Opinion: Fashola, why so deceitful?

by Olumide Makanjuola


If you know Lagos State very well, you will understand how ridiculous and insensitive the state government has made itself look with the ‘okada’ restriction law on 475 roads

In the last few months, we heard rumor on plans by the Lagos State government to ban commercial motorcycle riders popularly called ‘okada’. For some reason, I thought it must have been the most expensive joke of all time, considering how the Lagos State governor used ‘okadas’ as a ‘street army’ during his election campaign last year. Apparently, those days are gone and forgotten by the governor.

I have asked myself many times what could have led to this ‘okada’ restriction move which is  now obviously an ‘okada’ ban and I certainly can’t figure out any reasonable justification.

If you consider ‘okada’ accidents, it no big deal. Commercial buses do have accidents daily across the state. Instead of conducting a survey on how many ‘okada’ accidents happen in the state, the government should have carried out a survey on how accessible public transportation is, especially the alternatives to the ‘okada’ where there is any.

Such a survey would have revealed how grossly inadequate the alternatives to ‘okada’ are and revealed how ‘crazy’ a decision to ban ‘okada’ is. Mini-buses, ‘molues’, and BRT buses are inadequate, you don’t need a third eye to sense that fact.

I have also heard the shakiest of all arguments to defend the reckless decision to ban ‘okadas’ in the state. It goes, “Okadas are used to commit robbery.” Oh, yeah?! What about the one-chance robbers who use mini-buses to rob? What about the dare-devil robbers who use cars for their operations? Please let’s all be sincere. Let’s be true to self. That reason is not tenable.

If you know Lagos State very well, you will understand how ridiculous and insensitive the state government has made itself look with the ‘okada’ restriction on 475 roads.

I am stepping out of character here in saying that Lagos State has the smallest land mass among the Nigerian states and also the most populated in West Africa. Even with the “okadas” added to the buses, and the taxis – public transportation services are grossly inadequate.

It’s also instructive that most of the people who ‘passionately’ support the ‘okada’ ban also own car or cars and have no need to use public transportation services.

And the tone of the argument for the ‘okada’ ban is that they drive recklessly and are ‘foolish’. But, I have to ask, is there a more reckless group than the ‘danfo’ drivers? Lagos drivers, generally, are “crazy”, out of this world, if you may. Do we follow along this line to ban ‘danfo’ drivers and private drivers, indeed, all Lagos drivers?

I have carefully monitored how difficult it has been for people who find ‘okada’ as their primary means of transportation since this obnoxious law came into effect. I have observed the frustration of the masses of Lagos, and all I can say is that any attempt to be dismissal and justify this law is inconsiderate, heartless, and selfish, so is the state government. And sadly, it’s a reflection of all our governments in Nigeria – federal, states, and local governments.

Nigeria happens to be the only place where a government wakes up and makes laws that are disconnected with realities of the social system and inflict suffering directly on the people. Whoever crafted the ‘okada’ banning law (yes, it’s a ban and not a restriction, let’s stop fooling around with words) is mean and frankly, out of depth. In a state like Lagos, where the government has fallen short in providing social services, it behoves me that private citizens taking the initiative to provide a vital social service like transportation, affordable transportation for that matter would be “restricted” by the government from doing their business.

The Lagos State government cannot honestly say that they are not aware that the police, assisted by their own officials are arresting ‘okada’ riders everywhere they are seen.

However, I would like the government to consider some steps towards addressing the frustration it has landed its citizens in the last few days from this unjustifiable decision on ‘okada’ restriction.

  1. Allow ‘okadas’ to run their business during the peak periods (6am-10am and 4pm-9pm) when traffic is huge and buses are very limited especially on Mondays to Fridays.
  2. Create sensible traffic laws that will control and guide the usage of ‘okadas’ in the state.
  3. Carry out a survey to appraise how accessible the populace find the public transportation system and what they think the options are.

If the Lagos government would consider these three steps, we might at some point arrive at a solution in addressing the transportation crisis in the state.


Olumide Makanjuola (@O_Makanjuola) is a sexual reproductive health and right advocate with specific focus on MARPs population and marginalized groups.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


Comments (0)

  1. and you think they cannot come again with okada now they are banned? the difference btw now and then is that then only miscreants wanted to commit such aCTS BUT NOW EVEN THE PEACE LOVING ONES AMONG THEM WILL BE FORCED BY POVERTY TO JOIN

  2. You are so right. they just do thing without thinking. no option for okada and u taking it away. Molue was reduced due to BRT.

  3. If okada shuld be band then where should be lots of employment opporunities for the citizen to aviod comfil in the state. (war)

  4. I stopped reading when this idiotic writer non chalantly stated Okada accidents are no big deal! I hope ur family member is on one of them so that we will also consider it as no big deal! What an insensitive thing to say! Douche Bag!

    1. lalalalalalal…..I see u get all the sense man. why are we picking on Okada alone? The writer was very right about okada accident not being a big deal. Do you know many bus that this happen to daily? Everytime am going to work, I see bus accident and it crazy. some are even worst than okada. So if you think you got the brain, do a write up urself and stop saying what doesn't count. Fashola is just a user and that's the true. He used okada for election campaign, gave them elements and others okada accessories but after getting what he wanted, he turn back on them. You can't compare FCT and other state population with Lagos…..It obvious that you all don't understand that Lagos is a commercial city and the crowd is expected. Because it worked in FCT doesn't mean it will in Lagos….The situation of this states are different. Please do some reading yourself. To me, this writer touch all area without any political sentiment

  5. The ban on 'Okada' is a very controversial one, with both positive and negative effects. Putting both on a scale, it is evident that the negative outcome outweighs the positive for obvious reasons.

    1. No alternative means of transportation has been provided by the government to replace okadas, this has left a huge vacuum in the availability of transport services.

    2. Most of the inside roads ('koros') are more accessible by okadas because of their deteriorating state.

    3. Many are complaining of how okadas are used by criminals to get away from crime scenes. One thing is certain, that with the ban on okada, there will be an upsurge in crime rate

    4. As stated earlier, there will be an increase in crime rate. This is because the okada riders who use it as a means of livelihood will be rendered handicapped and left with the option of crime which they will readily opt for.

    The ban on okada will work unnecessary hardship on the populace. The government should not be insensitive to the plight of the people.

  6. You are a darling! Eko oni baje

  7. We should be objective when judging situatins, u said lagos is most populated in west africa but 2006 census said kano is d most populated in nigeria. Nobody is complaining bitterly about okada ban in delta and some south-eastern states. We shd understand dat lagos is a state and not a country and the government of lagos state are responsible to cater for lagosians not nigerians. Anybody dat is not comfortable with laws in lagos state should go back to their state. Do u expect lagos state to start providing jobs and alternatives for non-lagosians? Nobody complaint wen Abia state government sack non-abia indigenes from civil service. On a final note, lagos govt has reiterated dier desire to fund dose pple dat want to go bak to deir state! Eko oni baje

  8. We should be objective when judging situatins, u said lagos is most populated in west africa but 2006 census said kano is d most populated in nigeria. Nobody is comlaining bitterly about okada ban in delta and some south-eastern states. We shd understand dat lagos is a state and not a country and the government of lagos state are responsible to cater for lagosians not nigerians. Anybody dat is not comfortable with laws in lagos state should go back to their state. Do u expect lagos state to start providing jobs and alternatives for non-lagosians? Nobody complaint wen Abia state government sack non-abia indigenes from civil service. On a final note, lagos govt has reiterated dier desire to fund dose pple dat want to go bak to deir state! Eko oni baje

  9. Your analogy makes no sense when a form of transportation is completely unsafe and has caused more harm than good then something drastic needs to be done. There are Okada accidents everyday in Lagos the casualty numbers are staggering I do have empathy for the riders but it doesn't blind me to the menace the trade was causing and they can ply some roads it's a restriction so let them ply those roads safely then maybe overtime the restrictions can be lifted if the government sees that they can be properly regulated and they obey all traffic laws like other road users.

    1. Ur argument is baseless,u seriously need 2 examine why precisely d fault is coming from,this same measure was carried out in FCT where the population nd transport system is smaller nd lighter,so also is akwaibom and some other states.therefore if am not made to bliv that ur argument is politically motivated then you are definatenately not a lagosian by indigeneship… kindly do ur visibility study again

  10. Fashola has nothing to gain from baning OKADA, the govt is trying to battle insecurity. Danfo Drivers are the next to go. Where in this mordern world do pple use this crude means of transport. I am sure by the time the govt is true we will have only light rail, BRT buses and Cabs. Which is befitting for a city of lagos calibre. If you don't like it you can relocate to other states to live in Lagos is not by force.

    If we give you visa lottery you will collect it happily, is there OKADA in America. If they allow rubbish in their country will you love to go there.

  11. Attacking the personality of the Governor makes no sense to me,because we all know that the law was actually deliberated upon by the Lagos state house of assembly so why crucify the Governor for the act of all the so called honorables?

    I also believe we dont need to insult another in making our points or criticize anothers opinion so please for God sake lets try to respect others opinion.

    On the issue at hand,i do not think the state Government has got any hidden agenda for making the law,i honestly want to believe its for our own good.On the 7th of march this year i was shot in the face by unknown gun men in my apartment,guys in my area would have caught up with the four unknown men but they where wise enough not to come on foot or with a vehicle.They came with a bike 'OKADA'.Thank God am still alive even though my looks have been altered for life.Now tell me if you where in my shoes will you or will you not support the law?Dont deceive yourselfs i know what your answer would be.I just hope the state government makes provisions for them so they dont become jobless.

  12. Please when you want to do a write up, be sensible, open minded and realistic.is Fashola the only Governor chasing Okada? It was done in Port Harcourt and after the initial resistance, we are happy. Have you thought about the accidents and death caused by okada? Stop being selfish and see the bigger picture. Think of others and not of your self and comfort alone.

  13. The only people who can stop this is the NURTW lagos state council but they kept mute on it because of the influence the lagos state government have on them.i think there a way we can make them do something,i have the number of the chairman of the council.This is his number 08038308417.We can publish it on all social media and network so that concerned citizens can make him see reasons why the ban must not be allowed.

  14. I read Frank comment about the article needing lot of editing and I laugh. What do you need, the message or the British English? Having a sense of the real situation or the British written article with empty lines? This doesn't mean I accept the article need editing. I'm sure you know all news agent edit article sent to them before publishing and when you say this, it mean you are indirectly saying the editor is bad! Using the word tom dick and harry is very insulting and that also describe something about you.

    Gboyega, you wrote about Okada and igboi…..Is it only okada that cause accident in this country? When are we going to start saying things just the way they are? I am very sure you are part of those Makanjuola mentioned about padded and air condition cars. If not that you all are bunch of hypocrites, Gov Fashola used Okada for his governorship campaign and gave out element and other okada accessory to the rider. Why ban them now? Such a man is a user.

  15. Frank i think you have a very great point…. Okada is not favorable to Nigerians than the loose. people die everyday/get robbed/ a lot happen with this okada people when i was in 9ja, i dont know of now. nigeria need to stop it both…. the keke stuff….Good Job Mr. Gov..Education has a lot to do in life because some people dump their education and start riding okada stuff just because they all want to make money..from there they think about robing someone to make it big…Thank you all

    1. Don P. I think ur absence from d country has beclouded ur sense of reasoning. Wherever it is u are, when d gov wants to implement a policy, don't they seek public opinion? Or would alternative remedies not b provided?

      If u are not in d know of d happenings in ur country from wherever u are, then, sit down and shut up!

      Gov. Fashola is being a hypocrite, and whoever purposely inflict pains on people will soon be drowned in his own.

      Its terrible and pathetic.

  16. This is a poorly written article and needs lots of editing….wonder why ynaija starts allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to write articles for them….Phew!

    1. Oga, you can like to shut up! Write your own article and let the reader judge you. This are one of those people who need to take a break from criticising and start doing!

  17. I really don't know when Nigerians became subhuman Mr Makanjuola needs to visit Igbobi Hospital and see the Okada Ward to understand the menace that Okada has become in Lagos and in Nigeria as a whole. We need to see the big picture take buses and walk the rest of your journey we have become so lazy it's unreal

    1. Ur very correct. Gboyega.Nigerians love to complain n complain.d country needs to cut down somethings before we can move forward,anybody can just get okada in naija without proper training.putting peoples life in danger.and to add to it most of d okada riders are thugs n lowlife who rob,kill n use juju.good one on u Mr Fashola some Nigerians still appreciate ur effort in creating a sane society.

      1. Mr Tomysin, how can you call people lowlife? Oh my word, I can't believe this. What make Okada rider different from Bus driver? So bus driver don't rob? They don't kill? Na wah ooooooo! Too many hypocrite for this country. If Okada rider don't drive well or are not properly registered, that's a gap from the government and that what they should address not restriction. Get some sense Oga Tomysin

        1. I call them lowlife cos dey r always looking for every opportunity to cause trouble.and u getting personal talking about sense,we all have different opinions and u can make Urs without insulting people.I'm not a hypocrite but I love d fact dat some people are trying to move this country forward.and yes okada drivers are not d only ones robbing in naija but its d fastest transport for criminals.

          1. Please don't get it wrong… It not an insult. However, we just need to be more realistic in this situation. I have seen car owner and bus driver who do more trouble! What am saying is, if the government will stop Okada, this is not the right time. They should do some more option and make sure this option are sufficient where they don't want to see Okada. One thing I like about the article is the suggestion Makanjuola gave and not just pure criticising like many of us do. They need to seek people opinion on what they find very accessible and why? What they think can be option if Okada is not available. Plz don't get it twisted, it not personal.

    2. We might as well visit air crash sites and ban air planes. How about banning transportation on bad roads like benin-ore expressway? Your argument makes no sense and is totally biased partly due to empathy for accident victims which we all empathize with but we must also empathize with the other party- okada riders. Fashola must compensate them if he bans them but I'm guessing he might just follow the easier route – creating draconian laws to make them leave of their own accord. No one is being subhuman here, we are just being biased. What is wrong with enforcing better laws for okada riders instead of creating harsh ones or banning them?

  18. Too much sense.

    My sentiments from beginning to end.

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