PRESERVING OYO STATE’S GREEN SPACE: A Call to Protect Agodi Garden and the Trans Amusement Parks

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By Hon. Femi Adebisi Jp


Dec. 17th, 2023.


As concerned citizens and advocates for the preservation of Oyo State’s natural and recreational spaces, we are compelled to urgently draw attention to a matter of grave importance. We call upon the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Dr. Seyi Makinde, to carefully reconsider recent developments involving the Ministry of Lands and the potential conversion of vital green areas into housing estates. Specifically, we implore the Governor to halt the allocation of a section of Agodi Garden, a cherished forest reserve with a zoological garden and recreational facilities, for a housing estate project. Additionally, we urge the administration to reconsider the proposed transformation of Trans Amusement Park to a housing estate in a manner Trans Motel was extinct.

Agodi Garden, a foremost forest reserve nestled in the heart of Ibadan, holds immense cultural, environmental, and recreational significance for the people of Oyo State. Its lush greenery, diverse flora and fauna, and family-friendly attractions have long provided respite and enjoyment for residents and visitors alike. The recent proposal to allocate a portion of this treasured space to a housing estate driven by a private investor raises serious concerns about the preservation of our natural heritage and the well-being of our communities.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Lands’ plans to convert the Trans Amusement Park and Trans Motel, also owned by the Oyo State Government, into housing estates is equally troubling. These iconic landmarks have played a central role in providing leisure and entertainment opportunities for generations of Ibadan residents. Neglecting the essence of having as many amusement parks in Ibadan, a city whose size and population rival those of entire countries, is a disservice to the community and future generations.

Agodi Gardens formerly called Agodi Zoological and Botanical Gardens was created in 1967. The garden was destroyed by the Ogunpa flood disaster in 1980 as most of the animals were swept away by the raging water. The garden was renovated in 2012 by the Oyo State Government and was reopened in 2014.

Side attractions in the garden include:

Water park


Mini zoo

Play area and rides for children

Picnic and Gardens area.

On the other hand, the Trans Amusement Park otherwise known as the Trans Wonderland or our own Disney World was initiated in 1987 by the incumbent military Governor at the time: Col. Adetunji Idowu Olurin, while construction of the park began in August 1988, following the financial support from the subsequent Governor, Colonel Sasaenia Adedeji Oresanya. The park opened to the public on November 29, 1989.

Major attractions in the Trans Wonderland covers a total area of 67 acres with the following attractions:

roller coasters, electronic bumper cars, panoramic wheels, Ferris wheels, merry-go-round horses, space stations, flying chain chairs, dragon boats, funky basket circles, and many others.

Today, however, the park is a shadow of its former self because many of these attractions have fallen into disrepair and they are no longer in good working condition due to maintenance issues. Despite this, the park is a popular entertainment venue in Ibadan that has been neglected over the years.

It is imperative to highlight the absurdity of witnessing the emergence of housing estates through private partnership programs (PPP) that the ordinary person cannot afford. The trend of constructing high-end housing developments that remain unoccupied due to unaffordability is an issue that cannot be overlooked. Many of these houses are vacant without occupants, despite being purchased. This raises questions about the true value and sustainability of such projects, especially when they encroach upon invaluable green spaces.

As advocates for the preservation of our natural and recreational heritage, we urge the administration to reconsider the allocation of Agodi Garden, and Trans Amusement Park for housing estate projects. Instead, we implore the government to explore alternative means of leveraging these spaces to benefit the public, foster community engagement, and promote sustainable development. In the same manner, Trans Motel has been extinct and turned into a housing estate leaving Oyo State without its commercial hotel facilities which could minimize the government’s spending on housing important guests. The government house has been rendered unhabitable to our governor and his predecessor who demolished the grandeur banquet hall within the government house for unexplained reasons live in their private residences.

His Excellency needs to be reminded of the importance of the green forest reserve that the Agodi Garden provides.

Having forest reserves and trees in urban centers is essential for various reasons, and their presence significantly impacts human health and well-being. Here are some of the key aspects of their essence and importance:

1. Air Quality: Forest reserves and trees play a crucial role in improving air quality in urban areas. They absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants while releasing oxygen, thus helping to reduce air pollution and mitigate the effects of climate change. Cleaner air contributes to better respiratory health and overall well-being for urban residents.

2. Mental Health: Access to green spaces and natural environments has been linked to improved mental health. Urban forests and greenery provide opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and stress reduction. They offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, promoting mental well-being and reducing the risk of stress-related illnesses.

3. Biodiversity and Wildlife: Forest reserves and trees in urban centers support diverse ecosystems, providing habitats for various plant and animal species. Preserving biodiversity is crucial for maintaining ecological balance and ensuring the long-term health of urban environments.

4. Temperature Regulation: Trees provide shade and help cool the surrounding areas through the process of evapotranspiration. This natural cooling effect can help mitigate the urban heat island effect, where cities experience higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Cooler urban environments contribute to greater comfort and reduced heat-related health issues.

5. Water Management: Trees and forests help manage stormwater runoff by capturing and filtering rainwater. This can reduce the risk of flooding and improve water quality, benefiting both human communities and local ecosystems.

6. Aesthetic and Recreational Value: Urban forests and green spaces enhance the aesthetic appeal of cities, making them more pleasant places to live and visit. Additionally, they provide opportunities for outdoor activities, exercise, and social interaction, promoting physical health and community well-being.

Forest reserves and trees in urban centers are essential for human health and good living due to their contributions to air quality, mental health, biodiversity, temperature regulation, water management, and overall quality of life. As urbanization continues, preserving and expanding green spaces within cities becomes increasingly important for the well-being of urban populations.

The absence of forests and trees in urban areas can lead to a range of negative consequences, impacting both the environment and the well-being of city residents. Some of the dangers of not having a sufficient presence of forests and trees in urban settings include:

1. Air Pollution: Without trees to absorb pollutants and carbon dioxide, urban areas can experience higher levels of air pollution. This can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and other health issues among residents.

2. Urban Heat Island Effect: The lack of trees and vegetation can contribute to the urban heat island effect, where cities experience higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. This can lead to discomfort, heat-related illnesses, increased energy consumption for air conditioning, and higher levels of air pollution.

3. Reduced Biodiversity: Urban areas with limited green spaces may experience a loss of biodiversity, as habitats for various plant and animal species are diminished. This can disrupt local ecosystems and reduce overall ecological resilience.

4. Increased Flooding and Soil Erosion: Trees and vegetation play a critical role in managing stormwater runoff, reducing the risk of flooding and soil erosion. Without sufficient green infrastructure, urban areas may be more susceptible to these hazards during heavy rainfall events.

5. Mental Health Impacts: The absence of natural green spaces can contribute to higher stress levels, reduced mental well-being, and a lack of opportunities for relaxation and recreation. This can negatively affect the overall quality of life for urban residents.

6. Aesthetic and Recreational Deficits: Without trees and greenery, urban areas may lack aesthetic appeal and recreational opportunities, potentially leading to a decrease in the overall desirability of the city as a place to live and visit.

The dangers of not having a forest and trees in the city encompass a range of environmental and public health issues, including increased air pollution, urban heat island effects, reduced biodiversity, heightened flood and erosion risks, negative impacts on mental well-being, and a lack of aesthetic and recreational amenities. Addressing these dangers through the preservation and expansion of urban green spaces is crucial for creating healthier, more sustainable, and more livable cities.

In conclusion, I appeal to Engr. Dr. Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, upholds the legacy of Oyo State’s natural and recreational spaces by halting the conversion of these cherished areas into housing estates.

By safeguarding Agodi Garden, Trans Amusement Park, and Trans Motel, we can ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the numerous benefits of green spaces and recreational facilities.

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