Leaders of the Hausa community in Lagos state have promised to deliver a block vote of the community for the re-election bid of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu if he rescinds his decision on the ban of Okada in six local government areas of the state.
Sanwo-Olu had on Wednesday banned the operations of commercial motorcycle riders in six Local Governments and nine Local Government Development Areas in the state.
The affected councils are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Apapa.
The governor said, “We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws.
However, reacting to the ban, the Seriki of Obalende, Saliu Waziri, said Okada riders who hail from northern Nigeria contribute significantly to the voting population of Lagos and should not be economically strangulated.
Waziri said the government should instead get the data of Okada riders in Lagos to fish out any intruder or criminally-minded fellows.
He said, “This issue has taken us a long time and we have been trying to put our members on the line. I want to advise the government to rethink its decision because Lagos can’t operate without bikes because of traffic. Government should register Okada riders in each local government to know those working in any local government. By doing so, the government would know who to pick when any issue arises.
“Some of our members stay here in Lagos and vote during elections. That should count for something because we contribute to votes during elections. The government should change the system of Okada riders not stopping them.”
Waziri, however, ruled out the possibility of taking any legal action against the state government.
The Seriki Hausa of Ajah, Ibrahim Ngoma, agreed with his Obalende counterpart that the government should consider the voting population of Hausa Okada riders in Lagos.
“Truth be told, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been understanding with Okada people unlike Governor (Babatunde) Fashola. Okada members should obey the law while I appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to look into the matter and lift the ban before the election because the ban is affecting my people,” he said.