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Bright Philip Donkor writes: Okada legalization: disaster for the country


The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) ignited the conversation of Okada legalization after he promised to regularise it if he wins power in December. It has now become a serious public discussion.

As usual, the noise surrounding this is almost strictly on party lines, without taken cognizance of the most important aspects of the evolution of our dear nation, its infrastructure, effective utilization of resources, risk to the operators, pillion riders, and pedestrians as a whole.

However, the assurance by the presidential candidate has generated a lot of excitement among thousands of Okada riders in Ghana with a huge number of them publicly stating that they'll vote for NDC come December 7 general elections. The thumb and right to vote are theirs.

Don't you think creating a more secured job and lifelong opportunities for the people especially the youth is what is needed now? The number of these riders who have died and others who had had their limbs amputated is very alarming. The statistics are there. They need to free themselves from this risky and less safe okada riding.

Although, it is estimated that Okada business is capable of employing up to a million Ghanaians, it is saddled with many safety challenges which make the roads unsafe and susceptible to preventable road traffic fatalities and injuries.

Okada accidents have emerged as an important public health issue which need to be tackled using a multi-disciplinary approach. For instance, the trend in Road traffic accidents, injuries and recklessness associated with the business is becoming alarming not only in Ghana, but within the sub-region as well.

The number of fatal and disabling road accidents happening in Ghana is absolutely high and is a real public health challenge for all the concerned agencies.

I believe that a complete, decent and affordable public transport system is what is needed. The singular reason and the buttressing fact that, if you want to set standards for yourself, you do not look backward, you look forward. A multi-modal transport system involving good road, involving rail transportation, involving advanced intra-city transportation is the way.

Tell me of a 5-10 year plan of how you want to transform the public transport system for rural and urban centres. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT's)- 'Ayalolo', but for poor planning, would've been a good start.

The reason that Okada has come to stay is not a good excuse after failing to enforce the law which we "intelligently" passed 8 years ago. How long can we continue like this?

In the year 2020, I'm even surprised this is our development conversation. It looks like a one step forward, then a few more backward. If we continue doing things this way, when at all are we going to catch up with the railway transport and sky trains others are already living in? Is the African man undeserving of such ideas?

We must look forward and leave better transport system for our grand children. Okada legalization is just like preparing an insipid food for the future leaders of this country. They'll be disappointed in us if they come to learn that this is the future we created for them. Okada can't be the future.

Most people who are embracing the legalization of Okada are only interested in the financial benefits that they'll be enjoying. But at the end of the day, most of them will be signing their death warrants.
Ghana cannot afford to lose her human resource capital all in the name of Okada business. May we have leaders with the heart, vision and willingness to inspire us to change or improve the world in a productive, meaningful and an onward way.

Writer: Bright Philip Donkor

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