Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has distributed 15,000 free reflective jackets to commercial motorcyclists, well known as “Okada riders”, in Ibadan, the state capital.
The move, according to the governor, is part of the government’s efforts to promote road safety and reduce the number of accidents involving okada riders.
Speaking on behalf of the governor at the symbolic presentation, held at the Western Hall, Secretariat, Ibadan, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Professor Babatunde Musbaudeen, said the Seyi-Makinde led government has demonstrated friendliness and empathy with the commercial motorcyclists popularly called ‘Okada’ and called for reciprocation through cooperation and support from operators.
While calling on leaders of ‘Okada’ riders in the state to join hands with the government to achieve the intended result in its strides towards safety and security on the road, he equally noted that security barcode has been inscribed on the reflective jackets making it impossible for anyone to fake it.
He called on ‘Okada’ riders to endeavor to comply with government’s directive on painting their motorcycles to the approved color for easy identification and to be able to easily fish out unscrupulous elements in the society masquerading as ‘Okada’ riders.
Musibaudeen said: “One of the strategic pillars of this administration under Omituntun 2.0 and roadmap to sustainable development of 2022 to 2027 is security of lives and properties.”
“So, sometime ago, we brought up a program, residents registration exercise that encompasses all the citizens and residents of the state so, in furtherance of that successful program, the governor in his magnanimity is also bringing up another initiative in securing lives and properties of residents of Oyo state by distributing reflective jackets to all Okada riders in the state, 15,000 in the first phase, free of charge.”
“This is to enable us proper monitoring the activities of Okada riders, so, anyone who doesn’t wear these reflective jackets is definitely not a registered Okada rider and will be challenged and security operatives should cognisance of this initiative.”
“And also, in order to enhance the rule of law in Oyo state, we don’t want a situation whereby Okada riders would be riding against traffic rule so, we have a unique identifier that such violator can actually be tracked immediately and there’s a barcode on these particular reflective jackets that can not be faked,” he said.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Dotun Oyelade, stressed the magnanimity and friendly disposition of Governor Makinde towards commercial transporters, particularly ‘Okada’ riders.
Oyelade maintained that even though states including Lagos have taken stricter position, banning ‘Okada’ riding in their states, Governor Makinde, considering the source of livelihood of ‘Okada’ riders, household finances of their families, and the socioeconomic impacts of commercial motorcyclists on the state’s economy, had been liberal on operators in the state and refrained from taking similar strict position.
He appealed to the commercial motorcyclists in the state to reciprocate Makinde’s magnanimity by ensuring full compliance with all extant and relevant laws of the state guiding their operations warning that violators of those laws would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The commissioner, equally, noted that Makinde’s magnanimity was born out of his humble background and reiterated that the state government would not tolerate any act of lawlessness or act of indiscipline from any Okada rider in the state.
In their separate reactions, stakeholders at the event including the Oyo state ACOMORAN, commended Makinde for his compassion and magnanimity towards the operation of ‘Okada’ riders and Tricycle operators in the state by being lenient on them despite the position of neighboring Lagos State.
Oyo State chairman of ACOMORAN, Dr Solomon Olugbode, commended Makinde for his efforts at making life better and comfortable for residents and commercial motorcyclists but noted that most issues culminating into acts of lawlessness on the road do not always emanate from riders but private commuters.
He, however, assured that his members would continue to cooperate, collaborate, and partner the state government in its strides towards improving on safety and security of riders and other road users.