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Farming as an alternative to ‘okada’...My letter to Fashola

24 September 2012, 13:10

I sincerely and earnestly hope His Excellency gets to read this piece as I will be speaking to him just like I would have done if I were opportuned to have a one on one with him.

Sir, I personally commend your relentless efforts at ensuring Lagos State becomes the cynosure of all eyes and a pace setter for other States which I won’t mention to emulate. Lagos State has become a standard for measuring performances of other State Governors and it keeps getting better by the day. Thank you for not resting on your oars your Excellency.

I really understand your passion for Lagos as a State sir; I am aware that in the process of development, strict and painful measures have to be taken as the road to development is never an easy one. We all know that it is in the interest of every citizen that the new traffic law has been passed into law. This is the same law which has restricted ‘okada’ riders to certain areas and localities within the metropolis.

Now as much as I am in support of this traffic laws clipping the wings of ‘okada’ riders as well as curtailing their excesses due to the fact that they have constituted so much nuisance on the roads, I have a major challenge with the way and manner this piece of information has been disseminated. Your Excellency, you have been quoted as saying ‘Okada riders who cannot obey the new traffic laws should go into farming’.

Really for a group of people whose leadership have come up to say over 40,000 commercial motorcycle operators are at the risk of losing their jobs, I am of the opinion that you should thread on the side of caution.

Making such a statement as quoted above is as good as calling their bluff which if you ask me could boomerang. We do not want a group of 40,000 able young men to become jobless all of a sudden and start looking at crime as an alternative means of survival. Your Excellency, it won’t be nice for your goodwill to become misinterpreted as I believe these laws were passed into bill to make life easier for every transporter.

I will readily suggest that rather than allow these commercial bike riders have the impression that they are at their wits end due to the new traffic laws, they should be properly educated on the alternatives at hand baring in mind that most of them took up the job as a means to make ends meet thinking there are no alternatives. These young men should be gathered based on their wards, areas and local governments, properly educated on the beautiful alternatives they have knowing that there are skills acquisition centres in every Local Government of the State.

Let them know it is not like they are left with no alternative. Not only that, let them be made to see how their lives can be better as farmers whilst they run a lesser risk of dying cheaply which is one thing that has become synonymous with bike riding these days. Knowledge they say is power, as such I want your Excellency to ride on this and empower these 40,000 young men who run the risk of taking to crime with the required knowledge such that they will not only discover better alternatives but will also eke a decent and less risky livelihood for themselves.

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