Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Motorcycle dealers, Okada Riders vow to vote out political parties that banned okada business in their states

Okey Chris

The Association of Motorcycles Importers, Dealers and Traders in spare parts across the nation have vowed to cast protest votes during the elections in order to express dismay over the ban of okada business in some States of the federation.

Daily Times recalled that commercial motorcycling popularly referred to as Okada had been banned never to operate in about ten states in the country; including Lagos, Enugu, Edo, Abia, Kaduna, Kano, the FCT and Rivers
 Speaking at Nnewi in Anambra State, the Chairman of Nnewi Importers Association, Pastor L.O.Chukwuma, disclosed that the association has held a brief meeting to discuss its stake in the forth-coming elections slated to hold on March and April.
According to Pastor Chukwuma, the decision they reached at the meeting was to cast protest votes at the various elections since they observed that politicians had continued to use motorcycles as campaign gifts to okada operators and other voters only to ban okada business after being voted into power.
"Like Satan, our politicians give their gifts with one hand and use another hand to collect it back from you after the electioneering campaign. They give out motorcycles to okada people in the name of poverty alleviating and once they are elected as governors, the next thing is to ban okada riding and throw thousands of people out of job. That is wickedness. We remember that one of the governors in the South West even gathered okada motorcycles he siezed and crushed them with grinding machines. He destroyed over 6,000 motorcycles," Pastor Chukwuma said.

While stressing that the association wrote to those governors who stopped okada business in their various States, Pastor Chukwuma alleged that Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was one such a person that had maltreated okada riders.

He therefore noted that all stakeholders in motorcycles business all over the country would vote out such governors and their Political party during the forthcoming polls.
When asked to defend his colleagues over allegation that motorcycle is mostly used by robbers, Pastor Chukwuma argued that criminals did not only use okada motorcycles to operate but also drive vehicles, among other means of transportation while carrying out their nefarious act.
"Come to Anambra State today, there are okada motorcycles everywhere but it is the safest State in Nigeria. Everyone feels free and crime is controlled. Banning okada business at all is counter-productive and it is not the best way to control crime. If you ban okada business you throw the importers out of business, thousands of dealers in motorcycles spare parts out of business, roadside motorcycle mechanics, vulcanizers out of job, food vendors, and others and their families or dependants out of job", he echoed.

He therefore, advised his members and other eligible voters to get their permanent voters cards ready to pay back to their foes (those who banned ridding of motorcycle).

On the challenges facing importers, he faulted the clearing system which he described as a reflection of colonial method, even as he called for a need to introduce a simple way of clearing goods that would allow importers pay their duties and take delivery of their containers.



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