC, however, argued that the decision was backed by research into okada activities and stakeholder consultations which pointed to the fact that okada had become an alternative mode of transportation for city dwellers.
Apart from it being popular in Accra, residents in areas like the Northern regional capital, Tamale; Aflao and Kpando in the Volta region; Bono East regional capital, Techiman; Dormaa Ahenkro, Drobo, Sampa, Berekum all in the Bono region as well as some other parts of the country rely on okada for commuting.
Mr Mahama said okada had become a reality the country had to embrace and regulate.
“…In our law, it says Okada is illegal but Okada is a reality, it has come to stay, you can’t stop it, and, so, I’ve suggested and I say when we come into office, we will legalize Okada but we will regulate it,” Mr Mahama said when he adressed residents of Kpando in the run up to the 2020 elections.
In August last year, Mahama’s deputy campaign spokesperson Magaret Ansei stated the next NDC government they were forming has a fair appreciation of the sector and its contribution to the economy of the country.
Making a strong case for the legalisation of the venture, the former MCE for the Suhum Municipality stressed that okada business “is an avenue to create decent jobs for young men who have no access to jobs under the Akufo-Addo government which promised so much jobs but have delivered a handful.”
Explaining that an NDC government will initiate processes to amend the law that prohibits okada business when given the mandate, Madam Ansei also known as Magoo revealed that there were plans to give the riders training on road safety to enable them adhere to safety precautions and avert accidents.
“Currently, they [riders] don’t obey all the traffic regulations in order to be safe, however, when we train them and regulate their businesses they will be able to do their job safely and earn a decent income,” Magoo told Dwaboase host Kwame Minkah.
The former Head of Education, Research and Training at the Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police, Superintendent Alexander Obeng, has been calling for stakeholders in the transport sector to have a discussion on the activities of commercial Motor cycles in the country.
Obeng said the fatalities from okada business is increasingly becoming alarming in the last two years– the main reason he wants policy makers to consider how best to regulate activities of commercial motorcycles.
Speaking on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM in February this year, Mr Obeng stated 1050 persons died of motorcycle crashes in the last 12 months.
He expressed worry over the lack of regulation for okada business in the country, especially in Accra and suggested lives could be saved if the government consider legalising and regulating the business.
Asked whether the promise of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) prior to the 2020 elections to regularize and regulate Okada was laudable, Sup. Obeng said, “there’s nothing impossible” and added “government should consider adopting that [policy]”
Sup Obeng would want stakeholders, led by the government, to deliberate on the subject and find a lasting solution to the escalating fatalities associated with okada, as it has become almost a major means of transportation for residents of Accra and other parts of the country.