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The political economy of ‘Okada’ transport business as an employment strategy in Nigeria


Much academic energy has been so dissipated by transport geographers on the traffic relevance of motorcycle (Okada), especially as a commercial means of providing mobility. Observably, the mutually related essence of transport and employment that led to the popularity of motorcycle in most cities in Nigeria is fast extending to multidimensional problems of economy, politics and social malaise. The objective of this study therefore is to find out these other underlying political, economic and social factors overshadowing the mobility relevance of motorcycle as a transport business and why it is fast becoming an employment strategy for millions of unemployed youths in Nigeria. The questions are: has it alleviated poverty in the country or has it provided for means of development of human capital for the needed industrialization in Nigeria? The study area is Ekiti state of Nigeria where surveys of probabilistic sampling method with random techniques are used to pick 500 Okada riders as respondents. The critical investigation in this study is to find out why the respondents are engaged in ‘Okada’ transport business and why they abandoned their various trades as artisans and their education. It is to examine Okada’s business’ prospect of buoyant economy and the observable Okada riders’ daily income and association with political elite. The study is to also find out why ‘Okada Unions’ are becoming second arms of political parties, forming strong pressure influences and ‘stated groups’, which are always motivated by politicians to attain political gains. The study will be raising policy options for the government that will not only secure a socio-political and economic future for the country as a developing nation, but will also be predicting the outcome of mono-lateral Okada economy across Nigeria cities.