The Grand Okada
The Grand Okada is a stylish and iconic scooter type vehicle designed, to be manufactured in Sierra Leone by local youths I encountered during my travels using window welders, generator mechanics and boat fibreglass technicians. After accomplishing the Omolanke 2, I strongly believe Sierra Leoneans will be competent enough to deliver this vehicle to very high standards.
The Okada (a Motorcycle Taxi concept) though it is not unique to Sierra Leone has proved a great success in the country since its post war implementation. It is said to have provided many unemployed individuals and ex-combatants with employment. Furthermore as a means of rapid transportation in a congested city, it is very effective even compared to other forms of urban travel worldwide.
The lightweight and simplicity factor plus the ability of the motorcycle to dodge obstacles makes the Okada a cost effective and reliable means of travel in rural areas as the supple ride quality can rival even some of the most competent 4×4.
However the Okada is not without its flaws, which include safety, comfort, ease of use, the lack of driver professionalism, etc. These are issues The Grand Okada Concept addresses with the aim to retain the positive impact and safeguard future employment.
The Grand Okada incorporates a longer saddle giving more passenger space and income possibilities. It is equipped with a robust fuel and oil efficient four stroke diesel engine which not only helps the environment but also unlocks extra income that can go towards driver development and attaining correct documents. This in turn will increase customer confidence in this mode of transport.
With regards to safety, the motorcycle consists of exposed, moving, and very hot parts which can easily injure passengers. The fairing of The Grand Okada protects the riders whilst its stylish vents cool the engine and the exhaust is beautifully tucked away just over the rear number plate.
In terms of ease of use, swinging a leg over a motorcycle saddle is rather undignified especially when wearing a skirt, lappa or being well dressed. The Grand Okada offers the better option of climbing the footplate and sliding backwards on the saddle.
The Grand Okada would not only keep Sierra Leoneans moving efficiently cost effectively and in more eco-friendly manner. It would also be a step further in an industrialised Sierra Leone and the exportation will increase jobs, make us an internationally competitive nation and bring immense national pride.
How can we employ the best of the West to Sierra Leone’s advantage?