Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has just banned commercial motorbikes known locally as okadas; and three-wheeled motorized rickshaws called kekes, from a chunk of the city’s congested streets.

The governor has cited recklessness, spiraling rates of fatal accidents and robberies from the bikers as reasons for the ban.

Bike hailing services like Gokada, Max.ng and Oride were also included in the ban in six key local governments of Nigeria’s commercial capital.

However, on October 1, 2019, Sanwo-Olu said he was going to regulate the ubiquitous okada trade in Lagos, as well as the bike hailing operations. There was no hint of an outright ban in his speech.

The governor who was a guest at the Covenant Christian Center organised ThePlatform, said he was going to carry all the bikers along and not leave anyone out of his vision for a greater Lagos.

He said:

“To also solve the traffic issue in Lagos is also to talk about the okada issue. Okada is anywhere, everywhere you see.

“So, part of the things we are going to be doing is not to leave anybody behind. People are currently using a system that is working for them. Meaning that you see some okada riders that are branded..that are using smart pays to pay when you finish the journey. We are trying to harmonize all of them and be able to come up with a regulation system where we can account for every okada rider.

“We will know who they are, we can manage them. In fact the solutions some of them are bringing, we can actually disable those okadas remotely. That’s where we are planning to get to. It’s also something that we need to think through very well to be sure that nobody is disenfranchised. To as much as possible, give everybody the opportunity to play and to play well. I'm hoping that once we do all of these, the solutions around our traffic will be reduced significantly.”

Endorsing keke

In a similar vein, Sanwo-Olu endorsed Pastor Paul Adefarasin's ‘area boys' (now called Jesus boys) empowerment program of Lagos Island.

On December 6, 2019, at the venue of TheExperience, a gospel music concert, Adefarasin distributed tricycles and commercial buses to the Jesus boys in order to get them meaningfully engaged and turn them away from a life of crime and violence.

Adefarasin had said: “Now, we are taking it a little further to empower them by creating a transport industry that the ‘area’ boys will be able to run. It involves various types of vehicular transportation, but we are starting the pilot scheme with the Keke-Marwa (tricycle).”

Sanwo-Olu would go on to commend Adefarasin’s House on the Rock for the initiative and pledged the Lagos state government’s partnership for the project. “For everything you put in there, we as a government will contribute an equal amount,” Sanwo-Olu said of the keke initiative. “We’ll stay with you stage by stage to ensure that it becomes sustainable and it becomes enduring,” the governor added.