By Ayo Moses Ogedengbe
Last week Monday, I needed to get to a meeting by 12 noon. As at 10: 30 AM, partner and I had already gotten to the tail end of college road, Ogba. But right by Excellence Hotel was this recalcitrant traffic that held us for another hour.
I came down from the car and remembered how I had made a commitment to myself that I was going to make sure I get to meetings early enough so as to show my host or guest that I respect and value their time so that they can in turn learn to respect mine, all in a drive to perfect my punctuality game.
I quickly got a Bike Hailing service to take me to Ikeja GRA where host was waiting with his team. The Rider arrived and I quickly mounted with helmet on, as well as my diary and phone on one hand, while I used the other to hold myself down to the bike.
This Rider, with all due respect, is an incompetent one. He has no good road maneuvering skill the Lagos Biker must have to survive the streets.
He saw a truck that had blocked a narrow road and in his attempt to maneuver, he got right in front of the truck just at the time the traffic was to open up its bottled neck for movement.
The Truck Driver dragged me, the bike and the Rider so much further that it took people on the road screaming for the Truck Driver to stop.
The Rider got slightly injured and I did not even get a body stain.
After the event, I took out time to go and interview (conversation style without camera) some people I know who started with Gokada and understand the game very well.
What I discovered is something that is a bit worrisome. Many people have actually died. Asiwaju Olubunmi Oluwadare also shared some fears this morning which reminds me of the need to share this story and talk about the nature of fierce competition generally.
It reminds me very much of how the fierce competition between Airbus and Boeing caused the last series of crashes that the Airmax 737 jet series experienced.
You will recall that the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) introduced by Boeing into the 737 jets and christened it Airmax is what led to the Ethiopian Airline crash in Addis Ababa which killed many including one of our own, Prof. Pius Adesanmi.
The deadly nature of competition , as shown by that of Boeing VS Airbus, has started to gradually happen between Gokada and Oride in Nigeria.
The Problem is that we don’t pay attention to things in this country. We would rather count the cost in the losses of human lives.
Gokada came, did and is still doing well, and even raised good money for expansion.
Oride came in to play catch- up and the brand is catching up quite fast.
Question is, how?
While I wont like to share my direct findings so as not to appear to be hurting one brand in favour of the other, I would like consumers of Bike Hailing services and the authorities to begin to pay serious attention.
One of them, I already have a confirmation, is cutting safety processes so as to win. Many between Iyana Ipaja and Mushin are already watching the brand with some negative attachments.
Point is, the game is heating up across the length and breadth of Lagos.
Authorities must do more than asking new entrants to pay licence fee of 25 million and focus on consumer safety and security.
The cost of the competition should never have to be human lives.
Who is paying attention?
Ayo Moses Ogedengbe is a PR & BrandStory Strategist
By Ayo Moses Ogedengbe