It’s Good Friday today…
Osun offers free train ride for holiday
•Clergyman admonishes Christians to be sober
Many churches across the world will today conduct Good Friday services. Good Friday is celebrated traditionally as the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It is a day every Christian holds in high esteem because the death of Christ on the cross—along with His bodily resurrection—is the paramount event of the Christian faith.
Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, usually in the evening, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a message centered on Christ’s suffering and observance of the Lord’s Supper.
Strangely, however, the usual hustling and bustling that always characterize the festivity of Easter from Good Friday to Easter Monday have been glaringly absent, due to what many have blamed on the current economic crunch being experienced in the country.
Despite the absence of Easter frills, many parts of Lagos was on a lockdown yesterday, as motorists got busy on the road, either shopping for Easter or in frantic search for petrol with long queues at the few fuel stations dispensing petrol.
Yesterday, road users coming from Sango, Iyana Ipaja enroute Oshodi had a bitter pill to swallow as they endured hours of traffic jam on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway. This also led to scarcity of commercial buses plying the route, leaving many people stranded at the bus-stops and others trekking the long stretch from Iyana-Ipaja to Ikeja.
Due to large numbers of passengers waiting for vehicles, there was expectedly an astronomical hike in transport fare, as conductors raised the fare from N100 to N400, while those that were going to Ikeja Along were being charged N300.
It was anguish written on the faces of many stranded passengers. Passengers could not fathom the reason for the increase. While some were hinging it on the scarce fuel, some blamed it on the terrible traffic along the axis. Many of the drivers, however, said the scarcity of petrol was the reason for the unexpected hike, as they are spending more to get fuel from black market vendors.
When The Guardian visited some motor-parks, it was devoid of the heightened activities associated with a throng of people who usually travel during the Easter holidays. Nothing showed any sign of Easter as a few passengers were trickling into the garages.
Rt. Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, retired Bishop of Ife, Anglican Communion, speaking on the significance of today’s event, said Good Friday is a day to remember the suffering that Jesus Christ went through to procure salvation for mankind.
“Good Friday is an event that reminds us of the challenges our Lord and Saviour Jesus went through, his trial and all kind of humiliation he was subjected to, so that we would be absolved of guilty of sin, even though He did have any sin.
Therefore, Good Friday should be observed solemnly as it is a day we should mourn for our sins and iniquities.”
As part of its continued commitment to the welfare of its citizens, Osun State government has announced this year’s free train-ride for the Easter celebration. In a statement by the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative, Industry and Empowerment on Wednesday, the free train ride would convey people coming for the Easter festival from Lagos to Osogbo on Friday by 10am.
A return train will depart Osogbo to Lagos on Monday, March 28 by 11am. The statement noted that the government did this to ease movement of people during Easter.
“This tradition of free train ride as introduced by the Aregbesola government about five years ago is aimed at facilitating the easy movement of the citizenry wherever they are. And this programme takes care of both Islamic and Christian festivities.
“Therefore, it is the wish of government that our people from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States would seize this window of opportunity to visit home and celebrate with their relatives,” the statement stated.