Again, Osun offers free train ride for Christmas, New Year.

To lessen the financial burden of transportation during the yuletide, the Osun State Government has offered to provide free Christmas and New Year train services for its citizens? who would want to return home to celebrate with their relatives.


The Osun government is extending the welfare gesture to residents despite financial hardship faced by different governments of the federation.


According to government, the free train ride is in line with the Rauf Aregbesola administration’s tradition of facilitating convenient movement of its citizen in and out of the state during festive seasons.


A statement from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Co-operatives and Empowerment enjoined indigenes of Osun to maximise the opportunity of the free train ride during the festive period.


According to the statement, “The train would, by 11.00 a.m. on Saturday the 24th of December 2016, convey people from Lagos to Osogbo. The return journey to Lagos from Osogbo will be Tuesday the 27th of December by 11 a.m.


“The train will also resume the services of conveying people from Lagos to Osogbo for the New year celebration by 11 a.m. Saturday December 31st 2016 and by same 11 a.m. Monday 2nd of January 2017 return to Lagos from Osogbo,” the statement read.

Muslim groups demand holiday for Islamic new year

Some Islamic groups have called on the Federal and state governments in Nigeria to declare Muharram 1, the first day of the Islamic Hijrah Calendar 1438 A.H, a public holiday.

The groups, in separate Hijrah 1438 A.H messages, said such a declaration would be in line with the principle of fairness and justice to Muslims in Nigeria.

The demand came from Muslim Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA) and Muslim Community of Oyo state (MUSCOYS).

Others include National Council of Muslim Youths Organisations (NACOMYO), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN).

MMPN in its statement signed by its President, Abdurrahman Balogun, urged the Federal Government to give recognition to Muslim New Year in the interest of fairness.

Balogun said that declaring Muharram 1, a public holiday would give Muslims a sense of belonging.

In the same vein, UNIFEMGA in its message signed by Abdulwaheed Odeyimka , its National President, called on the government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar.

It congratulated Muslims and non-Muslims alike for witnessing another new Islamic year and urged them to reflect on their deeds and activities during the past year.

In his own message, the Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State, Alhaji Ishaq Sanni said the declaration and recognition of Hijrah was long overdue and called for its immediate implementation. He called on the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to enter into dialogue with the Nigerian Government on the issue.

Sanni equally called for a stringent legislation against rapist in the country, saying it was getting too rampant because the culprits always get away with it.

Fire Razes Dubai Skyscraper Hotel, Site Of 2016 New Year Celebrations

A huge fire ripped through a luxury Dubai hotel Thursday night as people gathered to watch New Year’s Eve celebrations, injuring at least 16 people, authorities said.

Dubai’s government media office tweeted that a “fire has been reported in the Address Downtown hotel. Authorities are currently on-site to address the incident swiftly and safely”.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

The 63-storey building, which is close to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, was engulfed in flames across several floors as sirens wailed and helicopters hovered overhead, witnesses said.

Dubai’s police chief said all the hotel’s residents had been evacuated from the scene of the blaze, which had still not been extinguished some two hours after it broke out.

“All the residents are out,” General Khamis Matar al-Mzeima said.

“Until the fire is put out, we will not have information on what caused it,” he added.

“At least 14 people have been slightly injured, along with one medium injury, and a heart attack case registered due to people pushing” amid the smoke, the media office tweeted.

Witness Raphael Slama told AFP the fire started at around 9:30 pm (1730 GMT) and rapidly spread upwards across dozens of floors.

The government tweeted that the fire erupted on the 20th floor and affected only the outer facade of the building.

“Four firefighting teams have been deployed” to fight the blaze, it added.

Authorities said earlier Thursday that they had deployed thousands of security personnel to ensure visitors and residents could enjoy the New Year’s festivities safely.

Credit: Vanguard

Abuja Airport Records Low Patronage Of Clients During New Year Celebration

The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, recorded low movement of passengers as the world prepares to celebrate the New Year on Friday, in Abuja, on Thursday.

Mr Tony Ameh, Manager, Aero Contractors, said observed that both the departure and the arrival sections of both domestic and international wings of the airport were deserted unlike Dec. 24, when there was heavy traffic. that the rush associated with festive period was minimal, adding that the airline had recorded less number of passengers as against the previous years.

Ameh disclosed that the airline had more passengers during the Christmas period, adding that the airline had only five flights today compared to the 11 flights it operated during Christmas,also there was no fare hike during the season, explaining that the difference in ticket price was as a result of online booking and on the counter booking.

According to him, aside the fact that the economy is not too good at the moment, a lot of people that travelled to different parts of the country for Christmas are yet to return.

We have lesser number of passengers this year compared to last year’s and the previous years, and I believe it is due to the present economic situation in the country.

Like today, there is no fare hike unlike during Christmas when there was high demand for seats because if you are buying ticket over the counter you tend to pay more.

But when you buy your ticket online with some days’ interval, you enjoy cheaper fare but as you are approaching the flight, the fare goes up,’’ he said. However, optimism for a better and violence free Nigeria devoid of terrorism as much as better economic improvement in 2016.
I wish our esteem customers safe flights in 2016 as they continue to fly with us and I want to remind them that air is the most secured mode of transportation.

“We promise our customers better services, affordable fares, on-time departure and improved service delivery as we pray that God continues to guide us to maintain good safety records,’’ he said.

Credit: Dailytimes

New Year: APC Promises Better Life For Nigerians

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Thursday, assured Nigerians that 2016 would be a better year for Nigerians.


This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the party’s Assistant ?Director (Publicity), Mr Edegbe Odemwingie.


The statement said although 2015 was difficult, 2016 would see the fulfillment of all campaign promises by the APC.


The statement said: ”I want to, on behalf of our great party, the APC, wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

”While 2015 was difficult for many Nigerians, we must also look back, with relief and a collective sense of jubilation, to the momentous opportunity it offered to the electorate to make the long-desired change.

”And we must sustain the hope that brighter days are ahead of us. Although our challenges are legion, we have the courage and determination to rise up and meet them.

”I want to give a firm assurance that all the promises made by the party in respect of the 2015 election to Nigerians will be kept.

”The New Year holds great dividends for Nigerians when the policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration are enforced in the 2016 financial year.”



The Chairman said the N6.08 trillion ‘Budget of Change’ presented by the President would ensure a lot of promises to the people were met including paying stipends to the unemployed.


?He lauded the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), saying all government revenue inflows and disbursements could be effectively monitored and also plug revenue leakages.


”In line with the party’s promise to restructure the country’s oil and gas sector, which has been marred by corruption and inefficiencies, government has set in motion a mechanism to unbundle the NNPC to enhance more productivity,transparency and accountability.


”President Buhari’s administration inherited a corruption-tainted subsidy regime run by corrupt cartels.


”Oil cartels and their cronies resisting change have continued to blackmail and sabotage government’s effort on the issue of subsidy and availability of petroleum products.


”To this end, the presidential directive to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components should be supported.


”A review of PPPRA’s pricing template will? result in a more efficient and realistic pricing system for petroleum products and also result in constant availability of fuel nationwide.”



The statement lauded the government’s war against insurgency saying the improved welfare had increased the morale of the nation’s troops in combat areas.


”The international community is co-operating with the military offensive, including sharing of intelligence information, to end insurgency in Nigeria, as part of the efforts to combat global terrorism.


”In spite of desperate and shameless attempts to discredit President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts, the war against graft is being won.


”It is reassuring that the Federal Government has recovered huge sums from looters of our common wealth, which will be injected into the 2016 National Budget.”


The statement said electricity supply had improved in most parts of the country.

It said ?job creation and social inclusion were critical to the administration’s development programmes; hence Buhari had promised that 500,000 new teachers would be recruited among other job creation initiatives.



The statement appealed to all party members to play by the rules at the different levels where election re-runs are being conducted or where fresh elections will be held in the coming year.

Also, it urged members to shun violence while it welcomed members from opposition parties who were genuinely inspired by the APC-led administration.


”Looking back at the last seven months, there are clear indicators showing that the APC and the President Buhari administration is on the right track to delivering on its Change Agenda,” it said.?




Buhari To Reward Athletes In The New Year

President Muhammadu Buhari has set a machinery in place to reward athletes and footballers who excelled in various sporting endeavours accordingly in the New Year.  The Minister of Youth and Sports Barr. Solomon Selcap Dalung gave the hint in Abuja Tuesday.

The Minister said efforts were being made to ensure that all athletes who excelled in various Sports disciplines from 1985 when the players won the FIFA U-17 World Cup till date.

“Reward for excellence is part of this government’s agenda especially for youths in Nigeria.  So we are working hard to offset the backlog of recognition for hard work by our athletes.  We are looking at January so that we start the New Year on a clean slate” Barr. Dalung said.

Credit: Vanguard

Kanye Overhauls Kim Wardrobe for 2015

Expect Kim Kardashian to dress differently this year than she did in 2014. The reality TV star has overhauled her wardrobe with the help of her husband, Kanye West.

“Up all night redoing my whole wardrobe with Kanye…” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m so ready for new looks for the New Year! New 2015 vision.”

Kardashian, 34, explained about a year ago that motherhood had inspired her to “dress a little lighter color-wise,” but fans of her show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” know that West, 37, is perhaps her biggest fashion influence.

In fact, this isn’t the first time he’s taken control of her clothes. A few years ago, he did the exact same thing, even bringing in his stylist to help her change her look.

“Kanye’s definitely inspired me to want to be a little bit more of an individual,” she said. “I think my style’s just evolving and changing, and I think it should.”



#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD: Of New Year Goals and Resolutions by @Lanre_Olagunju

Thanks for reading this column ever since it started on this blog in May 2012. I also want to specially congratulate all my ardent followers and readers for making it into the New Year. You honestly should find some time to expressly ventilate an heartfelt thank-you to your guardian angel for a job well done. Most essentially when you consider that as a nation, 2012 was such a long year with several collections of disasters, gruesome killings and drama.

You might not necessarily be at a vantage point to dictate all the happenings of 2013, but to a great extent, you personally can still tell 2013 that which you want it to do and the role it should play in this chapter of the unconscious biography of yourself that you’re writing. Moreover, 2013 is still a very obedient child.

It’s actually a lot safer to pilot one’s life with clearly written goals than to depend on any autopilot of any sort. It becomes easier to persevere, remain focus and be persistent when goals are set and clearly written. Nothing boosts the self-confidence of a person striving to achieve a dream than the clearly written goals which clearly shows the end from the beginning. Goals help in mapping out sharp and intelligent problem solving strategies. Research conducted by sport psychologist reveals that world’s best athletes have concise and simple daily targets. They brilliantly understand how their daily targets connect with their long term goals.

I suggest that instead of a resolution which majorly focuses on things you actually struggled with in previous years, in 2013, do goals. Without any iota of doubt, you’d agree that many resolutions don’t live beyond the few days of the first month. And the adverse effect of this is that it makes you look incapacitated too early in the year, losing your self-confidence and self-esteem over your inability to stay true to them.

So why focus on what you don’t want to do when life has given you a plane slate where you can essentially write the things you want to see yourself do and achieve. In fact, research says that only 8 percent of those who actually make New Year resolutions truly keep them. I like the way the author of The Word For Today daily devotional puts it. “The key to breaking stubborn habits is not fighting them in your own strength. That only keeps your focus on the problem, intensifying its power. Changing your focus and submitting to God moment by moment is the key to winning, whether it’s a problem or a hang-up’”

It’s not just okay to come up with goals for the entire year in your head. As a matter of fact, it’s as good as a waste of time, definitely because they won’t live beyond the first few weeks of the year at best. When goals are written, they become so real, easy to interpret and easy to follow through. The case study of the three percent Harvard alumni who wrote down their goals at graduation, and thereafter thirty years, made more money than the 97 percent who did not; divulges that successful people write down their goals. No wonder the bible said “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it.”

It’s also important that you remain flexible as you go despite your goals. This is important because things do not always go according to plan, circumstances beyond your control might crop up, giving way to the unexpected. At such times, flexibility will help in re-adjusting your goals to suit into the unforeseen situation. In the same light, life would throw opportunities you never planned at you, by being flexible, you’d be able to respond and make the best use of them.

Do have my best wishes in 2013!

I am @Lanre_Olagunju

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD runs on every Saturday.