SECURITY AND SAFETY CHALLENGES OF COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLING (OKADA) IN IBADAN: INTERROGATING INFORMAL TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC SURVIVAL
This article examines the safety and security of intra-urban okada transport in Ibadan within the framework of informality. The paper argues that the okada phenomenon is one of the multifarious manifestations of informal economy in Nigeria in general and in Ibadan in particular. Informality is invoked as theoretical framework. The study sourced data from three major ways namely: key informant interviews, participant observation and case study approach. The study adopted a case study research design. The study area was Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The study population comprises the total number of registered motorcycle riders in the six local governments within the Ibadan metropolis and the residents selected for this study. The sample population comprised 36 commercial motorcyclists from different points across the six local government areas under study, 24 executives of commercial motorcyclists, 24 residents/commuters of the selected communities, 2 traditional bone setters and 2 staff at the accident and emergency ward of the University Teaching Hospital (UCH). Based on data analysis and discussion the paper submits that it not disputable that okada riding has over the years generated negative externalities; yet it has been a viable source of employment opportunities for thousands of people in Ibadan and other major cities in Nigeria. The paper notes that owners of private okada are the safest and most secure group of trip makers, whereas commercial motorcycle riders, passengers and pedestrians are the most vulnerable groups that are exposed to crimes and crashes respectively. The challenges of safety and security challenges of okada could be minimized if agencies responsible for traffic control and management could initiate and activate pro-active safety and security measures.Okada riding has become embedded into Ibadan’s socio-economic fabric, which implies that policy option that will be used to manage it must be tailored towards win-win outcomes for both the establishment and the riders. Any policy option that does not prioritize a win-win outcome will distort the political order and economic stability. The point at issue is that okada riding could co-exist with the vehicular mode of transportation within the ambit of law. The minimum requirement is for the policy makers to design appropriate mass transportation policy for the city, through the design of multi-modal transportation system. This could as well be backed with effective regulation of okada riding within Ibadan city.
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