'Okada' Business Portends Great Danger To Nigerian Economy - Varsity Don - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

'Okada' Business Portends Great Danger To Nigerian Economy - Varsity Don

Prof. Oladipo Olubomehin
Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA - A Professor of Economic History from Olabisi Onabanjo University University, Ago-Iwoye, Professor Oladipo Olusola Olubomehin has warned that, motorcycle business popularly called Okada may destroy the growing economy of the country if not properly managed. 

Prof. Olubomehin explained that, the motorcycle business is silently destroying the Nigerian economy because the business is a service industry, and not a manufacturing or production sector of the economy. 

The University Don stated this on Tuesday at the 90th inaugural lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu, Ogun state. 

Speaking on the theme of the lecture, "My Odyssey Into Nigerian Economic History: Road Transportation, Port and Market Development", Prof. Olubomehin narrated that, though, the contribution of the motorcycle business to the economy is important, noting that only industrialization of the business can make the economy grow and develop. 

"When a country engages in production, it sells its products both in the local and international markets to earn foreign exchange. This strengthens the country's economy. 

"The Okada business is not doing this for Nigeria's economy because the country is not producing the motorbikes. At best, what the Okada business does for the Nigerian economy is to provide a ready market for the companies that are manufacturing the motorcycles in Asia. 

"The Nigerian economy has become a God market for the motorcycle companies and this is not good for our local economy. There is, therefore, the need for the government to take a serious look at the deeper economic implications of Okada business in Nigeria."

Professor Olubomehin pointed out that, the country is losing its skilled labour to the high rate of investment in the motorcycle transport business.

He emphasized that, young Nigerians now prefer to work as commercial motorcyclists where they can make a paltry sum of N3, 500 daily instead of enduring the patience of learning handwork.

He said, if the trend continues, a time may come that some of these trades such as, plumbing, carpentry, painting, bricklaying may die due to the difficulty of getting successors for the present crop of artisans. 

"Furthermore, evidence from fieldwork shows that is is now generally difficult for artisans to find people who are willing to learn their trade. From bricklayers and plumbers to mechanics  and carpenters, the story is the same. 

"Young people no longer ready to endure the patience of learning under any master. They prefer to work as Okada riders where they can make between N3,500 and N4,000 a day. If the trend continues, a time may come that some of these trades such as plumbing, carpentry, painting, etc. may die due to the difficulty of getting successors for the present crop of people in the trade. This is a negative impact indeed on the Nigerian economy and society," Prof. Olubomehin averred. 

He therefore, urged the federal government to diversify the economy through the tourism industry which according him, remain untapped but has been identified as capable of contributing significantly to the country's economic development. 

He said with regards to the prospect of tourism industry, transportation remains one of the many variables needed for tourism industry to thrive in any country.

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