Passengers prefer female Keke riders to male – Oyo female rider

Amidst the economic hardship, Mrs. Omoseke Sanni, a female commercial tricycle (keke) rider in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, speaks with Olatunde Oluwasola about the challenges she faces and her efforts to support her family, among other issues.

What motivated you to pursue this profession?

I joined a tricycle job due to the economic situation of the country and the need to make a living. Initially, I purchased a tricycle and gave it to a driver for daily delivery but when they were not delivering as expected I decided to ride myself.

How did your family and friends react when you decided to become a rider, especially considering it’s not traditionally seen as a female occupation?

None of them were happy with it when I started especially my husband and my family members but I persuaded them to see reasons with me. I spoke with them gently and made them understand that it’s a temporary job and that I don’t the intention to do it for long. I made them see the reasons that the situation of the country demands such change. That was when they allowed me to do it.

How do you balance your work as a tricycle rider with other responsibilities, such as family obligations or personal pursuits?

Being a tricycle rider doesn’t affect my other responsibilities at home. In the morning before I leave home, I make sure I discharge my responsibilities by taking care of my husband and my children. Every morning, I take my children to school and in the afternoon they go to lessons and then back home around 4 pm and 5 pm. I leave work by 6 pm and go back home. Meanwhile, children are also capable of doing some house chores even before I arrive from work.

Tell us about some of your experience on the job.

I have had numerous experiences on the job. One of the memorable experiences I can never forget was the day a young child was hit with my tricycle. My tricycle was seized and was taken to the police station. It spent 16 days in the police station. I was even told that it is until the child’s leg is healed completely before I can be freed. After they (family) requested N50,000. We pleaded that they should allow me to take the child to the hospital but they insisted on the money. I later paid N30,000. Yet they insisted that until the child’s leg is healed my tricycle should not be released. But the police refused and told them that they could not do that. So the matter was resolved.

How do passengers interact with you compared to male tricycle riders?

Passengers always like to board female tricycles a lot more than males and like to interact with us. They treat us well. As a female rider, if your tricycle tire has a problem and you need to change it, the passengers will assist you but if you are a male, you will do it yourself.

What are some of the challenges you face as a female tricycle rider?

I have faced lots of challenges since I started this job. God has been helping us. Are we going to talk about the risk on the roads or what? Someone without patience cannot do this job, such an individual cannot do it. Sometimes the problem may come from the passengers or area boys on the street. Generally, there are a lot of dangers attached to this job but every job with its specific dangers.

How do you ensure your safety while on the road, considering the unique risks associated with tricycle riding?

The fact is that nobody is perfect in riding the tricycle. It is God protecting us but one should ensure that he or she can ride well and ensure you always look in the mirror. A rider’s hand must be straight and must be very careful on the road. If you can keep to the rules on the road, then you can drive.

Have you encountered any discrimination or biases because of your gender while working as a tricycle rider?

I had experienced numerous discrimination for being a female tricycle rider. Area boys and some passengers do look down on female riders. They would be creating problems that they can’t do with male riders. And in handling it, I apply God’s wisdom and ask for His help in such a situation. And also such things require patience and endurance.

What is your call to the government on the plight of female tricycle riders?

I implore the government to support us. Sincerely, the price of the tricycle now is so expensive and unaffordable. The current price for installment payments is around N5 million. If there is a good job out there, there won’t be any need to do this job. The government can support us by buying it in large quantities it will be cheaper and they can give it out with low interest. To be candid this is not a female job but many of us find ourselves doing it because of the situation of the country. I would also want to advise all female riders that they should know what they are doing.

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