Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu drew rapturous applause from the audience while he was a guest at The Platform, in October last year, when he spoke about his solution to the traffic situation and plan to “account for every Okada rider” in Lagos State.
The Platform is an annual event in Lagos where prominent politicians and professionals are invited to speak on topical issues of governance.
“I need to also mention, to solve the traffic issue of Lagos is also to talk about the Okada issue,” Mr Sanwo-Olu had begun at the capacity-filled hall of The Covenant Place, near the National Theatre in Lagos.
“Okada is everywhere, anywhere you see, so part of the things we are going to be doing is not leave anybody behind. People are currently using a system that is working for them, meaning that you see some Okada riders that are branded, that are using smart pays to pay when you finish your journey.
“We are trying to harmonise all of them and be able to come up with a regulation system where we can account for every Okada rider. We will know who they are, we can manage them and when anything happens…
“In fact, the solution that some of them are bringing, they can actually disable some of those Okadas remotely, that’s where we are planning to get to. But it’s also something we have to think very well and be sure that nobody is disenfranchised, as much as possible give everybody opportunity to play and to play well.
“I’m hoping we all these, the solution around our traffic would be reduced significantly.”
Last week, the Lagos State government announced the restriction of the activities of commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists (popularly known as Keke) from major roads, highways, and bridges in the state.
The government said its decision was based on the “scary” casualty figures resulting from commuting with those means of transport.
Commuters resorted to trekking as the enforcement on the ban came into force on February 1.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, Mr Sanwo-Olu, through his chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said he never promised not to ban commercial motorcyclists (popularly known as Okada) from operating in the state.
“When the governor was talking on The Platform, he didn’t make any categorical statement about whether there would be a ban or not,” Mr Akosile said.
“He said that ‘we will look into it. We will see whether we will use technology or even categorise them…’ Everything he said was not categorical. It wasn’t only at The Platform he said that; he said it at several events.”
The governor’s spokesperson said the state government had only decided to enforce the existing laws in the state.
“What we have only done is to start up enforcement on the existing laws, we have not come out to say we are banning. You cannot ban people’s commercial activities, the government has the responsibility, due to one reason or the other, to regulate.
“Go to the UK, Uber is a major transportation company, U.K government banned them due to regulation issues, so if Okada people had constituted a menace to the society, security.
“You and I are not safe and our research has shown that 85 per cent motorcycles. The government went to the drawing board to know what can be done. If we do that it won’t be easy for any criminally minded people carrying put dastardly acts to escape.
“If you see the number of at the hospitals you will be shocked and all of this is Okada. We had to create an Okada ward. “