The Okada Ban announced by the Lagos State Government in major local government and on major road has led to several losses. Losses for employees and employers alike.
Okada Ban: Let’s take you down memory lane
In 2012, Raji Babatunde Fashola, the former governor of Lagos State, banned commercial motorcycles on major roads in Lagos state. A ban most law enforcement agencies took seriously until the his Successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, came into power. During his (Ambode) tenure, he lacked the political will to fully institute or enforce the ban. Fast forward to 2020, the present governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwoolu revived the ban which includes more local governments and keke napep (tricycles).
Market Intelligence vs Spiritual Intelligence
These are some of the woes that have befallen individuals and organizations as a result of The ban. As Christians, we have decided to examine if there was any way the ban and its negative implications could have been anticipated by individuals. Were there signs and signals? Could the individual or organization have been one step ahead of the government and its policy.
In considering this we will be examining whether market intelligence; the ability to understand the art and act of trading and investment, and having the right networks is superior to the leading of the holy spirit on the part to take and what business to invest in.
Market intelligence means the ability to predict, quite accurately, the course and flow of a particular economy or sale. An individual with market intelligence will be able to take a good and careful look at supply and demand and possible profit margins. Such people are experts at predicting possible government policies and know when best to invest in a certain field.
It would be expected that the motorcycle companies, such as Gokada, Opay, and Max would be experts at this. They would have looked at the traffic issue in Lagos and would be right to presume that the Okada business would thrive. Indeed it thrived and was thriving. In fact, all the market indications show that if they continue to invest money and resources, it would yield.
The same thing would have occurred to an average man who was looking for a means of making a living. He would have seen others surviving in the “Okada” business and could have used all his/her money – savings or loan – to get the Okada. Only to be hit with a ban.
One can only imagine how devastating the news would have being for such individual. Another interesting fact about the Okada ban is that the riding companies were in talks with the government quite steadily and still did not see the ban coming.
Okada Ban: Loss for Companies
For organizations such as Godaka and Opay, it is a serious loss of investment. The CEO and Co-founder of MAX (Metro Africa Xpress) stated that because of the roads on which the ban was placed it is very possible for a motorcyclist to lose up to 80% of his income.
Speaking about the investments of his company into the motorcycle business in Lagos State. He stated that:
In terms of equity investment and shareholders, MAX has put in close to $10m (about N3.6bn) in the state. And in terms of financing, things that have been done cost well over $5m (about 1.8bn) in the business that has been mobilized for providing microloans to Okada and vehicle operators in the state.
The Okada ban also means a loss of employment for about 6000 bike men.
The Okada ban, therefore, brings into focus the simple fact that market intelligence might not always be sufficient in
- Floating a business
- Running a company
- Making an investmen
The question that then arises is, ‘what extra can we add than being an expert in the market place?’ The bible is full of several scriptures and examples that show that the spirit of the Lord is able to direct us in things.
The bible points out to us that God knows the beginning from the end, and as such nothing can catch him unawares. This is what we have termed spiritual intelligence. A faculty that is opened to all believers by the spirit of God.
Spiritual intelligence just like market intelligence can be learned and mastered. A believer can develop his skills in this field and become so accurate at it, such that he is able to discern the times and the seasons at all times. Just like the Sons of Issachar.
Considering how volatile this world is. How in one day a policy by the government can change the entire momentum of the market, or how an epidemic can spring up to crash markets and businesses. It is more important now than ever for believers to use the advantage of the Spirit in taking actions and decisions. We cannot rely singularly on predictions by experts or training in business schools. We must take time to develop the capacity of hearing God for direction.
Many believers today do notinvolve God in their careers and businesses. They worship God on Sundays and speak in tongues only. They have not fully realized that God is a father. And what father is not interested in the overall well being of his child? When this realization dawns on us we will spend more time talking to him and receiving direction from him about every facet of our lives. That way we have the advantage of foresight, favor and all the possibilities that are available in God.
Okada Ban: Loss for the People
The people of Lagos state are lamenting. This major policy that will cause a severe shift in the transportation system of the already congested state. However, for operators and bike men the policy shift is even more dastardly. For many bike men, the policy change means unemployment and hunger. A female keke rider told PREMIUM TIMES that the directive is both unreasonable and inhumane.
“How do they expect many of us fending for our families through this job to survive? The government has provided no employment, yet, they want to deprive us of your means of livelihood.”
She also stated that the ban will definitely result in an increase in crime.
Another rider who hails from Edo state also stated that the ban would lead to an inability to fend for his family.
There is no work. If the government can provide work for us. Nobody wants to be an Okada rider but it’s not that I don’t like it; it is what I used to take care of my family. I don’t think banning this Okada will be okay for people,”
These represent the view of thousands of motorcyclist who will be severely affected by the ban.
Understanding the scale of those affected by the Ban
The ban will affect hundred of thousands of people in Lagos State and this statistics is not a mere conjuring from our heads. According to a research study conducted by a member of the Olabisi Onabanjo University’s academic staff, as at 2007, Lagos had over 200,000 commercial motorcycles. A look at the population growth rate of 8% in 12 years (2007 to 2019), means that at least 192,000 motorcycles were added. Therefore, the state currently has an estimated 392,000 okada riders in the informal sector.
This figure does not include motorbike hailing services such as ORide, Max and Gokada. Including them, Max has an estimated 2,000 motorcycle riders, Gokada boasts of 10,000 motorcycle riders in the state.
The Okada Ban in Lagos state once again brings into focus the need for believers to involve God in everything that concerns them and the need to gather spiritual intelligence and not just rely on market intelligence. We have not said that market intelligence is wrong. We have only pointed out the immense advantage of having spiritual intelligence alongside any other intelligence. We also have stated that where there is a clash between market intelligence and spiritual intelligence, spiritual intelligence should prevail in the life of a believer.
We end with this scripture that points out the importance of spiritual intelligence and should constantly guard our lives: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path (Proverbs 3; 5-6)