Commercial Bike (Acaba/Okada) Registration–Bauchi State Nigeria in Mind.

On a trip so many years ago to Ghana by road, the Commercial Bikers in Cotonou and Lome amazed us.  They filed orderly along lanes meant just for them and all had visible numbers readable from far on the front and back of their aprons.   They were so organised, that you wonder, if they had high cases of casualties like we do.  Coming home to Nigeria, the emergence of Okada, Acaba or Commercial Bikes was as a result of the down turning of the economy; increase in the population sizes of our towns and cities with the corresponding vehicular traffic issues and Unemployment. 

With so many states banning out rightly the use of motorcycles, with no sustainable alternative(s), is enough for Bauchi State Government to be applauded for the decision to register motorcycle riders in the state.  Suffice to say that every Government have their reasons for decisions taken, but the fact remains that, these class of people are only there because of the service need they provide for.

In Nigeria, Acaba/Okada (motorbike) is associated, (not exhaustive though), with armed robbers, militants, terrorists, kidnappers, bag snatchers, assassins, ritualists, Orthopaedic Hospital and Mortuary service providers  marketers/promoters.

Why is it so? Amongst reasons are:-

1. Most riders are not trained, they learn on the trade.

2. Poverty, it is a very fast way of getting little change to keep body, soul and family together.

3. Joblessness, some riders are graduates with Diplomas, Degrees.  There was a case of a Masters Degree graduate in Abuja, before the El-Rufai ban on riders.

4. Lack of sufficient affordable transport, they act as bridges/gap fillers

5. Lack of accessible roads, they are able to reach un-motorable nukes, corners and crannies.

6. High Traffic Jams / Go slows, they have ability to manoeuvre in-between vehicles reducing the time wastages due to traffic challenges.

7. It is fun and airy, having the breeze blow on your face and skin.

The list can go on and on.   Unfortunately, it has become the most risky form of transportation.

In Bauchi, where people blatantly refused to wear crash helmets and seat belts, any measure to increase the safety of the commuters and citizenry is a noble deed.  Yes the riders are full of complaints, but it is necessary and of more benefit to them if properly executed.  Everyday you will meet a handful of riders, who do not even know the roads, they depend on you to show them, they keep telling you, if care to ask, that they are from neighbouring states.  So anybody from anywhere, (Militant, terrorist, robbers), can carry a motorbike and commercially work/carry out a negative activity, disappear and leave the true service providers to carry the brunt of the crime committed.  So registration is truly needful.

What will we need to do to make the registration, more meaningful and of benefit to the riders and their passengers?

a. Riders Test and Certification – Mental, Physical, Medical, Eye tests and Knowledge of the terrain (Locality)

b. Road Worthiness of Vehicle, not only license plate

c. Basic First Aid Training

d. Security Back ground check

e. Separation of the town into different areas with responsible coordinating heads, reporting to their town/city or state coordinators.

f. Usage of Reflective readable numbers on bikes (Petrol Tanks), showcasing Bike Commercial registration number.

g. Usage of Reflective Readable Riders Registration Number on Aprons (front and Back).  The riders are not necessarily the owners of the Bikes.  Their registration entitles them to have license as a commercial rider.

h. The Uniform / Apron should be non-transferable, as in the case of license/ID card.

i. Ownership change of Commercial vehicles, should be documented with the necessary authorities, before it is enforced, this will reduce the snatching of bikes.

j. Black listed riders, should have their Apron/Uniform seized for the duration of the black listing.

k. Remove multi taxation – form a one channel ticketing/taxation, Local Government & State Inland Revenue people should have a weekly/monthly scheme.

l. Create a weekly/monthly fora for training, retraining, networking and feedback.

m. Have a 3 digit toll free line for Passenger Complaint, emergency or eventuality report.

n. Institute/Support a compulsory basic Health Insurance through National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover the rider and his passenger.

o. Create a benefit/reward system where riders through their association/cooperative can finance bike purchase or other projects to increase their channels of revenue generation.

Knowing that Nigeria is not starved of ideas, it is the execution and maintenance that suffers, I rest my case, with a prayer, that the Government will get credible agencies/people to do the needful.  If well implemented, the riders will be presenting themselves for registration and payments of dues, as they know what they are getting from it and later work on making it sustainable and theirs.

May God bless the people of Nigeria.

 

 

 

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Why ICC – African Court of Justice, ECOWAS Court of Appeal and Other Regional Courts, Where are you?

Ethiopia has just gathered the crème de la crème of the African Continent, Buhari the Nigerian President went to Ethiopia through Kenya.  On all the talks, we expected a talk on Judicial African issues especially the ICC, Kenya and Cote de Voire (Ivory Coast) saga.

We would have expected ECOWAS to be handling issues regarding Cote de Voire, like the Boko Haram attempts in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.  The same for the Kenyan saga.  If the regional courts cannot, then the issues can be raised to the African Court of Justice. 

When will Africa wake up from sleep?  There is need to revisit the history books and rethink the Nubians, Noks, Carthage, Zulus and the Ancients of Africa, even as the world’s resolve to dissolve borders.  African can only bargain from an angle of strength, if it comes on a platform of One Africa and not on the dissenting fragments of yester colonial divides.

Of all the Corruption, Political, religious, ethnical violence in Africa, go and look under the surface, you will find external influences from the same persons that Africans run to for judicial respite.  When will we call the Europeans, Americans, Chinese, Lebanese, Indians involved in the ills of the land, to come to our African Courts and also face our judiciary?  Instead of making them diplomatic issues and swept under carpets. Then only will people (not Africans) think twice before instigating our very own to carry cases to ICC and call in American, European lawyers for cases that should have been African start to finish.

If you think your national court will not give you justice, because of Government involvement, then take the case to the regional court.  If the regional court refuses to hear you out, the African Court could then be approached.  African Union has been so demoralised by its own members to a near silence on all issues that should have been theirs, but taken over by interfering others.  Correct me, would the Libyan, Egyptian, Kenyan, Cote de Voire (Ivory Coast), cases been handled differently, if it was the absolute resolve of the African Union?  A personal question for our reasoning.

Africans steal monies, and invest them in other African, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, American Countries.  If the African States, can come together as one and demand, like the Jewish Representative did, for repatriation of any African stolen wealth in African, Europe, America, Asia, Middle East, Africa will turn to be the wealthiest Continent on the globe.  There is need to have a United African Voice on hidden / dark treasures of Africa in Swiss Banks and the off Shore accounts and request for return, like Nigeria is doing with the Abacha funds.  Let us have a return of the living and dead owners stolen funds back to land.  We can, if we try, but we must first stand to try.

Politically, it is time to reduce the bargain for posts, in the European, American, Asian, Chinese and Indian Courts. Because, when the Chinese sponsor you to office, you will be made to sing their tunes, so will it be if the Indians, Europeans or Americans do the same.  Africans should let their electorate truly elect worthy persons, and the winners should learn to carry the losers along, because we all have something to contribute and it is always the losers/disgruntled elements that are tempted to counter the good of the leaders.

Do not get me wrong, I am of the humble opinion, that if the Boko Harams felt the Nigerian Government did them wrong by killing the leaders, instead of becoming insurgents, they went to the ECOWAS Court and sought redress, we will not have been talking of US$2.1Billion misguided/directed funds and the colossal wastes in the North East will not have arisen..  The same is for the Biafra, Malians, Somalia’s, South Sudanese, Burkinabe’s, Libyans and Egyptians instead of going underground in Europe, America and the Middle East or Chinese for arms.  Africa will have used less to resolve issues and the huge bleeding of Africa’s lean resource for arms will have been redirected to better developmental projects.

My is a plea for the Secretariat of the African Union and other Regional groupings to come out of their citadels/high towers and engage Africans on the streets, villages, rubbles of wars/crises, schools, hospitals et. al. Let Africans begin to feel Africa and know that they are covered on all fronts.  May this year see African Trade increasing between African States, and African Banks, handling Afican Monies, beginning from the Central Banks of especially Franco – African States. There may be some need to return the Liberian, Kenyan, Ivorian cases back to African Courts, instead of ICC that seem to be made solely for African Leaders past and serving(present).  May we see before this year ends, African Leaders, travelling to other African states, for Medical, historic or leisure tourism.  As a Continent, Africa has the needed critical mass/minimum for success in any area, so why won’t we exploit it?  Start from the courts?  May be, it will reduce most crises that are still unborn.

Our Nigeria–Which way to go?

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The USD$ 30+ or 20Billion, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi – Okonjo Weala/Dieziani GEJ et. al is no more news.  So is the Oil and Gas gate, that got some highly placed Nigerians confessing to Bribery and corrupting a National Assembly Legislator, no court judgement no white paper and all the concerns are moving about free agents in a very corrupt, immoral setting? no in an easy to forget society.

 

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Now the US$2.1Billion Arms gate is raising more heat and courts / health pressures, why?  Wind of Change? Maybe; Nigerians surprise me always.

My expectations is that our statisticians/Press/Academicians will come out and tell us in clear terms, what we lost, what we are looking for and what we as a Nation stand to gain, if we succeed, 50, 80 or 100%.  SLS now Emir of Kano was quoted in a paper to saying, GEJ was loosing as much as US$1Billion monthly to corruption, was that true? Is it still happening? Nigerians need to know and the see how to fix the holes or change the baskets to containers that do not leak.

Do you know that:-

USD$2.1 Billion will amount to NGN546Billion at N260=US$1.  That will be 30.333Million people’s salary on the N18,000.00 minimum wage. (Some Governors have already come out to tell the world that they cannot pay the amount).

* The total budget for all the Northern States Education is N300Billion, that means it can pay to educate the whole Northern States for one year with a change of N246Billion.

* The Nigerian Health Sector has N221.7Billion only for this year, that means it could take care of health sector and have N324.3Billion as change.

* If what SLS and Dieziani / NASS settled for was USD$20.0Billion as unaccounted for, that will be

* N5.2Trillion at the N260=USD$1

* it can give 288.9Million people’s minimum salary (that is more than the Nigeria’s population of 160Million)

* It is more than the total budget of some Countries in Africa and some developing countries.

What should amaze any sensible, responsible person, is the way and manner Nigerians carry on their business of the day, as if, it’s one of those things you know?  No it is not, it is the only wahala (suffering) that right standing people suffer for keeping silent and refusing to ask for their rightful dues.

This is no PDP / APC saga, it is Nigeria.  This is time to stand as one and demand answers, of the whys and how’s of not just the ones we know, but of all the others being kept from the eyes of the public.

Our Citadels and Ivory Towers need to start R&D on Nigeria’s root cause, Reductions or Removal of Temptations and Best Practices.  Ways of celebrating Honesty and reward for right living or whatever can get us sane again should be looked at.  The future of our nation is not good, if the media, external influence and social fora/media is all we have to raise our youth and growing children.  The celebration of ills and carefree attitude to hither to obnoxious issues need a revisit. 

To reduce Corruption, it start from our minds, we need to get our children, youth and growing populace to start renewing our thoughts and minds with the right things.  We need to have an enabling environment that will encourage such, through the materials we read, watch and listen too.  Our Home must be worked to morality stables in all the sense of it and our schools should be returned to the basics, that produced leaders in little and big ways.  Our places of work should be in the fore front of best practices, top down, from resumption time to salary/promotion and file movements.  Employments should return to merits and Federal Character & not sex, creed or tribe.  The time when declaration of age is not monitored and you have a man / woman become 30 years three or four times in his/her civil service career life should stop.  NYSC need to also look at either changing their rules or sought ways to stop the engagement of persons near 50 years as under 30s for youth corps.  If an unemployed female / male member of your church or mosque brings plenty monies as tithes/offering, counsel should be given such and not celebrate same and encourage others to follow example.

What I am trying to say is, we the people of Nigeria should take our future in our hands and start from us (me & you), then get our elected leaders now that they are in office to behave as promised.  That will reduce the need for EFCC tomorrow and it is better that we solve the problem before it happens.  And support the Agencies of Government to correct the already wrong happenings, but in a moral responsible way and not as vendetta.

This is not just Nigeria, Africans should take their future in their hands and call their Governments to action.  They need to account for Yesterday, tell us the Truth about today and consider the good of all for our tomorrow’s actions.  I pray Africa, soon, very soon, look into Africa first, before thing Paris, Brussels, China, India, UK, Dubai, Saudi, Israel, Germany or America.  Happy New Year, ‘which way Nigeria (Africa), Which way to go’.. (Remembering Sonny Okosun).

 

 

 

 

Bauchi–CEO Office Please oh.

We are grateful to the Almighty for the successful hosting of the Progressive Governors in Bauchi a week earlier.  It is a step in the right direction for especially tourism in Bauchi.  The feelings from the hospitality sector needs assuaging as some of us were dreaming and reading for this visit for months. 

The pre meeting arrangement got hotels, putting the usual staffing, purchases of both provisions and perishables, repairs, modifications and facelift of places to meet the minimum expectations of our Highly esteemed expected visitors.   The height of the expectancy was the telephone reservations from the Protocol section of Government House.  To our amazement, the first night was a capital NOSHOW, the second night, even with the assurances of keeping some rooms, ended up NOSHOW again.  At this time you will appreciate phones RNRs, as who will want to face an agree hotel?    That was not enough, two days after the departure of the Progressive Governors and the retinue of advance and post mortem parties, a staff of one of the state agencies, was very humane enough to come through a hotel’s door asking for monies to be paid their agency as their office is disturbing them on internal Revenue Generation.   Haba, Oga State CEO.  The business concerns that have faith in Bauchi, came to invest, reducing unemployment and yes generating revenue for the state, but they need some governmental support, push, encouragement or whatever term you might call it.

When ever a big name, whether Royalty, Government, Celebrity or Religious, is visiting any place, serious Tourism Agencies, utilise the opportunity and make it a tourism affair.  That leads to the increase generation of News, Business, Activities and the need for such to either return again or encourage others to come.  That we had hoped will be in bauchi with the meeting of the APC Progressive; surprising it did not even wink, with over 10 APC progressive Governors in Bauchi.  Hotels will tell you that, the town that was placed on a stand still during the wedding of the Atiku and Muazu’s children.

People wanted Rochas Okorocha who happens to be like a son of the North, visit an IDP camp, Yelwa or any Motherless home and pledge a Rochas Foundation school in Bauchi, even with the issue of his flight, we only heard  after his departure.  People will have wanted to engage El-Rufai on issues of championing the cause of the masses.  Some would have wanted to take count of the states in attendance and at least add to their individual story lines, the list of important persons they have seen.

We in the service industry, wanted to see our end of year report highlight an increase in revenue attributed to the visit.  Anyway that is over, I hear somebody say. True, but it will be good to see, how Bauchi will be made to benefit in all ramifications, when issues like this come to be again.

If an airline, that flies ones daily except on Saturdays, will be giving some incentives on flight.  The same airline, collects monies they make daily, envelope it and it is sent on board to Abuja or Lagos, (when such should have been paid into a Bauchi based bank, so IGR can improve and work increased), how much more of those who have removed their eyes, from Abuja, Kano, Lagos and domiciled their schools, shops, eateries, hotels and other businesses in Bauchi?  They need incentives too.

This plea is to our Oga – State CEO.  To make Bauchi increase it’s revenue generation, your input as the Captain is major.  Bring this friends of yours back more more often,again and again.  Encourage us to be part of your success story, the state na we own together.   The synergy of strengths, is the only way forward for the development that the state needs direly, you have all that it takes, I pray you will do it. As it is a new day in the political dawning of this state and the region.    May the Almighty continue to bless the People and Government of this our mother land.