One woman, one bike
By THERESA ONWUGHALU
June 29, 2011
Photo: Sun Publishing
It is 7.00 am on a busy Monday morning at
Agbor, a town in Delta State, and traffic is tick. At such peak periods,
all manner of horns are blaring from different sides of the road.
Workers, businessmen, market women and shop keepers
hurry to make it in good time to their places of work. Parents
desperately make efforts to see that their wards arrive early at their
various schools. No one wants to be left out.
Mrs. Vera Okoh, a biology teacher at Gbenoba Grammar
School, Agbor, and her husband, a laboratory scientist at the General
Hospital in the town, are running late. Since she is saddled with the
daily task of taking her four kids to school as well as reporting at her
school, she needs an independent means of transportation. What this
means for the 47-year-old lady is that she has to drop off the kids at
various points. But that is no problem; she is a proud owner of a
The story is not different for Mrs. Betsy Orie who
sells household items at the Agbor Motor Park. She has recently replaced
her old motorcycle with a new one, relinquishing the old one to her
adolescent daughter. When her husband bought his Audi 80 car a few years
ago, his motorcycle was left as one of the used items in the house. For
the two women, life is sweet and easy with the use of motorcycles.
These women represent the typical Ika woman in Delta
State whose daily life and means of transportation depends largely on
the use of motorcycles. In Ika communities, whether it is Umunede,
Igbodo, Abavo, Mbiri, Idumu-esa, Owa-Alero or Agbor town, women pride
themselves, today, in the acquisition and use of motorbikes.
Statistics show that about 75% of the women use
motorcycles as means of transportation in Ika communities. Records
reveal that in the country, it is in this region that a high ratio of
women owns and rides motorcycles more than any other part of Nigeria. An
average family in Ika owns between four and seven motorcycles.
The Ika woman is a true representation of the
African woman, very hard working and resilient. She toils relentlessly
to support her household. One unique thing about her is her independence
in matters affecting the mode and type of transportation. Those who are
not very conversant with this peculiar lifestyle might mistake it as
being eccentric. But the Ika woman’s crave for this mode of
transportation is legendary
From the days when bicycles were in vogue, she had
struggled, bought and maintained them. In some cases, she had more than
Now, that motorcycles are the rave of the moment,
she is not left out in the scramble for acquisition. As a matter of
fact, it is a common phenomenon for a women’s group that is basically
set up with the sole aim of raising funds for the purchase of
motorcycles. There is no limit to the number of motorcycles a household
can acquire. In family of eight, every member may own a motorbike.
An Ika woman goes all through the hug just like her
male counterpart who owns a motorbike when it comes to maintenance. It
is therefore, not an unusual sight to catch a glimpse of her at the
mechanic’s shop repairing the machine or buying spare parts.
Interestingly, she has a fair knowledge of the problems of her motorbike
Every day, as she sets off on her choice ride, her
rare sense of bravery and courage in the face of danger on the Express
way is most compelling.
Irrespective of age, the women take to the road.
Both the young and the old slug it out daily behind the wheels. Taking
extra load or passengers is another sight. She could conveniently take
as many as the motorcycle can carry. Whether, she is attending a church
service, wedding ceremony or rushing out for a social engagement, she
confidently pilots the bike.
As she enjoys the ride, so also she is vulnerable to
accidents. Many have been involved in accidents with different degrees
Daily Sun visited the Surgery
Ward at the General Hospital, Agbor, a young lady, Ifeyinwa, was on
admission for injuries sustained when her bike fell into a ditch on her
way from the farm.
Checks by Daily Sun, reveal that
because of the high volume of female motorcycle owners in Agbor town,
business has not been too profitable for commercial motorbike operators.
In some communities, it is even difficult to find commercial Okada
riders because almost everybody, men, women, young and old have
motorbikes. This development, of course, reduces the cost of an Okada
ride in Agbor.
The highest for a ride from the College of Education
to Oceanic Bank costs an average of N70. Aside from the relatively
cheap rate, the Okada riders at Agbor display a rare sense of courtesy.
They are more friendly and calm. They do not embark on a suicidal race,
neither are they always in a mad rush. To woo passengers, they approach
their prospective passenger with such uncommon civility and respect,
exchanging pleasantries first unlike their counterparts in other places
who have completely lost their sense of courtesy.
Because of their passion for the machine, Ika women
would spare no cost to get the best and the trendy one. There are many
types categorized as ‘Ladies’ machines,’ and there are pet names for
them. For the ones in vogue, you have those nicknamed Aka-nchawa or
Madam Pass Madam.
The Aka-nchawa and Madam Pass Madam types range from
N170, 000 – N190, 000 while you may get the smaller, regular ones for
between N120, 000 and N140,000.