How much has Ibadan Oyo state Capital changed? IS this Ibadan? The same Ibadan I left 20 years ago? This is actually unbelievable! I never knew Ibadan can be this beautiful,” said one of the men sitting behind the driver, as the bus passed under the Iwo Road Bridge enroute Gate. “You have not seen anything now. This government has really tried in the area of beautification of Ibadan and in terms of cleanliness,” a woman answered from the back seat. But before she could continue, another woman interrupted her, saying: “Which tried? The government that has been destroying people’s means of livelihood because it wants to beautify the environment? Are we going to eat flowers?”
The passengers of the Toyota Hiace bus plying the Osogbo-Ibadan road had turned themselves into parliamentarians on the performance of the incumbent state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on the environment. The discussion started when a man, who later identified himself as Chief Mark Chukwu, a retired civil servant who said he lived 25 years of his life in Ibadan before relocating to the East, expressed awe at what he termed the transformation of Iwo Road and some other parts of the city, but before he completed his line of thought, a potpourri of views had begun to fly around.
His opinion was anathema to some passengers, with one of them brazenly noting that the beautification effort was meaningless, because according to her “the government has been destroying the people’s means of livelihood in the name of beautification.” “Are we going to eat flowers,” she rhetorically asked.
Such arguments are commonplace in Ibadan. Residents, in cluster groups at newspaper joints, inside commercial vehicles or in other places, weigh in on the discourse about Ajimobi government’s activities in the area of beautification, while some take a swipe at the government; others were always quick to point out the positive side. But the company handling the beautification projects in the city, Ershaw Nigeria Limited, through its head, Olumide Eso, revealed that the beautification efforts should only be seen in the positive light. He said: “Our brief was to give Ibadan a new look, a better and greener environment with an ambience that depicts modernity and yet does not lose touch with culture. The Oyo State government demonstrated its commitment to transforming the state and we hit the ground running. The results of that beautification effort are there for the people to see; it is in the fresh and green roadsides; beautiful embankments and roundabouts as well as green and refreshing parks springing up around the city.” SEE MORE ON PAGE 2