Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Disappointments At Mile 2 Park As People Travel for Christmas

It is another Christmas again, excitements everywhere as people are expecting the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Tourist areas, beaches, amusement parks, cinemas, all fully decorated and filled with fun, excitement and merriment.

If you say that school children are the people enjoying this celebration much, you might not be mistaken as visits to various cinemas and event centers show that this group is really being carried along in this wonderful celebration.

The Lagos state government is playing its game well as far as this preparation is concerned as a visit by Vanguard Metro to Victoria Island revealed that you can hardly find out that you are still in Lagos with the level of decoration the state government put in place in the major streets even under some bridges and avenues. Banks, fast food, hotels all with decorations just to show that it is all about celebration and it worth's to be celebrated.

Amidst all these preparations, a visit to the Mile 2 park showed that though others are busy with decorations, some are staying back in the state against their wishes as they cannot afford the transport fare to go and visit their loved ones in some other parts of the country.

Emeka Dick could not believe what is happening this season. The driver with one of the major transportat companies in the country, expressed disappointment at the turn up of passengers in the park unlike every other Christmas. The 40 years old father of four Emeka, was loading his bus that was going to Benin and Ekpoma. He said previous Christmas, he is not supposed to be in the park by that time of the day.

He supposed to have left the park but because of the level of hardship in the country, there is no passenger. They are still there scouting for passengers and that did not influence their fares. He said that they still collect their normal fare of N2050 to Ekpoma.

"Just like other Christmas it is just that, things are not the way they used to be before. Because as you can see, there are no much passengers as before. This Christmas is unusual, on a good day, you do not supposed to see any motor here by this time of the day, we are all supposed to be on our way down to our destinations, but you see, we are still here and there are no passengers. We are still running around still, it has not made the fare to increase. The fares are still the way it is because, the passengers are much. If you increase the fare, they will go" he said. He also said that they can only increase the fare if the passengers are much.

Christy, who reluctantly spoke to us, said that she is not happy about the Christmas. She said that there is no money for the celebration. She said she do not reside here in Lagos but just came to visit his brother and go back. Christy said that she is going back because, to her, it is something she supposed to do as she is always very happy celebrating the Christmas with her family. The young lady said that there is nothing much to celebrate. Hear her, "I am travelling because, it is a normal thing for me to travel and celebrate the season with my family. There is no money for the celebration"

Though some in the park were complaining, others were also very happy as they see the season as the only opportunity they have to stay with their family. Chidiebere Dike is one of the persons that sees the season as worth celebrating no matter the financial state as it is what is done once every year. He said the celebration is ok and it is celebrated in the normal way of people coming from wherever they are based to come and celebrate with their family members.

According to Ebere, the season is all about celebrating Christ. So it is for the Christians and as a Christian, it is important you celebrate it because, it is very important. In his words, he said, " Like me now, I have to travel from where I do my business in Ghana to Nigeria to celebrate the season with my family. It makes you feel happy. I see it as a means of re-union with my family members. I do not see it as a normal thing as many people may call it. There are reasons for its celebration".

He emphasized on the reasons for the celebration of Christmas as the birth of Christ which he said should be done by Christians. He said that it is a general celebration not something you can go inside and organize a particular party for yourself.

He continued by saying that the celebration start with going to church and after which, you come home and enjoy with your family members. "You can eat and drink but, do not drink to stupor" he said. I also plan to have a bash with my family and friends.

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