Recently, the Oye community in Ekiti State has witnessed an uptick in accidents involving commercial motorcyclists in the area, leading them to believe that a god is angry with the community and must be appeased.
These motorcyclists, popularly known as ‘Okada riders,’ usually transport passengers in the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, a suburb within the Oye community.
Osasan Motunrayo, a 300 level student of English and Literary Studies, was one of the victims of an accident, which occurred on Monday this week.
In a conversation with Campus Reporter, she narrated her ordeal: “The man who drove is my personal bike man. I was sick over the weekend and he was the one who transported me to and from the hospital. I would not have gone to school at all if not because of the test I had.”
According to her, she believes that cyclists are incredibly careless and nonchalant about lives.
“I tried to caution him but he hit another bike before I could utter a word. I opened my eyes to find myself in the hospital with a bandage on my head.
“My friend, Omooloye Esther, was not as severely injured because I was the one sitting behind. My mummy had to rush down when she heard the news. The accident happened at about 11:43 am,” she recalled.
Following her accident, the NURTW chairman seized the bike rider’s motorcycle after the accident. I tried to confirm from him but could not reach him.
The very next day, another accident was recorded in the same community, involving another student. Arowosafe Olayinka was involved in a similar disaster with a colleague, declaring that the commercial motorcyclists in the area have a lackadaisical attitude to their jobs, making them negligent in the dispatch of their duties.
According to her, the motorcycle she was on was trying to outrun another when the vehicle nosedived.
She noted that, thankfully, she was not as injured as her friend who had to be treated shortly after the accident occurred.
In the same vein, another accident happened at about 7:33 pm on the same Tuesday. According to an eyewitness, Jimoh Asiat, the bike rider did not have his headlights on and he was speeding at night. Luckily, the victims escaped with just a scratch.
Expanding on the frequency of these accidents and what the riders want to do to quell this, Jimoh stated: “I boarded a bike on Monday and the driver was talking about the accidents. He said they must appease Ogun. He also said that he almost hit a dog which is a bad omen for the community.”
In reaction to the spike in the number of accidents, on Tuesday, the commercial riders gathered in large numbers to attempt to appease Ogun, the Yoruba god of iron.
In Yoruba mythology, Ogun is believed to be thirsty for blood when angered and this, they believe, is the reason for the frequent number of accidents in the area, not the carelessness of the bikers.
Speaking with CAMPUS REPORTER, Taofeek Gani, known amongst his colleagues as Baba Nafi, said that they must make a sacrifice to appease the god of iron.
He also expressed the belief that only Ogun is capable of wreaking such havoc because one of the riders might have offended him. He said: “Someone may have performed a taboo which got Ogun angry.”
Describing the process, Mr Taofeek said the sacrifice involves killing a dog and pouring its blood on the road.
“A palm leaf called is tied to iron. Pieces of kola nuts and bottles of palm oil are then put on the image and it is worshipped. After this, the worshippers drink gourds of palm wine to celebrate the success of the sacrifice.”
All efforts to reach the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) chairman at the time the report was filed, proved abortive.
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