It bears no restating that the hyena of Nigeria’s economic downturn is ferociously biting deeper into the financial flesh of many homes. Prices of goods and services have increased exponentially with no commensurate rise in the earning powers of the people. Many basic needs are hardly being met and a couple of projects that would have been begun and concluded in record times are on hold. It is at this hard time that the last Eid-El-Kabir was observed. Though many could not celebrate the festival as they would have loved to, some still have some memorable experience. I am one of those who will always remember this year’s festival for good and I thank Governor Rauf Aregbesola for it.
After the last Ramadan, my wife and I decided we would observe the Sallah celebration at our hometown, Ede, Osun State in spite of the economic situation in the country. The Aregbesola-free-train policy made it possible for us. I have heard about it before then but did not pay much attention to it. If governance is about easing pains and making life liveable, I think that is what the Aregbesola government has just done for my family and a host of others who have been enjoying it in the last six years. I am writing to appreciate the governor because I am one of those who share the view of that American President, J F. Kennedy that ‘we must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives’.
That free-train policy made a difference in my family this year. Yes, I am not unaware of the irrefutable fact that it is the duty of government at whatever level to cater to the welfare of its people and provide social services for their well-being. But when a government gets at its duty responsibly, I think it is sensible to commend it as a means of encouraging it. And if that state government is in Nigeria where governments are known to shirk their duties to citizens, then it all the more becomes necessary to encourage a performing one by showing appreciation for its invaluable efforts.
What I find remarkable about the free train idea is not only that it helps in making family happiness and reunion possible, but also that the Osun Government has been consistent with it. That consistency is laudable. It shows that the idea is not meant to fool people or deceive them. It is about service for the good of the people, regardless of their religious leanings. That is governance.
I wish to urge Ogbeni Aregbesola to spend the remaining two years of his tenure to do more great works for the good of the people of Osun. I call for more support and cooperation with the government from the people of the state, home and abroad.
Agege, Lagos State.