Sisi Eko, Lagos Lady Waiting for Okada
Does anybody understand the meaning of the word “Okada?”
How did the use of Uber bikes start?
The first time I saw the Okada Uber was during my NYSC at Awka in 1977.
In the whole of the southwest of Nigeria, nobody used a bike for a taxi.
We used luxurious cars for taxis in the southwest.
I was surprised to later see a much more stylish use of the Okada bike in the Cross Rivers State when I was a guest lecturer at the University at Uyo in 1987.
Women would sit with their legs crossed at the back of the bike rider, without bestriding the seat.
It was, of course, a recipe for lots of bike accidents, as the women promptly fell off the bike.
And nowadays, nobody would allow cross-legged seating at the back of the okada because the okada rider must pack the carriage tight.
Up until the time I left Nigeria for the United States in 1992, the bike was still not used for Okada Uber. We still used luxurious cars.
But when I first returned to Nigeria in 2001 after being away for nine years, I found Okada bikes used as a taxi throughout the southwest.
I was surprised at the development.
But how did the Okada start?
How did it spread all over Nigeria?
I just completed this painting of a Lagos Lady with her cellphone, waiting for her Okada Uber bike.
It’s the first painting I completed in my new studio.