12th April 2023.
Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa,
OPEN LETTER TO THE ACTING GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ON THE MENACE OF COMMERCIAL OKADA RIDERS
I feel strongly compelled to write this letter to you as a concerned indigene of Ondo State. This letter is worrisomely informed by the proclivity of commercial motorcycle riders in resorting to mob action whenever the least accident occurs between them and motorists.
The lynching of a 22-year-old Tope Olorunfemi in the Ijoka area of Akure on Sunday, April 10, 2023, underscored the security threat that okada riders pose to innocent vehicle owners and successful youthful entrepreneurs across the Sunshine State.
I will like to sincerely sympathize with the family of the hapless okada rider that was unfortunately crushed to death albeit unintentionally by the late Tope Olorunfemi It is my solemn prayer that the good Lord shall comfort the family of the deceased okada rider and also rest his departed soul in peace.
Since the accidental crushing of the okada rider by the late Tope Olorunfemi is truly painful; it is however condemnable that the other okada riders chose to take laws into their own hands by killing the driver of the vehicle that crushed one of their colleagues to death. Two wrongs do not and can never make a right.
Since Ondo State is not a banana republic, what the riders ought to have done was to apprehend and hand over the late Tope Olorunfemi to the police. Sadly, the young man was barbarically stoned and clubbed to death right in the presence of his parents by these jungle justice-inclined okada riders.
There had been incidences in the state whereby innocent motorists had escaped death by whiskers in the hands of okada riders even for mistakenly hitting one of them. Since okada riders and motorists use the same road, it is unlikely that accidents could be totally avoided. Even when most of the okada riders are known for their reckless manner of riding, they still expect motorists not to never come near them on all the roads across Ondo State.
Your Excellency, I have deeply observed that the root causes of hatred between okada riders and motorists in Ondo State are basically poverty and frustration. While I am not unmindful that we have a handful of youthful motorists in the state that are in the habit of reckless driving; the okada riders should have allowed the law to take its cause whenever an accident occurs in any part of Ondo State.
More so, this category of reckless motorists should be reoriented and cautioned through radio and social media sensitization.
Regrettably, the preposterous mindset and perception of nearly all the commercial motorcyclists in Ondo State are that all the successful youths in Ondo State are ritualists. It was this same mindset that propelled the okada riders to brutally snuff life out of Tope Olorunfemi. Painfully, one of the okada riders was caught on video telling his fellow okada riders at the lynching scene that any young man that wears an outfit that is worth N150,000 must be a ritualist.
This mindset of the okada riders indeed spoke volumes on their unfounded claim that the lynched young man was a ritualist. All the claims that fetish items were found in his eventually burnt car could not be substantiated with pictorial or video evidence. After all, the lynched Tope Olorunfemi was only rushing down to his parent’s house to settle a fight between them. Even if not for the timely intervention of the police, the disputing parents of late Tope Olorunfemi that rushed down to the scene were almost lynched by these same commercial motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, the claim that the killed motorist crushed four persons to death was also not true. After all, the police had since confirmed that only the dead body of the okada rider and that of lynched motorist were in the morgue as of Sunday evening. The two injured passengers of the crushed okada rider are both responding to treatment in the hospital.
Your Excellency, it will not be wrong to conclude that okada riders in Ondo State are potent security threats to motorists, especially the youthful ones. This claim always manifests whenever okada-motorist accident occurs in any part of Ondo State. On several occasions, instead of making efforts to save the life of accident victims, the okada riders would readily prefer to descend on the motorists.
At this juncture Your Excellency, I will strongly advise that all the killers of late Tope Olorunfemi should all be fished out and diligently prosecuted to serve as deterrence to other bloodthirsty okada riders in the Sunshine State. Also, the leadership of the okada union across Ondo State must be made to sign fresh undertakings that their members will no longer resort to mob action whenever okada-motorist accident occurs in any part of the state.
I will also advise that the government should strengthen the laws that guide road usage in the state in such a way that anyone found guilty of manslaughter should be committed to a prescribed jail term. This will help to caution a few youths that are truly reckless in driving.
As a matter of fact, Your Excellency needs to assure the youth of Ondo State that their lives and properties are safe by taking immediate actions that Will reign in the excesses of all the reckless commercial motorcyclists in the Sunshine State.
While I thank Your Excellency most profoundly in anticipation of your immediate action, I also wish the injured okada passengers the quickest recovery.