Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Lagos Okada Ban is War against the Poor not Okada —by Princewill Odidi

5 February 2020 

The Nigerian rich have a unique hatred for the poor. They treat the poor like leprosy. Today they set out to ban Okada and Keke, not because they want to clear the streets of thieves and accidents, but truth is they just dont want to see the poor hanging around them. 

If they truly care they should build hospitals and schools and not banning keke. 

The hatred and disregard today's rich people in Nigeria have for the poor is inherited. Why do I say so? It is a hatred and disregard that has a long history. A history that has its roots in colonial times. 

During the era of colonialism, the white man felt he was superior to the black Africans. They used African elites as interpreters, cooks, court clerks drivers and office and house assistants. 

The white man called our grown up parents who work for them "Boys". The Boys were treated as less humans. Our parents who were called Boys were made to call the white man Master. 

The master lived in the main building and a quarters was built behind the main house, the quarters was intentionally designed to face the wall. It was called Boys quarters. 

Our parents who the white man degraded to Boys were made to live and face the walls of the house with little ventilation. 

What you see today in Nigeria is still the continuation of the Master /Boys relationship. That's why you see politicians calling grown men who support them to win elections, they call them boys. It is a carry over of that colonial mentality into our politics. 

Now, the rich will tell you it is because of armed robbery and accidents that's why they are banning Okada and Keke, it's a lie. 

If they really care for the poor they will set up hospitals and schools. Go to India and see the number of Keke in the streets of Mumbai, there you will find a complete Keke economy. 

Go to China and see the number of bicycles in the streets, China has a complete bicycle economy helping to keep people in shape. 

Keke and Okada is last resort for most families. Nigerian poor are paid so little, how do you expect them to get home? The rich are banning Okada and Keke just because they need more road space to blow sirens. 

For the poor who use Okada, Sometimes from where the bus stops, the road to the poor mans house is so bad that bus cannot get in. The government will not open the roads yet the government will ban Keke and Okada the only transport source of the poor man to his bacha. 

If you are reading this piece understand one thing, if you are poor it is because the rich use your collective oil wealth to live lavishly. You are poor because some people have converted government funds to their private estate. 

I appeal to the elites and decision makers to allow the poor man to also live, allow the poor people to squeeze in a small Keke under the hot sun to go to work or market, stop pushing them to the wall. 

Show a little kindness, don't be like the White Master who relegated our fathers to Boys Quaters. Stop this war against the poor. Live and let's live.

Odidi writes from Atlanta, Georgia.

Begining from 1st of February, the Lagos State Government commenced the enforcement of the Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 banning operations of motorcycles and tricycles in some LGAs and LCDAs and restricted them from some highways, bridges and roads. 

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