The Regent of Ashaiman, Nii Annang Adzor, has called on commercial motor riders, popularly known as Okada in Ashaiman and, by extension, Ghana to be cautious during this holiday season and beyond.
Okada activities have become part and parcel of Ghanaian society today as they employ a lot of young people who could have otherwise engaged in social vices.
Speaking with the Daily Statesman yesterday on measures aimed at reducing road-related carnages during Christmas and beyond, Nii Adzor urged riders to ride with their family members in mind, emphasizing that their negligence can wreak havoc on the nation’s human resource capital.
He said unnecessary over speeding, which is one of the major contributing factors to accidents on the parts of these riders, should be reduced as a matter of urgency.
“This negative situation continues to contribute to the number of amputees in the country. In any event, there is no need to speed when you have a life to protect and a passenger to take to the destination. What will you gain when you die because of your inordinate desire to move at a relatively high speed?,” he quizzed.
Riding on shoulders
Nii Adzor cautioned riders against the use of the shoulders during traffic hours. According to him, some riders capitalize on the traffic and use the shoulders as a way to avoid the heavy vehicular traffic that is “often characterized by our major roads”. The Chief added that the season even adds to the already bad phenomenon.
“We see vehicles obey the rules of engagement by being in the traffic, and Okada riders out of the blues use the shoulders and eventually hit pedestrians and hawkers. This cannot continue through this Christmas and beyond. As a rider, I believe the laws regarding adherence to road safety are clear and that no traffic congestion can justify an abuse of the law,” he warned.
The Regent charged Okada riders to abstain from drinking alcohol while riding as a matter of urgency. He believes that after some alcohol consumption, a single lane becomes more of a dual carriageway.
“The number of road crashes is a result of drunk driving on our roads.” Many of these Okada riders succumb to alcoholism, which eventually blurs their vision. Others whose vision isn’t as sharp turn to see a single lane as a dual carriageway route, resulting in an accident,” he explained.
He tasked the MTTD to up their game and ensure that all road users, especially Okada riders, adhere strictly to the road safety rules. This, he mentioned, could be used as an interim way of curbing the incessant motor accidents in the country.
“Christmas is about love, peace, and demonstrating generosity to all manner of persons. As such, we can’t afford to be in a state of mourning. As a result, I’m requesting that our hardworking security officers work extra hard to bring obstinate riders to heel,” he said.
This, according to him, will go a long way towards making Ashaiman and, by extension, Ghana records an Okada accident-free year. He used the occasion to wish his subject a season filled with joy and prosperity.