• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Baywood Estate: Much ado about nothing

Baywood Estate: Much ado about nothing

Instead of waiting for justifications from Governor Seyi Makinde’s “media almajiris” to solidify my stance on the conversion of the Ogunpa Dam Forest Reserve, I hoped for a robust and informed discussion on the matter. Unfortunately, the reactions I’ve encountered, such as the recent piece in circulation, haven’t lived up to expectations.

It’s disappointing to see the argument that the Forest Reserve has become a mere “criminal hideout” repeatedly used by supporters of the conversion. This not only fails to address the environmental and ecological concerns but also seemingly implies shortcomings in the administration’s overall security efforts, which should be a primary focus for any government.

It’s worth noting that the Amotekun Corps has an outpost close to the reserve. If they haven’t effectively secured their immediate surroundings, it raises questions about their capabilities and resource allocation.

Perhaps instead of simply labelling the area a “hideout,” a more productive approach would be to acknowledge the security concerns, analyse their root causes, and develop a comprehensive strategy to address them. This could involve increased patrols, community engagement, and infrastructure improvements within the reserve and surrounding areas.

By focusing on solutions and fostering open dialogue, we can move beyond unproductive rhetoric and work towards a future where both development needs and environmental protection are considered.

Admitting, on behalf of the State government that the Forest Reserve which should even start as a point of tourism has become a criminal hideout is self-indictment. If Nigeria were to be a working country, the larger population of people in Oyo State would have commenced to call for the relief of Seyi Makinde as Governor of the State because he has admitted to being a failure.

The writer also claimed, as a follow-up to the declaration of the Governor (as said by him (the writer) that remains of human beings were seen in that forest. Shouldn’t we then ask what came out of a forensic investigation that was conducted? Or, was the issue buried? Should that not have called for the sack and questioning of the sector commander of Amotekun in that axis? Has any arrest been made?

Governor Seyi Makinde and his acolytes should desist from insulting our collective intelligence as a people. In fact, it is more dignified to confront the creatures of hell than exist in a fool’s paradise. But, this reaction is critical in order to ensure that the yahoo-yahoo writer is not successful at bending the argument where it was never intended.

Unlike our progress, neither the Governor nor those defending the conversion have offered concrete arguments for turning the Forest Reserve into a housing estate. If insecurity is their justification for felling the trees there, then it’s safe to say Seyi Makinde and his advisors are out of ideas. It’s truly disastrous.

Our arguments extend far beyond “climate change,” which Governor Makinde and his followers seem to dismiss. It’s crucial that Governor Makinde understand the Forest Reserve also serves as a watershed, protecting the catchment area of Ogunpa Dam (a conservation area). I hope Seyi Makinde and his online supporters will use search engines to learn more about this vital function.

The consequences of destroying this forest will be evident with the first few rains. The soil, previously porous, will become waterlogged. Stream beds will rise, and water will overflow, as there will be no tree roots to absorb the runoff.

I am convinced that Governor Seyi Makinde is not even aware that the Forest is sitting on a subterranean rock, nor is he informed of the disastrous siltation it could cause, similar to the current predicament Alesinloye market faces due to the silting of Alalubosa lake. However, that pales in comparison to the potential catastrophe this rock poses.

Ignoring personal gains, the Governor is essentially opening Ibadan up to an even greater flood risk than we witnessed in 1980, after the construction of the Cultural Centre. That event wiped out all the animals in Agodi Botanical and Zoological Garden and claimed 363 lives. The potential flooding could reach from Agodi to Dandaru, Mokola, Inalende, Oniyanrin, Ogunpa Market, Okepadi, Coca-Cola, Ajibade Road, and Old Bodija. It would be truly disastrous.


Kazeem Olalekan Israel Ìbàdàn, Nigeria.