YULETIDE: a season of hope, peace and
joyful celebration of the birth of Jesus
Christ all over the world is again around
the corner.The season and reason for the
celebration means different things to
different people. To most of the Christian
faithfuls around the globe, the central
theme of this joyous occasion finds a place
in the fulfillment of the word of God as
vividly captured in Isaiah 9:6 “ For unto
us a child is born, unto us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his
shoulder. And His name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father; Prince of Peace.” In
another biblical stead, Jeremiah 33:14-16
declared,“behold, the days come, saith the
Lord, that I will perform that good thing
which I have promised unto the house of
Israel and to the house of Judah. In those
days, and at that time, will I cause the
Branch of righteousness to grow up unto
David; and he shall execute judgment
and righteousness in the land. In those
days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem
shall dwell safely: and this is the name
wherewith she shall be called, The Lord
our righteousness.”
Others view it as a time for annual
celebration of friends and family reunion,
of individuals and communal feasts. Less
than one week to Christmas, the world
and Nigeria are looking forward to this
annual Christian event. Many are billed
to journey home to reunite with families,
friends and well-wishers. In Nigeria,
apart from elaborately celebrating its
significance in the birth of the saviour of
the world, the season is often characterised
by huge vehicular movement of people,
goods and services within the length and
breadth of the nation.
However, the joy of the festive period
is more often than not short-lived
owing to some prevailing human and
environmental circumstances. Therefore,
before you embark on that journey to the
waiting warm embrace of your family far
away home this Christmas season, it will
not be out of place to put the following
factors into utmost consideration. Think
safety first! A journey is considered safe
only when passengers arrive safely to
their various destinations. Nothing kills
on Nigerian roads like over-speeding. The
stipulated 80km/ph for passenger buses
are flagrantly abused while 100km/ph
for private vehicles are contemptuously
ignored to the detriment of the passengers
and the society. The law guiding speed
limits should be strictly adhered to
especially this season by road users while
seat belts must always be put on when
driving.
The rate of road accidents recorded
within the supposed joyous period is
very alarming. The Federal Road Safety
Commission, FRSC said; “120 persons
were killed in road accidents between 19 – 28, December, 2014. This happened just
within an interval of ten days. Interestingly,
the figure translates to 42% reduction when
compared to 2013 figure of 208 within the
same period.” The Commission should
be commended for the successes achieved
through conscentising the road users on the
dangers of road accidents and for bringing
high level of sanity to our roads. Although
the casualty figure has drastically reduced,
more needs to be done to save human lives
from road carnages.
Most road users including drivers should
be abreast of traffic rules. Therefore, before
a driver inserts the key into the ignition of
that vehicle, he must be at home with the
enabling traffic laws guiding his driving
conduct. The literates who can read and
interpret road signs should be allowed to
acquire drivers licence before plying our
roads. It has been established that most
road accidents are caused by impatience of
the drivers and other road users. Garments
of patience are recommended apparels for
everyone when using the road. The reality
of the existence of objects, stray animals and
the surprises they could spring are critical
elements which deserve the patience of road
users this season of celebration.
Be aware of the fact that with the exception
of you, every other driver on the road
is deemed as insane. Therefore, drivers
should be extremely cautious and possess
defensive driving skills. American National
Standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle
Operation defines defensive driving skills
as “driving to save lives, time, and money,
in spite of the conditions around you and
the actions of others.” It is a form of training
for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond
mastery of the rules of the road and the basic
mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the
risk of collision by anticipating dangerous
situations, despite adverse conditions or
the mistakes of others. This can be achieved
through adherence to a variety of general
guidelines, such as following the assured
clear distance ahead and two second rules,
as well as the practice of specific driving
techniques.”
Many drivers and transport operators
desire to make much during Christmas.
They embark on as many trips as possible
and based on that throw caution to the wind
while driving. In the final analysis, the
unfortunate aftermath of impatience which
would have taken may be five seconds
of restraint often leads to untimely death,
hospitalisation of casualties, hospital bill,
trauma, litigation and takes more than one
month to finally address. When was the
last time you serviced that car you intend
to travel home with? The state of private
or public vehicles on our roads deserves
adequate care for them to give optimal
performance. Evidences of old and rickety
vehicles which have no business plying our
roads are common sights to behold. One
wonders what a moving caskets they all
really are.
There is always a noticeable attitude or
tendency of primitive accumulation of more
wealth for the season. The society witnesses
increase in the nefarious activities of armed
robbers and ritualists who are on the prowl
to making evil money to prove that they
have arrived. Moreover, unnecessary hike in
the cost of goods and services unfortunately
characterises the celebration of the birth
of Christ. We have come to terms with the
culture and make desperate effort to shop
one or two weeks before the celebration
because of the above anticipated upsurge in
costs of goods and services. Christmas is a
season of joy and Jesus Christ is the reason
for the celebration. The above narratives
demean the significances of the occasion.
If one must drink and drive, it must be
cold natural water. The state of mind of the
driver goes a long way in shaping the fate
of every journey. How healthy and mentally
alert is the man behind the wheels? Some
sick and tired drivers had depended on
alcohol or other stimulants to stay alert while
driving. The habit has led to unimaginable
disaster and road carnages of monumental
proportion. Nigerian roads are terribly in
bad shape. This situation has negatively
affected the condition of vehicles and made
journeys regrettably cumbersome. Cautious
meandering through these dilapidated roads
has become the way out for commuters.
Safety on roads should be the catch phrase as
Nigerians prepare for this Yuletide season.
And His name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father;
Prince of Peace.Christ is the reason for the
season!
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and
Communications Specialist wrote via
[email protected] and can be
reached on 08060901201.


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