Lagos -Some passengers aboard the “Omoluabi free-train- service“ on Thursday appealed to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun to ensure that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) improves on its facilities to make the free-ride a real fun to cherish.
The passengers who commended the governor for sustaining the exercise since his assumption of office in 2011 made the appeal while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Iddo Terminus of the NRC.
The passengers comprising male and female indigenes of Osun thronged the terminus in their hundreds to join the free-ride from Lagos to Osogbo, the capital of Osun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the train would return to Lagos from Osogbo on Monday, while another would leave Lagos on Thursday from Osun for the New Year.
They are expected to return to Lagos on Sunday, Jan2, 2016 after the New Year celebrations.
They urged the state government to impress it upon the management of NRC to provide them new coaches to replace the old coaches that had been transporting them on yearly basis.
Mrs Olufunmi Banwo, a civil servant, thanked the governor for the free train-ride.
Banwo, a first timer, said that the exercise had given her and other indigenes of Osun residing and working in Lagos State an opportunity to visit their relatives back in Osun during this Yuletide.
She said that with this train service, they had been able to save the transport fares to and from Osun which were always on the high side during festivities.
“We will be able to celebrate the Yuletide with our beloved ones, they will be happy and we will be happy also.
“I want the governor to improve and maintain the free train-service, l know it is not that easy considering the present economic situation, “ Banwo said.
Also, Mr Emmanuel Olajide, a student, urged the governor to provide a new set of train coaches and provide the needy that patronise the service free meal during the journey.
“This is a good idea by the governor as a way of giving back to the public; considering the economic situation he still did it.
“The student urged the NRC to improve the facilities inside the train and make them clean.
“They should bring one of the new trains at the NRC. “
Mr Sokeye Olubori, a business man, praised Gov. Aregbesola for sustaining the programme.
“This is a fantastic programme from Gov. Aregbesola; l used to go home during the Ileya and the Christmas periods due to this free train-service.
“What l observe is that the governor should make it more conducive because there is a better train that can be used for the service,“ Olubori said.
Gov. Aregbesola said that facilities had been made available to ensure that the 2015 free train-service was successful.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Oyelami Oyemakinde, a staff of the Osun State Ministry of Commerce, represented the governor at the occasion.
The governor said that the programme was organised for indigenes of Osun to come home and rejoice with their families and friends during the Yuletide festivities.
“We normally come to carry people from Lagos every year when there is a festival, Sallah, Christmas or the New Year.
“Next week, we are coming back to carry people for the New Year so that Osun indigenes can celebrate the period with their loved ones.
“Aregbesola has started and he will not stop, we are here for the free train-ride which he does every year.
“We have security personnel on ground so there won’t be any problem, “ he said.
NAN reports that the train was delayed as a result of high turnout of passengers coming for the free bus, while some passengers were stranded because they came late. (NAN)