Sunday, February 12, 2006

Okada!!! Okada!!!!

Being back in Lagos now for the last week or so i have been re-acquainted with that stalwart of Lagos life. The Okada driver. That unique seemingly possessed rider of nosiy Chinese manufactured two-wheeled death traps leaving confusion, death and destruction in their wake. Sometimes you see them weave in and out of traffic, sometimes weaving in between cars on the 3rd Mainland Bridge. Yes you heard me on Third Main Land bridge. Those guys are nutters.

Hardly a day passes without some Okada testing your reflex actions to see how quickly you can step on your brakes. And that got me thinking. What could be the average lifespan of an okada driver? Is it possible to be an Okada driver for, i dunno, 10 years. To be honest i dont think its possible. If there are such people who have lived for 10 yrs driving an Okada daily, then that should prove to any doubting Thomas that there is a God.

I think the fumes from the okada engine must intoxicate the drivers because i dont think they know how small those things are. As far as your guy is concerned, he is driving a bad ass Hummer and if that stupid driver in the Honda horning at him to get out of the way doesn't stop he will bash his bumper to teach him a lesson. During Sallah i saw an okada whose passenger was carrying two rams on the either side turboing down Eko bridge. Now what do you do when confronted with such foolhardiness.

When i went to Cotonou ages ago. The Okada drivers were organised and orderly and didnt try and challenge cars for the rights to the road. Which then shows that there is no problem with motorcycles as a mode of transport. The problem is the psychotic Nigerian on it. In Nigeria, we have a lot of mentally ill people who should probably be tied up in a psychatric hospital left to drive danfos and okadas. Now i know this is a way of life and provides people with that daily income that keeps them from dying of hunger. I appreciate that. But does that give them the right to put the lives of their passengers, innocent bystanders and other motorists at risk.

Any tips to handle these menace apart from banning them would be welcomed. In the mean time, drive with not just your eyes, but with you ears, nose and mouth wide open. :)


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