A NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisation (NGO) which operates under the umbrella name Target Wide Foundation (TWF) has engaged the Greater Accra Regional branch of the Okada Riders Association on how to improve their operations.
TWF last Monday August 24, 2020, met with the 17-member regional executives of the association in Tema.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the foundation, Ms Joana Frances Adda said the operations of her outfit is one that also contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
She therefore saw the need and benefits for the Okada Riders to rebrand themselves and their activities so as to win the hearts of the Law Enforcement Agencies and the general public.
According to her, though the foundation is aware that by Law, the Okada business has not been legalised, TWF is more interested in the welfare, security and safety of the Okada riders.
Though not assuring them of the legalisation of their activities because the foundation has no power, to do so, the CEO said rebranding themselves is the foundation’s goal.
Madam Adda said she was inspired to target the Okada operations after attending a conference in Rwanda last year.
She said walking through town, she observed how people patronised the services of commercial motor riders (Okada).
She said she noticed some uniqueness in their operations and used the opportunity she had to engage their leadership.
The Rwanda experience
In Rwanda, all Okada’s must mandatorily register with any association of their choice. All such riders are given unique numbers boldly embossed on reflective jackets which they must compulsorily wear all the time.
It is also a must that every motorcycle (be it commercial or private) moves with two (2) helmets: one for the rider and the other for the passenger.
The CEO thus encouraged them to buy into her proposed agenda. The executives were very pleased with this initiative by Target Wide.
They accepted the invitation because the call was not from politicians.
They remarked that politicians especially the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) use their services especially in electioneering year or when they are in dire need and dump them after the project.
The CEO of TWF Joana Frances Adda and the executives of
Tema Okada Riders Association
Both political parties have engaged them in the past concerning their welfare but never fulfilled their promises.
In a brief, they revealed that all riders registered with associations were law abiding. It is the “floating riders” who create problems for them.
The Public Relations Officer of the association – Pascal, who is an electrical engineer, said he got into the Okada business when the company he was working for collapsed, and finding a job was difficult.
He had no choice but to engage in the Okada business to feed his family adding that “some male redundant staff of some collapsed banks have also resorted to the Okada business for survival”.
Challenges with police
They were bitter about the ill treatment given to them by the Police, saying, the frequent arrests, appearing before the courts and paying bribes, seizure of many motor bikes “resting” at various police stations within the Region were simply unbearable.
A member of the association added that some police officers own fleets of Okada working on their behalf.
The CEO of Target Wide asked them to advise those lawless members to be law abiding and cease jumping traffic lights, moving around with unlicensed and uninsured motor bikes, use of fake number plates and other unacceptable conduct.
The perception also is that Okada riders are armed robbers/thieves, radicals etc., which she personally believes is an exaggeration and not totally true.
The number of Okada operators in Greater Accra alone is over 7,000.
The foundation will reach out to other Okada associations who operate in other regions.