“Sales of Agodi Gardens Unreal, A Blatant Lie” – Oyo Gov’t Source; “Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park Already Sold To Their Friend, Let Them Keep Denying The Obvious”, OYSIPA Source.

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There’s growing speculation that two cherished landmarks in Oyo State, Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park, may soon make way for private real estate developments. Concerns have been raised, with fingers pointing towards the administration of Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, alleging that it has given the green light for bulldozers to roll in as early as this Wednesday, aiming to level both Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park.

To better understand the significance of these two legacies and why their potential disappearance has caused public concern, let’s take a closer look at their history.

Agodi Gardens: Established in 1967, Agodi Gardens is a modern botanical garden nestled in Ibadan, close to the heart of the state’s government, the Governor’s Office, and the Government House. Spanning over 150 acres of lush greenery, Agodi Gardens has been a haven for relaxation, attracting adults, children, and couples looking for a brief respite from their daily routines.

A tourist attraction in Ibadan, Agodi Gardens, also known as Agodi Botanical Gardens or Agodi Zoological and Botanical Gardens, suffered significant damage during the infamous Ogunpa Flood Disaster in 1980, where many animals were lost to the raging waters. However, the state government, under the leadership of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, undertook a renovation project in 2012, reopening the gardens in 2014.

Agodi Gardens boasts various amenities, including a water park, a lake, a mini zoo, play areas and rides for children, picnic spots, gardens, and two swimming pools.

Trans Amusement Park: Located within the state capital, Trans Amusement Park, also known as Trans Wonderland, was initiated in 1987 by the late Brigadier General Adetunji Idowu Olurin, a former military governor of the state. Construction, managed by Engineer Babs Okuyemi, commenced in August 1988 with financial support from the late Major General Sasaenia Adedeji Oresanya, Olurin’s successor.

Rides and recreational facilities were added to Trans Amusement Park during the Oresanya regime and have remained operational for about 45 years, providing joy and entertainment to countless visitors.

Both Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park are assets owned by the Oyo State government and have drawn visitors with their captivating scenery and attractions.

However, recent reports suggest that these two beloved landmarks may soon become history, as they are allegedly earmarked for private estate development. The news has sparked widespread public concern, particularly among residents of Ibadan, who maintain that Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park should be preserved.

On a visit to these locations by Newscoven.ng on Sunday evening, Agodi Gardens appeared unchanged, bustling with picnickers and visitors enjoying its scenic beauty. However, the situation at Trans Amusement Park was different. The park seemed deserted at first glance, with many of its recreational facilities appearing outdated.

Nevertheless, closer inspection revealed that most of the facilities installed in 1988 were still in working condition. Video evidence supported this claim, showing the reality on the ground at Trans Amusement Park.

Despite this, there are signs that Trans Amusement Park may face an uncertain future. A bulldozer was spotted within the complex, near the Bodija Market entrance. Trees and bushes surrounding the park’s entrance had been cleared and cut down. Further inside the park, fresh trenches had been dug, uncovering armored cables that some sources believed could be vandalized as part of the speculated demolition.

Another alarming sign was the cancellation of tenancy for occupants of the shopping mall within the park. A letter dated September 8, 2023, and signed by the General Manager on behalf of the Board of Trans Amusement Wonderland Nigeria Plc, the park’s owners, indicated that tenancy for office spaces was terminated due to unpaid rent.
“Our record reveals that your indebtedness is in the sum of N56,666.66 for Year 2023 rent (1 Jan-31 August).

“It will be highly appreciated if your indebtedness is settled and immediate evacuation of your belongings on or before 22 September 2023.”

While there is still no official response to the speculated plan to move in the bulldozers to demolish the two legacies, a source within the government circle have denied such a planned demolition.

A source in the Makinde administration who spoke on condition of anonymity dismissed as unreal and a blatant lie the speculation that the state government plans to sell the two properties.

“I can tell you that the Oyo State government is not the sole owner of Trans Amusement Park. The land on which the property is situated is jointly owned by the old Oyo State and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

“As regards the Agodi Gardens, I can authoritatively tell you that it is blatant lie. There is no plan whatsoever by the Oyo State government to sell the property to private estate developers,” he told Newscoven.ng on Sunday.

However, a source within the Oyo State Investment and Public Private Partnership Agency (OYSIPA) contradicted this claim, asserting that the government is preparing to clear the way for private investors to construct estates on the grounds of Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park.
“Let them keep on denying the obvious truth. The state government has concluded plans to demolish both Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park for their friends in the property and estate investment sector to take over.
“As I am talking with you, evidence abound that these people are already at work to carry out the demolition exercise, even by Wednesday. You can see a caterpillar placed at the entrance at the Bodija Market end of Trans Amusement Park. The caterpillar has already demolished the trees serving as shields against strong wind at that end.
“I can authoritatively tell you that the demolition squad will soon start the demolition of the main Trans Amusement Park. Armoured cables laid underground since over 40 years to supply electricity into the complex are been digged out for possible vandalisation,” the OYSIPA staffer said.
When told that all the recreational facilities on the Trans Amusement Park complex are obsolete and that the place looked desolate, the woman retorted: “It is a total falsehood. It is a decoy; part of the plan to hoodwink the public and make the place look desolate.
“The government deliberately refused to take care of the Trans Amusement Park to justify its plan to sell the place to the private estate developers.
“As I am speaking with you, the traders operating in the shops in the Park have been served quit notice. They have been given up to 22 September to vacate the premises.
“Trans Amusement Park is not moribund in whatever way. I am working here. I can tell you for a fact that this place, even in its present state, generated N50 million as revenue for the state government within the last two years.
“The revenue came in form of ticket sales to people who came and are still coming here to have fun. How can you now say Trans Amusement Park is desolate and the recreational facilities are obsolete? They are just giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is one of their excuses to sell the place.
“The question should be asked: Why is the state government interested in depriving the people access to fun and relaxation, all in a bid to satisfy the selfish desire of some individuals? Why can’t the government renovate the place to attract more visitors and generate more revenue? The interest of the greatest numbers should be paramount to the government.”

As the fate of Agodi Gardens and Trans Amusement Park hangs in the balance, the public anxiously awaits whether bulldozers will indeed arrive to make way for private developments, leaving cherished landmarks in jeopardy. Public concern continues to mount as the uncertainty lingers.

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