The Tales of the fast-paced Okada.
Hey! I have to tell you that this is a quite detailed blog post, but since you are here, you might as well stick around to the end. I know the title seems a bit much, but they are fast, so fast that it’s scary.
Okodas are probably the highest number of public transport in Nigeria even more than Danfo buses. Okadas are everywhere, not only in Nigeria, but in many countries in Africa.
Here are some pictures of Okada(s)
image from pmnewsnigeria.com
Image from signal.ng.com
Okadas are simply commercial motorcycles or as Google prefers to call it; Motorcycle Taxi. Before Okadas were named what they are as we know them, there was the original name; Okada. Long before people might remember, there was an Okada airline owned by Chief Gabriel Igbinedion. It was named after Okada town near Benin. Commercial motorcycles were named after the airline because they were quick, and could easily maneuver traffic just like the airline. Apparently Okadas outlived the airline.
Okadas have been in Nigeria before the Babaginda administration, so you can say that they are the agba of public transport. (The seniors of public transport)
They are also know by these names; achaba, going, inaga
Okadas are almost essential in Lagos. Particularly with Lagos traffic, they are the easiest and fastest means of travel on land. Because they are small, they can easily wade through the fearful Lagos traffic. Also, they know all the koros (inner places) and shortcuts to pass through to get to your destination quicker. And because there are so many (so much that they cause traffic themselves) at every bus-stop, you don’t need to stress or wait for them to move. Because they are so essential, they use that advantage quite a lot. They know that they are important so they can use it to pain you. Usually everyone is cheating one another, but when you start to notice them and they know you know, they don’t try to cheat anymore. But with Okada, it’s another case. Because people need them to go to places immediately, they impose their prices on you. Do you get what I mean? Like you want to go somewhere, but not urgently, you might not get there with Okada. Let’s say the fee is waso (₦50 (fifty Naira)) normally, the olokada (bike rider) might want to take a hundred naira. So you are in a situation where you are haggling the price. The rider might just not take you again. Because he (okada riders are usually male but sometimes you can spot a woman) knows that there would be someone around wanting to go that same place that same time, very urgently he will market that. Because if it’s urgent you would probably pay the outrageous price. If you argue a bit longer he could just relent. Or if you just pretend to go to someone else, he might just relent. Sometimes they don’t really care.
It seems like there’s no downside to Okada riding, but there are.
They are incredibly reckless. They have no regard for road safety or anything of the sort. A few times that I have been in the car with my mom I have witnessed a lot of madness. They have this air to them like they own the road, like you are wrong for correcting them.
They are dangerous some times. More often than not, these riders are armed. I remember not too long ago, Lagos banned okadas from the expressways. So police officers had to make sure that orders were followed. Then there was a shootout between the officers and the riders. It was a scary time in Iyana-Ipaja that day.
They are carefree too care free. Sometimes they breeze through the streets with no care at all like ghost rider. That’s why it’s no surprise some estates have signs like
Image from Tech point Africa.
or even no okadas allowed past these times like from 6am- 8pm. Because their carefree ways could lead to accidents.
They can be incredibly rude. Most of them have no respect at all. There was one time that I was on the bike and I nearly fell because the guy was speeding like crazy. And when I was like aboki (my friend) *sometimes meant sarcastically, he said that I should better sit well.
How to seat on an okada properly
I don’t think there is a standard to sitting well. For every person there is a different way they sit. Like a friend of mine holds the okada man. I hold the seat. That’s the only way I can board an okada without falling tbh. But I have seen some badass okada passengers that sit and type. I can’t just do it. So I won’t say that there is a perfect way to ride, the most comfortable and safest way is best.
There are many other one man owned okada alternatives like; Gokada, Opay, MAX Okada and the rest. There have even been more businesses embracing motorcycle delivery services. So you can say okadas will always have an impact on our lifestyle and travel.
We would love to hear any of your Okada tales and the most interesting will get featured on the website and our pages. So leave your stories in the comments of this post and we will make sure to reply!
I hope you enjoyed this one.
See you soon
Lots of Love ❤️
Wear your mask 😷
And maybe try boarding an Okada
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