“Majority of okada riders from a particular section of the country will avoid rain drops… I confirmed by observing them when it is about to rain.”
The rainy season is here in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, but for many residents of the suburbs such as Bwari, Kubwa, Karu, Mpape, Lugbe and Gwagwalada, whose mode of transportation is predominantly by motor bikes, popularly called okada or going, the advent of the rains is becoming a source of worry.
Findings showed that okada riders usually disappeared from the streets at the onset of rain, thereby leaving would-be passengers stranded. Sometimes, the refusal of okada riders to continue with the journey when it starts raining ends up in a brawl.
A teacher in a private school in Kubwa, Mrs. Mary Benjamin, narrated her experience to Daily Sun. According to her, she lost some of the groceries she bought from the market when the okada rider conveying her home suddenly made a U-turn to avoid the rain already falling a few metres away.
“It was not a sweet experience the day one useless okada boy threw my goods away when he tried to avoid the rain coming in front of us to touch him. That was my first experience, though I have heard such stories that most okada riders from a particular section of the country always run away from rain because of what they fortified themselves with.
“That particular day, I boarded the bike from the Village Market; I had a bag of tomatoes, which he placed on top of the tank of the bike and used his arms to guide it. A few metres from to the junction leading to our street, we noticed that the rain was already dropping in front, suddenly he applied the brakes, pulled off the road and rushed to take shelter in a shed nearby.
“I managed to jump off the bike, but the bag containing the tomatoes fell off and spilled the contents on the road. I became furious, I was ready to make trouble with the okada man, but the mallam who owned the shed pleaded for peace,” she aid.
On what could be responsible for the action of the okada man, she said that she was informed by one of her colleague, who incidentally had had a similar experience, that “the majority of okada riders from a particular section of the country will avoid rain drops, and this, I also confirmed by observing them when it is about to rain.”
“Take notice that you will find them parking their bikes when it is about to rain to hide somewhere. I gathered reliably that they are running away from the rain so that it will not affect the potency of the charms they are wearing. Several of my colleagues, friends and neighbours confirmed that they have charms that they tied around their waist or arm, which rain must not touch,” she explained.
The submissions of some the okada riders who spoke through an interpreter at a newspaper stand in Kubwa, as well as in Lugbe and Nyanya corroborated Mrs. Benjamin’s assertion and others who shared their experience.
Musa, through an interpreter, said he was from Kebbi State. He started his okada business in Lugbe in February this year. He said he needed to protect himself from physical and spiritual attacks, hence he wears a charm around his waist.
“Whenever rain is approaching, I will park my bike and take shelter so that my charm will not lose its power,” he said.
Mustapha, a teenager plying his commercial motorcycle trade in the Village Market axis and to any part of Kubwa and Dutse, also said that the fear of attacks by officials of the okada union, which he refused to join, was why he had to fortify himself and rain must not touch him.
“I don’t like rain; in fact, I run away from rain. There is no amount of money you will offer me, when rain is about to fall, I will not take it. My friend, Iliasu, had problems with a woman he carried and had to stop midway because of rain. I don’t want such things to happen to me,” he said.
Benson, who collects daily dues from okada riders in Nyanya for the union, confirmed that nearly every rider has at least one amulet used as a defense.
“It is true that majority of our okada people wear amulets, and they believe in its potency to save them from attacks, and that is why they are very stubborn and reluctant to pay the daily dues. But I also know that rain must not touch them, so you only find very few okada riders during the rain,” he said.