Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria (MTUN), Anambra State chapter, has made a passionate appeal to Governor Willie Obiano to give motorcycle operators in the state a sense of belonging.
Making the appeal on behalf of the union at the weekend in Nnewi, the National Vice President, Chief John Onedibe, said there was the need for the state government to consider the poor when it make policies that tend to benefit only the rich.
Onedibe, who was deeply touched at the pronouncement by the state government to ban Okada, in Onitsha and Awka, noted that the state government was meant to make life better for masses.
The union leader, who spoke to newsmen also said, “It is not new that the essence of government is to make life easy and bearable for citizens and not otherwise, government especially a democratic one as ours must consider the voice of majority and minority, the rich and poor for it to thrive and succeed in its governance of the people.
“Where government considers what is good for the wealthy alone without thinking of how the poor class may feel, with due respect, it then means that the government is for the wealthy alone and such does not protect and represent the interest of all.
“You cannot make a policy without consulting the person that would be affected directly from such a policy. How can the government decide to ban Okada without first of all consulting the stakeholders or at least invite for public opinion on the matter.”
He however, debunked the claim that the okada operators were criminals, but agreed that there are few miscreants in the fold.
According to him, there was obvious need for the government to look at the possible implication of putting over 20,000 youths out of job, which would in turn induce labour crisis in the state, and spill over to other states in the South-East.
Making reference to Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, who abolished all forms of taxation and levies on low income earners in the state, including Okada riders and said, “God has given us an elevated platform of authority to use our intellects to support them and not to suppress them,” Onedibe urged others to emulate him as that was how leadership should be.
Stressing that the real reason behind the presumed banning of Okada in the state was still not clear to the people, especially the poor Okada riders, he said, “even if there are genuine reasons to stop Okada riders from plying in the state, government should provide alternative jobs for them, instead of keeping them unemployed.”