About two weeks ago, the Lagos state butchers association declared Friday September 12 as a day to refrain from sales of fresh meat and meat products in honour of late former treasurer of the association, Alhaji Chief Abdul-Raimi Balogun.
Balogun, a founding member of the association who was treasurer from 1995 to 2004 and passed away on June 7, 2014, is to be celebrated at Oshodi/Isolo local government where his son, Honourable Afeez Ipesa-Balogun, was chairman for eight years (1999-2007).
“He was a strong pillar of butchers association; he performed so well as ttreasurer of the association,” Babatunde Iskilu Akinola, chairman of Young Butchers Association, Mushin unit, told TheCable.
“He was a great man; we love him, but God loves him more.”
Akinola revealed that the association had been informing the public about its no-work decision for about two weeks prior the date set.
“We have been announcing this for about two weeks, hence the people are aware,” he said.
“For those who have customers that may include food vendors, we sold meat that would be sufficient for the time while the work-free day would hold. They can decide to fry it and preserve it for the time needed.”
Anyone who goes against the declaration, he stressed, is an enemy, and would be punished by the state office if apprehended.
“According to the state constitution, we met and decided at the state office on September 10 that anywhere fresh meat is found tomorrow, the chairman of that market would face the consequence. The penalty would be decided by the state office,” he said.
Yes, the decision to honour the butchers’ hero is a good one, as he was described by many as a great man. But the result is simple: no meat on Friday for the whole of Lagos – literally so.
But has anyone ever imagined waking up to a day without water or one without premium motor spirit (petrol) and kerosene because a prominent member of the association has passed on?
We have experienced times in the past when markets would be closed in the name of celebrating the life of the husband to the elder sister’s brother of a ‘great Iyaloja’.
What would happen someday in Lagos, a city of over 18 million people, if the association of drivers decided to ‘celebrate’ the 50th birthday of one of its own, and declared a work-free day? A day without public means of transportation!
What would be the state of Lagos and of the nation at large, if all hospitals had celebrated the passing of one of their own and declared July 20 a work-free day?
Perhaps Patrick Sawyer would have travelled to Ibadan via public transport (since all Lagos hospitals were in celebration mood) and headed straight for the University College Hospital (UCH).
Our index case would have infected a number beyond what we have on our hands today; and the celebration of one life would probably have led to the mourning of many others.
Perhaps the time has come for lawmakers to start weighing legislations to curb indiscriminate declaration of work-free days by providers of services that directly impact day-to-day living of the people.
May the soul of the deceased rest in peace.