The Benefits of the Ban on Okadas in Lagos State: A Photographer’s Perspective

So it’s no more news that the Governor that gave Okada drivers helmets before his election has decided to put an end to their means of livelihood by banning them from “major” roads in the state. Whether or not you’re in support of the seemingly untimely (albeit controversial) decision to ban over 61000 registered commercial motorcycles (plus the thousands that are not registered) from doing business as usual, a vast majority of the residents of Lagos have experienced the unprecedented aftermath.

My goal is to point out, from a photographer’s perspective, the benefits that may ensue. First of all, let’s be clear that I’m not in full support of the timing that the ban is being enforced. Sometimes I feel some decisions taken by our leaders are made to favor their political ambitions rather than the comfort of the people. Although some decisions can be difficult to make as a leader in this nation. That being said, the point to be noted is what do we do from here on. Herein lies my photographic opinion.

The first set of photographers to be impacted are the “PAPAPA” photographers. I wonder what business will be like for them now. Up until now, it was customary to take pictures of guests at a wedding ceremony (or any other event), jump on an okada to rush to the lab to print the pictures and be back in time to meet the same guests at the reception to sell the pictures for N100-N200 apiece. I can imagine such photographers now having to queue up in bus stop waiting for a bus to carry them to & fro and by the time they get back to the reception venue, the guests that didn’t request for their pictures to be taken in the first place would have gone to their various homes.

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Therein lies a significant shift in the foundational plate of a PAPAPA photographer. This might be the right time to start considering more efficient ways to make a living as a photographer. Getting a mobile printer should be something to be seriously considered. Or better yet, start THINKING of ways to be the official photographer of the event rather than the PAPAPA photographer of the event that depends on the N100 picture sales for survival.

Now to the photographers that consider themselves one or two levels above the PAPAPA photographers. I’m referring to those that are actually hired to be the official photographers of the day regardless of whether you’re paid N5000 or N500000. If you were used to arriving “on time” before, get ready because the okada that used to get you to the venue on time is no longer in business. This might be the time to leave your house/office 1-2hrs ahead of schedule so as not to be labeled the “LATE” photographer. Better yet, start adding to your bill the cost of hiring a taxi driver to get you to & from the venue (that is if you feel people like you deserve to be entering cabs…). Better yet, you might consider getting a POWERBIKE. I see an increase in the sales of POWERBIKES (both used & new) as citizens start looking for an alternative to getting to the destination faster.

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Lastly, regardless of the level of photography you think you’re in, it’s inevitable that one must “reduce” the time spent “outdoors”. Don’t leave your house or office except you have no choice. If you don’t have an assistant, this might be the right time to hire one. You don’t have to be the one taking you pictures to the print lab, laminator, and “framers”. Your time is more valuable than just sitting in traffic you could have avoided in the first place. I would rather go out for “marketing” purposes than to go personally to a lab. Even some of the marketing can be achieved if I just get a website instead of taking my ipad from my office in Akute to a potential client’s office in Lekki (only to end up hearing the common sentence “your price is on the high side”). Just my thoughts anyway. Or what’s your take on this issue.

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  1. mr made · October 30, 2012

    Power bike in consideration…


  2. Bolanle · November 1, 2012

    True stuff!


  3. Odegua Uchendu · November 4, 2012

    If the “okadas” aren’t on the major roads because they’re motorbikes then how does the powerbike help?


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