The Ghana Committed Drivers Association has discourse for some years now but has been heightened in this election year as a result of the National Democratic Congress(NDC) and it’s Presidential candidate, H.E.John Dramani Mahama’s promise to Legalising Okada operation when they win political power in the upcoming 2020 general elections.
Speaking at a news conference held in Accra, the Chairman of Ghana Committed Drivers Association, Charles Danso, stated that one key question that comes to mind is what has changed for him to make a sudden U-turn? As the time the law to ban Okada was being promulgated, Okada ranked 9th on the list of causal agents for road accidents.
According to him, Okada is ranked second on the list as a causal agent for road accidents. So what actually informed H.E. Ex President John Mahama to make sudden U-turn obviously for political expediency? We believe this cheap, populist agenda to woo the riders of Okada must not be countenanced and hence should be rejected by all Ghanaians.
Mr. Danso mentioned that Okada is a business of using motorcycles for passengers transport at a fee or commercial purpose just like a taxi cab will do.
“You will bear with me that all our cities and semi-urban areas are heavily populated, bringing to bear, their pressure on existing infrastructure and mobility systems. A fact that all of us can’t deny is that most of transport system are poorly designed. We still have poor road networks across the country, and more especially, in urban and semi-urban areas. As a result of this, our roads are always choked, resulting in delays and high cost in commuting from one place to another” he lamented.
These challenges have compelled the transport-disadvantaged to search for affordable options that will take them to their destinations without any hustle.
He said the emergence of Okada business was therefore seen as an alternative means of commercial transport in addressing their needs.
The unemployed therefore took advantage of the tax waivers on motorcycles to buy these machinery’s and provide the services that the transport-disadvantaged was looking for.
However, Okada has not been without safety and security concerns, particularly, in regard to the adherence to public safety needs. Okada operation is a very risky business.
Observing that Okada riders don’t respect traffic regulations and signals on our roads.
The Ministry of Transport in 2018 that the proportion of motorcycle fatalities had increased from 2.7% in 2001 to 21% despite the massive investments that made in road safety by successive governments.
Mr Danso was in a view that the national road safety commission now National Road Safety Authority estimates that the chance of dying from a motorcycle crash is 10 times higher than a car crash.
In 2014 alone, figures released by the NRSA revealed that 2,571 people were knocked down motorist out of which 1,856 lost their lives. Than in 2015, 2,289 cases and first quarter of 2017, about 708 road users died from 4,049 road accidents, with 3,983 others sustaining various degrees of injuries.
It is based on these reasons shared above that then NDC led government under the leadership of Mr John Mahama, passed the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012(L.I. 2180), with section 128(1), and (3)and 84 of the L.I prohibiting motorcycle or tricycle and provides thus.
By Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina