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The pledge made by John Dramani Mahama to legalize, train and regulate the okada business if voted into power come December 7th 2020 has ignited public debate as to whether okada business should be legalize or not.
Politicians, civic service organizations, economist, public safety organizations, okada riders, and many other Ghanaians have laid down their arguments either for or against the legalization of okada business.
Historically, ‘Okada’ (motorcycle taxi) originated from Nigeria. The name was borrowed from Okada Air- a local airline that was not popular for its comfort but remained the most used local airline in the country. The first group of motorcycle transporters was then given this name, okada because they could maneuver between the heavy traffic of lagos and take you to your destination in time, just as okada airline did.
From the above paragraph, one could deduce that even though okada airline was not comfortable, it was the most used means of transport because of its community penetrations. The emergence of okada business in many African countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Rwanda, and Ghana and among others was met with wild allegations and perception about its negative impact on the societies. The resultant effect of these perceived negativities of okada business was the banning and making it illegal in many countries including Ghana.
‘Okada’ initially referred to motorbikes (single lane motors), has subsequently covered tricycle motors popularly known in Ghana as, ABOBOBYAA, MOTOR KIA, PRAGIA, YELLOW YELLOW and other interesting names in different countries and places.
The major issue that has characterized the ongoing argument against the legalization of okada business is its accident rate and the fact that criminals are using it for criminal activities. But many people too have failed to critically examine the economic and other positive aspect of the okada business.