Travails of an Okada Passenger

I had been thinking about what to write since last week and until this evening (Monday) I didn’t have clue! It was the sixth day of my new project (actually the third week, but sixth actual work day!) and I was on my way home. The first leg of the journey was to the estate gate and this would be on an okada (commercial motor-cycle).

Living in Lagos, this would not be my first time and so long as the traffic jams continue; neither would it be my last. Anyway, I got one and admonished him not to speed. Calming these commercial riders was a necessary part of the trip, since I preferred to reach my destination in one piece.

We had almost reached the bike park and I was glad this leg of my trip home was about done when the unexpected happened. I’m sure the man had waded through the murky water a few times that day. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t remember where the pothole was and as a result we both fell! Down went the okada, its rider, passenger and other paraphernalia

Thankfully although the motorcycle fell sideways, I managed to avoid falling flat on my face! I also managed to avoid the spinning wheels and my feet, hands or other body parts getting caught. My shoes were sopping wet as they were immersed in the dirty looking sandy water. The cuffs of my jeans were also wet but that’s where it stopped.

I quickly extricated myself from the mess and waded out. I took off the helmet and walked unto higher ground. It was from this position that I looked back to find out how the rider and his bike had fared in the saga. Happily, he was also relatively dry and his bike was once again up wheels without any undue damage to it.

A few minutes later, the young man (along with his faithful machine) came to my new position and I handed over the agreed fare. Mumbling an apology, he gave me my change. I returned his helmet and walked off…with immense gratitude to God that I could do so and live to tell the tale.

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  1. Wow!!! Thank God for His protective mercies!!!! Okadas!!! Such necessary evils in Gidiland!!!! Couldn’t help smiling at the ‘higher ground’ phrase, sha…:)

  2. great thanks to God for his protection,like you rightly said”okada riding will always be a part of us as long as traffic is concern,some of us don’t have other options.I thank God i have been able able to cub my okada riding by opting for other means(from 80% to 10%).
    May God help us all.

  3. seyi, thank God for the escape. Next time, take more precautionary efforts by alighting and do some trekking to a spot you were sure of and let him ride alone to meet you up. Hope the paraphernalia was without damage after the baptism in the murky water. Read more of your exciting stories.

    • @Wale: Thank you for the advice…didn’t occur to me cause I was tired, but I’ll remember now! Thankfully there was no damage to the paraphernalia either. Thank you for your kind words too;)

  4. okada… that name was coined out of ‘Okada Airlines’ as it was believed then that motorbikes provided a similar service as the airline as they made you avoid the travails of a road journey. Today, the story is different as okada rides are synonymous with accidents, robberies and lots more. In Lagos for instance okada is a necessary evil as they provide a very ready alternative to bad traffic situations, rumour also has it that they generate a substantial amount to the Lagos State government purse in the form of taxes and these amounts is also believed to run into 8 digits.

    I personally must confess that I have been lucky not to have been injured by an okada and I pray that status quo remains but I cannot say same for my car especially the side mirrors in fact I was forced to change the factory fitted mirrors to the folding type as they just folded on impact and reduced the damage unlike the initial fixed ones which broke at the slightest impact.

    When I want to board an okada these days, I try take a good look at the face of the riders as it seems some of these bikers from a particular part of this country are more prone to accidents than others (it’s left for you to find that out).

    I had the opportunity of witnessing a robbery carried out by a pair on an okada.

    There’s a ward at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi for victims of okada accidents. (very terrible).

    Having said all these about okada there are 3 sides to them; the good, the bad & the ugly. In summary, they are a part and parcel of our society & a necessary evil.

    How do you read me………

    • @Stagies: What more do you want me to add? You’re a social observer, commentator et al. Captured very nicely…thank you!!

  5. Thank God you surivived that ordeal without any injury. i have had worse experiences to recount. The most distinct was in Calabar compared to Lagos it is a calm town so one would expect saner bike riders… the reverse is the case. the roads are less clogged with fewer vehicles and bike riders are insane. I sat on a bike home and the bike rider zoomed off. I told him to slow down, no response. He took a different route which I was not familiar with. I asked why, no response. I panicked then told him to stop, no response. I raised my voice and shouted, he accelerated. I hit his back shouting at him to stop, nthen he spoke ” you dey fear?(he sniggered) I go carry you go sell today.” I kukumah put one foot down and the other…the next i remember i was on my back with the back of head on the ground with a loud thud. I stood up almost immediately like say 10 seconds, i patted myself down and quietly walked to the other side of the road and got on a different bike home. I never knew I had grazed my left shoulder baldly. I have a scar that looks like a nicely done vague tattoo on my back as a souvenir! 🙂

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