By Hammed Tajudeen
In tandem with the critical need to protect the environment, combat the vagaries of climate change and compliment the aesthetics of its capital, Osogbo, Osun State government under the stewardship of former Osun Governor who is now Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in 2013, embarked on a project, called “IGI IYE,”.
One will imagine where the phrase “IGI IYE” came from, although it is a very popular phrase to residents of Osun as the name given to tress planted at the roadsides by Osun State led administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as party of his determination to advance development of the state.
Research has shown that planting trees at the roadsides will slow, absorb, and clean water that runs off the highway, resulting in reduced soil erosion, flood control and cleaner water supplies.
However, report from the government was that the IGI IYE when it successfully grown will serve many purposes with the primary aim of beautifying roadsides, create a friendly and serener environment.
Many questioned and criticized the government then over the IGI IYE project, some said it a waste of resources, while others who understood its importance insisted it is was misplacement of priority with the assertion that it will not bring food on the table of the people of a state like Osun which survives on merger allocation and internally generated revenue (IGR)
According to the then Osun Commissioner for Regional Integration, Mr Bola Ilori in his reply to critics of IGI IYE “The ones planted by the government on the medians and roadsides, which have withered, or burnt, he asserted that government could not have burnt it. Let me tell you that the director that even coordinated it has died. So, if human beings can die, what stops trees from dying?
“Ours is to plant it, just like is the duty of a parent to give birth to a child. That the child would die or survive is the act of God. Since trees are living organisms, you can’t stop them from dying.”
Today, eight years after IGI was launched. In the state capital, Osogbo, it is not only serving as beautification for the road but also functioning as shelter for commuters during the day against hash weather.
The amazing look of the tall and beautiful trees at the Ikire-Gbongan way to Osogbo speaks in volume of a state that was in the past cry for urgent development.
It will be a joy to see IGI IYE being given maximum attention by Governor Gboyega Oyetola led administration as some of these trees are now growing bigger. This legacy must be sustained with more advancement.