BY SANUSI MUSA
Perhaps apart from those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate attack against the Emir of Kano last Saturday, the greatest losers are the Motorcycle commercial operators popularly known as ‘Yan Achaba’ in Kano. For a long time, the Kano state Government has been toying with the idea of banning the business of commercial motorcycle but how to go about it has been the problem. Then suddenly an opportunity present itself and Governor Kwankwaso even while away in India, cannot allow it to slip away.
As a lawyer I always wonder if really we have democracy in place. This is because most often our leaders behave as if they are military rulers. The way our leaders trample on our right to movement as they so wish keep me wondering as to whether section 41 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria means anything to them. Our Governors’ pronouncements have come to supersede even a clear cut provision of the Constitution they swore to uphold. Our movements are always restricted most often without any law in place as envisage by section 45 of the Constitution. Our movement are always restricted in the name either of monthly Sanitation exercises; dusk to dawn curfew, ban of motorcycle movement in some hours or some restricted areas and now the novel one in Kano ‘hana goyo akan babur’. Whether it is legal or illegal, it is for the court to decide but I doubt much if any court will give backing to this executive recklessness.
It is estimated that there are about two million commercial motorcyclist in Kano and don’t ask me how because I don’t how they come about the said figure. But whatever it is I am sure more than two million people in Kano State owe their livelihood to ‘Achaba’. Now let’s assume there are five hundred thousand Yan Achaba in Kano State. Let us also assume that half of them are married at least with two children. And out of the same five hundred let us assume again half of them have at least aged parents and at least two siblings that depend on what the Achaba business brings. That will give you more than 2 million and I can swear that those who depend on Achaba in Kano today are much more than that.
But all of a sudden, without any prior notice that source of livelihood has stopped, for no any reason other than an attempt was made on the life of the Emir. I still can’t figure the nexus between the two. Because if all the report and some eye witness account are anything to by, I have not seen where it was said the assailant used motorcycles to either commit the crime or banish from the crime scene.
Like I said earlier, Kano State government has for long wanted to ban commercial motor cyclist from the state as did FCT. Lagos and Plateau. This, according to the proponent of the ban, was because the motor cyclists were reckless and disorderly in carrying out their business. The supporters of the ban are mostly people like me who were privileged to save for a year or more to purchase a second hand fairly used vehicle. Now that having this little upgrade in their status, they now turn to canvass for the ban of Achaba business. The same Achaba they used throughout their school days. The same Achaba that was means of their transport to and from work for the first two years of their employment. And same Achaba that some of them used to finance the education that gave them car. Shi yau suke cewa a hana. Just because they are now proud owners of a second hand vehicle which they value so much and doesn’t want it to be damaged by Dan Achaba. They have failed to realise that Achaba is a necessary evil that we must all learn to live with, at least for it being a source of livelihood of our kindred.
I have always said that ban of Achaba by individual state will create more problem than the one it was intended to solve. Our Governors must realise that though their state are independent federating units, there are actions which if taken independently will have a negative effect on the other federating units. There must a kind of a synergetic approach to issues like the ban on Achaba. When Abuja and Lagos ban the commercial motorcyclist, majority of them relocated to Kano. Why because there is a free movement to any part of the country. Now Kano has banned them they will have to move to Kaduna, Katsina and perhaps Jigawa.
This will now make us understand that banning Achaba will never solve the problem. I am afraid that if this issue is not properly address may likely be the bombshell that will trigger revolution in this country. By the time all the states ban Achaba those teaming youths will have no option than to revolt against the system that has been very unjust to them. Therefore the earlier our Governors realise the need to come together and solve a common problem the better. I wonder why the states of North West cannot come together and address power supply to Kano, that will revive the more than 300 industries in Kano which I think will take away most of the Yan Achaba away from the motorcycle bussines. After all everybody knows that Achaba will always be a last option for any human being. They can now collectively ban the Achaba in the whole North West.
I hope those Yan Achaba that resisted the ban of carrying female passengers by the previous government will come out with more vigour and resist this ill thought Kwankwasiyya policy. Kun kin bin dokar Allah ma ballantana wannan?