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Opinions of Saturday, 27 May 2006

Columnist: Agyepong, Benjamin Opoku

RE: Get All Mercedes Benz 207 Vans off Our Roads

I am forced in the midst of my busy schedule to post this rejoinder to the article titled as above which appeared on Ghanaweb on May 18th, 2006. Supposedly, written by one Professor Obosu-Mensah Kwaku. In the first place I was shocked and dumbfounded to have learnt at the bottom of the piece that the author was a Professor. I kept asking myself, how could a professor make such a silly argument? This guy does not even deserve to teach in high school let alone community college. One got to be either disingenuous or academically nonentity to make such a fallacious argument.

Let us examine his main argument: 2/3 of all accidents occurring on Kumasi-Obuasi road involve 207 buses, therefore, there must be something wrong with 207 buses and so they must be banned from our roads.

Remember we said the same thing about Nissan Urvan when they were the principal means of passenger conveyance some few years back.

Now what this so-called professor failed to tell us before any meaningful conclusion could be made is this; what is the percentage of 207 buses among all the passenger buses that ply the Kumasi-Obuasi road? What percentage of all passenger minivans on our roads are 207? If 90% of the entire passenger Vans on the Kumasi-Obuasi road are 207 vans, then it stand to reason that, there is a 0.9 or 90% probability that any accident involving a passenger van would be a 207 bus. I do not know much about the Kumasi-Obuasi road but judging from experience and some unscientific statistic I took last August at Nkawkaw of Taxicabs in the Municipality, I found that, about 8 out of every 10 taxis in Nkawkaw were Tico (popularly known as Akodaa). So chances are that at Nkawkaw, if a taxi is involved in an accident, there is 80% probability that the Taxi would be Tico. Does this imply that Ticos are bad vehicles? Certainly not! We can not make that inference. It would be wrong to make that judgment and that is exactly what the Prof. disingenuously did. Secondly, Benz buses are not used in Ghana alone to carry passengers, even in Germany, they are often used to carry passengers, they are very popular in Pakistan, and in most other African cities, Did the Prof. attempt to check the performance records of the benz buses in other countries and cities where they are frequently used? If the other countries like Egypt and Pakistan who use them in large numbers than we do in Ghana do not experience the problem we are facing, then of course, the accidents could not be blamed on the Buses.

Let us look the latest accident that pushed the Prof to advocate for a ban on 207 buses. I present here a quote from the article as it appeared on Ghanaweb.

?Deputy Superintendent of Police Maxwell Osei, the Abuakwa District Police Commander, said the accident occurred when the bus attempted to overtake a Tico taxi and collided with the STC bus?. Judging from this report, could the driver have avoided the accident if he was driving any other bus besides 207? Of course not! If any other sensible and experienced driver was driving the 207 at that time, would he have attempted to overtake the Tico at that critical moment? Of course not!

I guess what I am trying to convey here is that, the Professor?s Argument was porous and fallacious because it lacked the crucial middle statement required to make valid conclusion. Until such a time that the honorable Professor would be able to supply the excluded middle statement to his argument, by stating that all the accidents involving 207 buses have been found to have been caused by mechanical or structural/constructional deficiencies and not human errors, his conclusions will forever remain invalid statistically, and logically wrong because he commits a fallacy of excluded middle.

If people complain of headache, we do not chop off their heads, instead we give them treatment.



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