L-r: Prof. Adebola Kukoyi, wife of the celebrant, Mrs. Opeyemi Adekoya, celebrant, Mr. Olusola Adekoya aka Shodex, and Dr. Olajide Ladipo at the event

Mary Ekah

When many of his chums would have rolled out the drums to celebrate their birthdays with fanfare and pageantry, visionary landscaper and environmentalist, Mr. Olusola Adekoya, chairman, chief executive officer, Shodex Gardens and Shodex Beautification Landmark Limited, Lagos, chose to commemorate his 56th birthday in a unique way by celebrating the environment.

He dedicated Wednesday, Thursday and Friday March 20, 21 and 22, 2018 to cleaning the streets of Lagos with his staff and family members, hosted children from various schools in Lagos to botanical education, and gathered landscapers, environmentalists, climate change experts to a full day colloquium on greenery, climate change, arts and life at his Shodex Gardens located at the ample space beside Anthony Bridge, Lagos.

The colloquium, themed ‘Greening: A Major Solution to Climate Change’, was attended by students from secondary and tertiary institutions from Lagos and Ogun states; staff of the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), members of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigeria Society for Environmental Conservation.

Keynote address was delivered by Dr. David Olajide Oladipo, a forest biologist, abori-culturist and a foremost environmentalist and a natural resources development expert; while Professor Adebola Ade Kukoyi, an environmentalist was the chairman of the occasion. Other special guests include the General Manager of LASPARK, Mrs. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, represented; Mr. Tokunbo Sogade, Secretary to the Lagos State Association of Landscaper; Elder Moses Adelowokan, former President, Nigerian Institute of Landscape Horticulturists, among others.

In his address, Ladipo commended the celebrant for choosing what he described as “a topical issue that is negatively and positively affecting humanity globally. Green environment is still the best solution to the adverse effect of the climatic change within the ozone layer. I commend my brother Sola Adekoya whom we all call Shodex for appreciating the challenges being faced in Nigeria and across the world over the climate change and other environmental problems.”

The celebrant, Adekoya, while thanking all the guests at the occasion, called on Nigerians to take special interest in their environment. “You are as good as your environment. We must care for our environment in terms of cleanliness, purification of the oxygen we take in. I have spent the last 30 years of my life protecting nature and creating a green environment. I challenged all of you to start a revolution in the green environment as there is more to be done.”

Shodex Beautification Landmark Limited has for a very long time been transforming our decayed and filthy environment through landscaping and beautification of self-sponsored projects, corporate and government projects. All aimed at making the environment cleaner, safer and quality enough for human survival. It has for over a decade offered a veritable platform for the promotion of green life education.

As a visionary landscaper and revolutionist, he singlehandedly without any self-imposed skepticism in his capability, transformed a loop, hitherto used as hide outs by hoodlums, social miscreants and hemp smokers, into a very beautiful garden that is now a toast of all. To many people resident around that area, this was an impossible task but to Adekoya, an incurable optimist, it never occurred to him as such as he constantly dreams of possibilities. Shodex Gardens, located under the Anthony Bridge has for over a decade now, occupied a pride of place in Lagos as a reputable park and tourist centre.

As an ardent believer in the protection of nature and a global warming education crusader, he floated a non- governmental organisation in the name of ‘Nature Protection and Environmental Improvement Initiative (NAPEIIN) with the vision and mission to contribute to the creation of a world of peace and beauty, where man is in harmony with nature through sustainable activities and to campaign, raise awareness, build capacity, mobilise people and work in conjunction with governments and other stakeholders linking grassroots, national and global aspirations respectively.

With his immense passion for the environment, he chose to celebrate his 56th birthday with what he loves the most, “the environment”, for three days.

Educationally, Shodex Beautification Landmark Limited has for over a decade offered a veritable platform for the promotion of green life education. It made available an exquisite garden with arrays of unique facilities to educate our youth population in nursery, primary, secondary school. Students of tertiary institutions studying botany, agriculture and other related curses no longer have problems in finding a suitable organisation to do their compulsory industrial training, something that was a great challenge in the time past. Members of the national youth service corps had benefited on numerous occasions from the unique facilities offered by Shodex Beautification Landmark Limited for executing all kind of programmes in their service year.

Expectedly, these various feats have made Adekoya a credible recipient of many laurels and awards from distinguished Nigerian bodies which include ‘a merit award’ by the National Association of Botany Students (NABOS UNILAG Chapter); ’Award of Excellence’ by Horticultural Students Society (HORTSSO) University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB); ‘Environment Champion’ by the Nigerian Arts Group. Shodex has been awarded 10 times consecutively as the most supportive Horticulturist in Greenery by the Lagos State Government.