The Origin of the Word Okada

In Nigeria, commercial motorbikes are referred to as Okada.

Okada is the name of a village in Edo State of Nigeria. Gabriel Egbinedion, one of Nigeria’s first known millionaires and the father of the Lucky Egbinedion, former Governor of the state, hails from Okada village. In the eighties his millions led him to establish the first domestic airline in Nigeria. It was known as Okada Airline.

Lagos the old administrative capital of Nigeria is notorious for traffic congestions. The traffic congestion of Lagos is one reason why the federal government of Nigeria decided to move the capital to Abuja in the heart of the nation.

Commercial motorbikes in Nigeria originated as a solution to the search for a way of beating the traffic congestion that often delayed people who wanted to reach their offices in time. The bikes actually solved the problem for those who engaged them. You arrive your destination in time. It was like travelling by crow fly as airlines do. It was like flying via Okada airline.

As the years went by, the convenience intra-city travel by these bikes ensured that travelling by commercial motorbikes spread from Lagos to other parts of the country. Across the nation, the business is known by different names depending on the locality. In central Nigeria, particularly in Plateau State, the trade is referred to as going. As one moves into the land of the Hausas, he discovers that the trade is referred to as Achaba. The name Okada Is however ubiquitous and people are increasingly discarding local slangs in favour of it.

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