Before now, motorcycle business has been heavily criticised given the series of accidents which led to avoidable loss of lives recorded across the country. In 2012, the then Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola placed a total ban on the use of commercial motorcycles on some roads in Lagos State. Another school of thought has it that motorcyclists are responsible for numerous crimes which are being perpetrated in the country. Notable stakeholders in the transportation sector have really tried defending the use of motorcycles as a form of transportation and as a means of livelihood.
As at today, about 12 million Nigerians engage in commercial motorcycle and tricycle business. As such, any imposition of ban will most likely tear this large population apart. This would invariably give rise to security challenge which the state or nation will have to grapple with for a period. Besides, the dependants of the riders would by so doing be made to go through hardship.
The example of how the Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), Ogun State Chapter went about its business is worthy of applause. The Alhaji Samsudeen Apelogun-led reign in eight years collaborated with the state government by compelling the riders to use government number plates. This move brought sanity to the operations of commercial riders since they are aware that the hands of the law can easily catch up with them in case of any misconduct.
In addition, the introduction of government number plates has contributed positively to the internally generated revenue (IGR) drive of the Ogun State Government beyond expectation. Worthy of note is the state secretariat complex of the association which was put in place for the smooth running of the association. The leadership of the ACOMORAN in Ogun State did not renege in giving welfare package to members in case of hazard or any form of unforeseen circumstance.
It is on record that all members of the executive council of the Ogun State Chapter of the association under the leadership of Alhaji Apelogun were given the privilege to go on holy pilgrimage to further instill the fear of God in them. Undoubtedly, this experience has imparted positively in their leadership approach and conduct such that the state chapter is in no small measure a model for other states of the federation.
It is commonly said that the reward of hard work is more work. It is heartwarming as Alhaji Samsudeen Apelogun was on February 9, 2019 elected as the National President of the Association in Abuja with a high expectation that he would bring lofty innovations that will make ACOMORAN at the national level to become the cynosure of all eyes.
Apelogun who is fondly called “All Rounder” will formally take over the mantle of leadership of the Association as its fifth National President on April 18, 2019. Speaking with newsmen, he affirmed that his mission was to give ACOMORAN a face-lift and make it a force to be reckoned with in terms of income generation for various states across the federation and even the country.
The President-elect who decried the manner commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists are tagged as touts, said his administration will change public perception about the association which he said has polished membership who had to engage in the business as a result of absence of white collar job. Alhaji Apelogun, who revealed that he started from the scratch in Sagamu, his place of birth, affirmed that motorcycle business is a lucrative business. He assured that his administration will lure investors to establish motorcycles and tricycles manufacturing plants in the country so that purchase of the products can be cheaper and this will have direct impacts on the nation’s economy, adding that he would engage in effective collaboration with foreign organizations for profitable result.
Lamenting that a reputable association in the class of ACOMORAN does not have a National Secretariat Complex till date, Apelogun confidently recalled how he built a Secretariat for the Ogun State Chapter of the Association in Abeokuta, assuring that his administration will put one in place in the Federal Capital Territory and also come up with the idea of having ACOMORAN Village where the past, present and future leaders of the association will have property. He said that this will enhance relationship with different generations of leaders and every member will see the association as their general asset which must be improved upon by the day.
The issue of insurance policy that will cover members of the association and their passengers will no doubt, go down well with the general populace as the new President hinted that each member will only pay a token per annum to benefit from the scheme. Also, the association will through this policy have a huge sum of money in its coffers to help members or their families to start afresh in case of fatality.
In the wisdom of Apelogun, he pointed that when there is air mishap or accident caused by trucks, the government will not think of banning the aviation sector or trucks from using our roads. So, in the event of accident caused by motorcycle or tricycle, a ban will not be the solution. He emphasized that, according to the statistics of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), motorcycle and tricycle are not rated as the first cause of road accidents in the country.
The ACOMORAN President mentioned that pilgrimage opportunity for members will be part of the bumper welfare package members will enjoy, noting that the association will never remain the same again as the financial base would be made to run into trillions of naira at the expiration of his tenure.
The President who is out to show the world that motorcycle business is lucrative said that in spite of the non-partisan policy of the Association, members would be encouraged to indirectly go into politics by contesting for seats in the Federal House of Representatives and States Houses of Assembly, affirming that since politics is about numeric strength, ACOMORAN members will definitely emerge victorious.
In Apelogun’s encouragement to members, he said, “they should not see themselves as third class citizens. They should not drink or smoke when they ride. They should not tarnish the image of ACOMORAN in any capacity since they are believed to be ambassadors of the Association.”