Normalcy has since returned to Omu-Aran, the headquarters of Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State after the face-off between commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders and residents which halted commercial activities in the area.
According to holiday makers who had traveled to the town during the yuletide, the relatively quiet town had witnessed a surge in human traffic that characterises the yuletide in the community.
It is a season the town experiences exodus of indigenes from Lagos, Ilorin, Ibadan and other parts of the country who move in to celebrate the Christmas and New Year.
Joshua Ajewole is a Lagos based publisher of Golden Heritage Christian magazine who is also a native of Omu-Aran.
According to Ajewole, the problem started when the Okada riders decided to take advantage of the surge in human traffic in the town to make brisk business.
“The Okada riders decided to hike their fares from N50 to N100 which was a rude shock to the natives,” Ajewole said.
The Christian journalist continued that, “The N50 increment of course meant nothing to the holiday makers from Lagos who have the means, but residents whose earning power is low complained and the matter was taken to the traditional ruler, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, His Royal Majesty Oba Oladele Adeoti Akolade Agboluaje.”
Ajewole added that, the Olomu waded into the matter and ordered the commercial cyclists to reverse the fare to the old order in the interest of peace but the instruction fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, the implication was grievous on the economy of the agrarian town where majority are farmers, civil servants, students and traders.
It then meant according to residents that a few minutes ride would cost N100.
Ajewole said, “Even if your ride is a distance between two poles, you must pay N100 for every drop and the people could not afford it.
“The riders got the plea from the traditional ruler but refused to return to the old regime claiming that he did not buy the motorcycles they are using for their trade,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first class traditional ruler felt insulted and gave an order that no commercial motorcyclist should operate within his domain henceforth.
“The order must be complied with and the commercial cyclists had to negotiate. But unfortunately the Olomu had closed his doors to any negotiation since his olive branch was rejected. His order was for them to move their motorcycles out of the town if they must operate,” Ajewole added.
The entire transport system was affected because many have adopted that as the major means of transportation within the town which according to an online data is home to about 150,000 people and arguably the third largest town in the north central state.
The riders who dared to disobey the Kabiyesi’s order were thoroughly flogged by angry youths who vowed to enforce the Oba’s order.
However, after much consultations and pleading by the leadership of the riders, many of whose bikes were procured on higher purchase and through the intervention of other stakeholders, the commercial motorcyclists were allowed to resume work after losing so much revenue during the face-off.
The situation in the town, home to over a dozen secondary schools and the Landmark University has returned to normal while the locals praised the traditional ruler for standing with them during the period of unnecessary hike in fare.
The traditional ruler ascended the throne on the 22nd September 2018 after the demise of the previous Royal Majesty, Oba Charles Oladele Ibitoye who joined his ancestors on 30th November 2017.