By Adebayo Fajinmi
The state government of Osun has detailed the need to sustain the free train service being sponsored during festive periods.
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment in Osun State, Dr. Olabode Olaonipekun explained that the service is essential so as to reduce financial burden on Osun citizens who wish to travel home to celebrate with families and loved ones.
The Commissioner further explained that the State government was also investing in the scheme as part of its efforts to resuscitate the lost glory of the ‘rail transport service’ in line with its economic resolve to ensure seamless transportation of agricultural produce, semi-finished and finished goods to neighbouring states.
Again, the government had last week Friday made available free train service for Easter holidaymakers from Lagos to Osogbo, the state capital in fulfillment of its avowed commitment to champion the citizens’ needs.
Speaking during the return of the train in Osogbo terminus of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Olaonipekun disclosed that the need to continue to invest in the sector was informed by the actualisation of the administration’s resolve to make Osun the commercial hub of the southwest region.
Olaonipekun who said the administration of Governor Oyetola was poised to turn Osun to food-basket of the region, noted that the vision could only be achieved and taken to fruition if the necessity is done to revatilise the moribund sector.
According to him, some of the positive results of the recently convocated Osun Investment and Economic Summit premised on the need for the state to revamp its agriculture sector could only be achieved if the rail sector can be properly resuscitated.
“The essence of this initiative is to further demonstrate commitment to the welfare of the citizens. Like I have said, the welfare of the people is paramount to the present administration.
“This initiative is another effort by the state government to lessen financial burdens which some of the holiday-makers do experience during festive periods. We all know the rate of the expenditure of individuals during festive periods, hence the need for this initiative.
“The foundation of this scheme is functional as the state government has plans to take raw materials and semi-finished products from Osun to Lagos and bring finished products back to Osun.
“But as it is now, the narrative is changing because by the grace of God, finished products and raw materials will go from Osun to other states particularly Lagos rather than the other way round.
“With this vision, Osun will start exporting finished products very soon,” he explained.
The free train service in one of the initiatives Governor Oyetola inherited from his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola.