By: Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu/www.africanakua.com, Ghana
Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress ( NDC ) who doubles as the former President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, has been warned by dozens of commercial drivers in the country to stop his continuous electioneering promise of implementing policies that would totally legalize the controversial ‘okada’ business.
According to the disgruntled drivers who are the members of Committed Drivers Association, although they voted massively against the former President Dramani Mahama in the last General Elections they think it is unwise for him to promise to legalize the commercial motorbike (Okada) operations in the country if elected President in the 2020 show down.
The NDC’s flagbearer as part of his promises to create jobs for the youth of Ghana has promised to legalize the operations of Okada riders across the country.
According to him, the operations of Okada riders have provided sustainable jobs in the country and needs to be legalized and regulated.
To him, if government cannot create jobs, there is no need using the laws to stifle people who have created opportunities to cater for their families, adding that Sub-regulation 84 also makes compulsory for the wearing of protective clothing in respect of motorcycles.
“Our law says okada is illegal, but it is a reality; it has come to stay and you can’t stop it. So, I say when we come into office, we’ll legalise it but we will regulate it,” Mr. Mahama said while addressing the people of Kpando on his tour of the Constituency.
But at a crowded press conference in Accra on Wednesday October 23, 2020, the members of Committed Drivers Association stressed that they will not support any presidential candidate who promises to license Okada operations in the country.
The press conference was addressed by an Executive Member of the Committed Driver Association, Mr Anane Frimpong who is a retired accident investigator, pointed out that that Mr. Dramani Mahama and his NDC’s promise to legalize the operations of Okada is synonymous to the endorsement of armed robbery.
Mr. Anane Frimpong said: “We want successive governments to create a business-friendly environment that will encourage the setting up of more companies, focus more on investing in agriculture, expand our road networks and also fix our rail lines. The reviving of our rail network across the country will create thousands of jobs and also open up local economies.
“This is where we want successive governments to spend our taxpayers money on not to legalize Okada which will end up creating problems for us.”
He served notice that the association will use every legitimate means to resist any attempt to legalize okada.
“On this note, we would like to send a very strong signal to the government not to legalize Okada operations.
“Any attempt to do so will incur our wrath. We will on monthly basis demonstrate against such a move across the country until our calls are heeded to,” he stressed.
He indicated that they believe that the promise by John Dramani Mahama to legalize the Okada operations is not a well thought through policy but just an attempt to woo the votes of unsuspecting riders of motorcycles.
He stated that one key question that comes to mind is what has changed for Mr. John Mahama to make a sudden u-turn?
“As at the time the law to ban okada was being promulgated, Okada ranked 9th on the list of causal agents for road accidents.
Today, Okada is ranked second on the list. So, what actually informed His Excellency the former President, John Dramani Mahama to make this sudden u-turn obviously for political expediency? We believe this cheap, populist agenda to woo the riders of Okada must not be countenanced, hence, should be rejected by all Ghanaians,” Mr Frimpong added.
According to him, the Okada is a business of using motorcycle for passenger transport at a fee or commercial purpose just like a taxi cab will do.