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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.1 Introduction: COMPARATIVE EFFECT OF MOTORCYCLE AND TRICYCLE ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES IN ABRAKA, DELTA STATE-NIGERIA.
Transport is an important element in development and it affords the social, economic and political interaction that most people take for granted (Button and Hensher, 2001). The provision of transport infrastructure has grown extensively across the globe through a range of networks of modes which have undergone technological improvements cutting across the motive power, the tracks and the means that serve as compartment for passengers and goods. Personal mobility is one of democracy’s most valued freedoms and it is, therefore, not surprising that a high proportion of man’s income is devoted to the movement of the goods and transactions (Dawson, 2009). The importance to the socio economic, political and cultural development of any nation is underscored by Munby’s (2008) statement that “there is no escape from transport”.
In the past decade, there has seen significant growth in the use of motorcycle and ownership in Nigeria which has significant impacts on the socio-economic facets on the people’s lives (Oni, 2003). Recently, the introduction of the tricycle mode of transportation has not only improved the socio-economic life of the people but has also created employment for the timing unemployed youths especially in the present situation where unemployment has been the other of the day (Jack, 2016).
According to Dawson (2009), motorbikes are a means of transport used to move from one place to another. With the policy of liberalisation of public transport by the government of Nigeria in the early 1960s, commercial motorbikes were introduced in Nigerian cities and progressively into rural areas. The introduction and proliferation of these commercial motorbikes in the urban and rural Nigeria has come to influence the mode of life of its population which generally had the habit to move from one village to another by trekking and today uses motorbikes to move from one village to another (Gbujie, 2003). More so, this population that lives on agriculture in the cultivation of cash and food crops in the likes of cocoa, coffee, cocoyam, cassava and plantains; with the production of these products constituting references of wealth and prestige has also drifted in the riding and ownership of commercial motorbikes becoming a ready source of income and a new sign of wealth and prestige amongst the people of Abraka (Akinbode and Ugbomeh, 2006). More so, the activity has introduced new jobs as motorbike spare part retailers and Motorbike mechanics. These changes in perception and activity have come to change the socio-cultural organization of the Abraka society (Akinbode and Ugbomeh, 2006).
In many developing countries, motorcycles and tricycles are increasingly becoming the common means of transport especially among low-income urban dwellers (urban poor) and many rural people (Jean-Paul and Theo Notteboom, 2013). The high ownership and use of motorcycle and tricycle in the urban areas in Nigeria especially in Abraka has come with its accompanying challenges like motorcycle and tricycles accidents involving fatalities; environmental and public health concerns from the emissions; non-compliance to motor traffic regulations-for instance helmet use is generally low in Nigeria among others among other things. The high incidence of motorcycle ownership and use has also been contributing significantly in the betterment of many livelihoods of urban residents in Nigeria and at the instance of Abraka (Akinbode and Ugbomeh, 2006).
The increasing growth in the number of motorcycles has come to solve the mobility needs of many urban residents in the light of poor and inadequate public transport system, poor road conditions particularly those leading into the peri-urban areas where many people in Abraka reside as a result of urban sprawl. It also comes along with a host of opportunities including employment to motorcycle/tricycles mechanics and motorcycle/tricycles spare parts dealers, local revenue generating sources through taxes/levies on motorcycle owners/riders as well as motorcycle and tricycles registration and licensing (Dinye, 2013).
In developing countries, vehicle ownership is low dependency on public transport is high. However the financial conditions and performance of all forms of government-organized public transport ineffective and are in decline (Kumar, 2011). This situation has forced people and the market to develop creative solutions to address daily travel needs-hence a resort to motorcycles and tricycles either for personal mobility in addition public transport. The resort to motorcycles and tricycles as an alternative mode of transport in savaging urban mobility problems of towns in Nigeria has introduced varying dimensions of issues including traffic accidents and safety on the roads, registration issues and the repair and maintenance activities around these motorcycles (Jack, 2016). Various researches (such as Gbujie, 2003; Oni, 2002, 2003; Akinbode and Ugbomeh, 2006; Atubi, 2006; Dinye, 2013) have been conducted on the issues of motorcycle and tricycles traffic accidents, motorcycle/tricycles traffic management in motorcycle and tricycles dependent cities, commercial motorcycle/tricycle operations among others. It is against this background that this study is conducted to assesses the comparative effects of motorcycles (Okada) and tricycle (Keke) on socio-economic activities in Abraka.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
The problems created by the use of motorcycle and tricycle as the major mode of transport in Nigeria are enormous. Most motorcyclists who ply the road on daily basis do not apply safety rules and regulations. They overtake carelessly without looking carefully if there are vehicles coming from behind (Dinye, 2013). The use of motorcycle and tricycle have resulted to series of road accidents on urban and rural roads, traffic congestion, arm robbery cases, kidnap cases, abduction and other notorious crimes committed by okada and keke riders. This has in turn affected the socio-economic life of the inhabitants in most Nigerian cities, towns, and villages.
Another major problem associated with the use of motorcycle and tricycle is that socio-economic activities in Abraka greatly depend on the availability of transport services such as public and commercial vehicles, motorcycle, tricycle and other mode of transport. An increase in the price of transport will in turn lead to inflation in the price of commodities and goods (Charles, 2011). This has been the situation in Abraka for some time now since most dwellers complain of the hike in the price of transportation by transport companies, motorcyclists, tricyclists, and commercial vehicle owners.
Motorcycles and tricycles often create traffic problems on urban roads leading to congestion of vehicles, motorcycles, and tricycles at terminal points. This creates a major problem to the inhabitants of such region who rely on the availability of transport services for their socio-economic activities. Socio-economic activities greatly depend on transport system since transportation is a key factor in the development of any society (Gauthier and Hook, 2005). However, over reliance on motorcycle and tricycle mode of transportation has created urban problems in most Nigerian cities. It has been discovered that there is dealt in literature on the effect of motorcycle and tricycle on socio-economic activities and not much effort has been directed towards the topic. This study will therefore fill the gap that exist in the study and address the problems mentioned in the above paragraphs.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study: COMPARATIVE EFFECT OF MOTORCYCLE AND TRICYCLE ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES IN ABRAKA, DELTA STATE-NIGERIA.
The aim of this study is to comparatively assess the effect of motorcycle and tricycle (keke) on socio-economic activities in Abraka. Therefore, the specific objectives are to;
examine the socio-economic effect of motorcycle and tricycle mode of transportation in Abraka; identify the socio-economic activities in Abraka; examine the problems associated with the use of motorcycle and tricycle mode of transport in Abraka; examine the impact of motorcycle and tricycle mode of transportation on the socio-economic development of Abraka region; suggest possible solution(s) to the problems associated with the use of motorcycle and tricycle mode of transport in Abraka.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses stated in the null form will be tested in this study;
There is no significant relationship between motorcycle use and socio-economic activities at the 0.05 level of confidence. There is no significant relationship between keke napep use and socio-economic activities at the 0.05 level of confidence. There is no significant difference between the socio-economic effect of motorcycle and tricycle at the 0.05 level of confidence.