Nana Owiredu, Secretary of the drivers’ union addressing a news conference yesterday

The Concerned Drivers Association (CDA) has expressed stiff opposition to the proposal of Okada legalization in Ghana arguing it amounts to risky endangerment of lives.

According to the Association, not only is legalizing Okada business dangerous but also a threat to the livelihoods of millions of taxi and trotro drivers.

The CDA called on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to therefore reconsider its manifesto promise to avert an impending calamity because of such decision.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, the Secretary of the Association, Nana Owiredu warned the NDC and other political parties that such position threatens their livelihoods.

“They have a choice to either stop it or risk losing the support of our unions.

“The Okada debate raged for a few years after which it was banned in 2012. Per the rule of law, we have been expecting the enforcement of the ban since 2012 and not a promise to legalise it for political expediency.

“We will rather support measures to help Okada riders to join the vehicle transport business rather than the legalization of Okada to create problems on our roads.

“Therefore, we demand an immediate enforcement of the Road Traffic Regulation 2012, not the legalisation of Okada,” the Association stated.

The Concerned Drivers argued that they are not opposed to the NDC’s promise to create jobs for Okada riders but stressed the party seems oblivious to the effect of the promise on their livelihoods.

According to them, the promise to legalize Okada is tantamount to robbing Peter to pay Paul because such action will provide Okada drivers with jobs while depriving them of theirs.

“There can be no justification for a promise that essentially takes one group’s livelihood and dangling it before another group as a new opportunity.

“We will therefore not sit aloof for the NDC or any political party to legalise Okada,” they warned.

The Association indicated that apart from the unhealthy competition, Okada legalisation will create havoc and mayhem on the roads for both professional and private drivers.

They noted that there is nothing to be gained from legalizing Okada except to increase road accidents and causalities as well as the peace and stability of the transport industry.

This, they said, is in addition to the unhealthy competition that may escalate indiscipline on roads and turn them into death traps.

According to the CDA, data from the National Road Safety Authority indicates that Ghana recorded over 10,000 motorcycle accidents within the last five years with countless deaths and injuries.

They argued that even in Nigeria where Okada emanates, it has been outlawed when caught between the argument for jobs and bloodshed on the road.

They averred that Lagos State in Nigeria elected to err on the side of caution and therefore Ghana must do same.

The Association warned it will mobilize its teeming members to campaign against any political party whose promise threatens their livelihoods.

SOURCEBy Osumanu Al-Hassan
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