The Nigerian social media space has since been set on fire, as many social media users reacted to the submission of Joe Igbokwe, the spokesperson of Lagos State APC and a cabinet nominee in this present Lagos State administration on Gokada’s temporary shutdown.
As reported on Nairametrics, Igbokwe stated that it is impossible for ride-hailing startups to thrive in the country’s commercial hub, as the stiff competition in the industry is gaining momentum day by day.
According to him, if the bike–haling startups are allowed to operate freely, they will jeopardize the investment of the State Government in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
“Instead of partnering with govt on BRT, you invested 5.3 million dollars in okada business and expect that Lagos state will allow you jeopardize its multi-billion naira mass transit investments.”
See the reactions below.
Sister Nations like Rwanda are making reasonable progress by supporting private sector investment.
In Nigeria, one Mr Joe Igbokwe is discouraging private investors who provide employment for youths. Jobs that his cohorts have failed to provide in the last four years.
— The King?? (@Kingsleymaximo) August 15, 2019
— Chidi H. Lemchi (@HLemchi) August 14, 2019
Joe Igbokwe is a Commissioner Designate in Lagos and wants to disallow bike hailing services in the state and sent them packing. He rather wants them to partner with Lagos on BRT.
I hear Joe Igbokwe is also considering a 2021 Guber run in Anambra State.
— Nnamdi Anekwe-Chive (@nnamdianekwe) August 15, 2019
That was a very wicked and insensitive statement from Joe Igbokwe.
Gokada and the likes actually save lives and jobs in Lagos
— Fegor Okonedo (@FegurGreen) August 15, 2019
Someone should please tell Uncle Joe Igbokwe that he is a latecomer even his Principal has joined the moving train. pic.twitter.com/tZMwyaP5IC
— Gbemisola (@Sisi_Gbemi) August 15, 2019
Surulere to Oshodi during Rush Hour
Bus: 3 hours
Okada: 30 minutes
Joe Igbokwe needs to shut his mouth until rail and water transport is working properly pic.twitter.com/bTPwu1Dkzc
— Olisa (@0lisa_) August 15, 2019
@Gidi_Traffic Please what is the loquacious Governor Sanwo Olu' Commissioner designate Joe Igbokwe, saying here? Is he exposing how government frustrates start-ups and SMEs in Lagos?? pic.twitter.com/HK4uwQ2pRr
— AustynZOGS (@Austynzogs) August 15, 2019
Joe Igbokwe was recently appointed by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu as one of his cabinet nominees sent to the House of Assembly for screening and clearance.
Back story: Amidst rising competition in the mobility hailing market in Nigeria, bike-hailing app company, Gokada had announced that it was shutting down its operations temporarily in the country. The shutdown was announced by Gokada’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fahim Saleh.
Gokada’s decision to exit the market immediately was compelled by Saleh’s personal experience on one of the company’s bikes in Victoria Island, Lagos.
While most businesses shut down their operations in Nigeria due to the country’s business environment, Saleh’s reasons have nothing to do with Nigeria’s hostile territory but self-development to enable the company to compete better in the emerging market.
According to Saleh, he hailed a Gokada bike from Victoria Island to Mainland bridge, and his experience was unpleasant because of two major reasons, which are rider’s failure to get to his pickup point within allotted time, and rider’s struggle to navigate the road due to a fault developed by Gokada’s app.
Mixed reactions from Nigerians, however, trailed the Gokada’s temporary shutdown disclosure. Among those who reacted is Igbokwe, who claimed that it was impossible for the Lagos State government to allow startups like the Gokada thrive considering state government’s investment in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).