– The Sun News

Time-out with the Boatman

Getting out and about town is one business that will remain focal and important until the world possibly comes to an end. However, the truth about getting out and about town is that one needs to be skillful in getting necessary information on moving round and about town, which most people would dub recreation that stands the business of tourism in good stead.
So you then ask or possibly wish to know how this business of recreation evolve and involve? Today’s piece is about tourism journalists or if you wish, the writers who devout ample time to feed us with recreation information necessary and worth our outdoor experience. Another key narrative is about the consistency of one major recreation operator and influencer, Mr. Tarzan Ganiyu Balogun.
While I belong to the community of tourism writers in Nigeria, one unbelievable scenario is the difficulty in separating the business of writing or information dissemination on where and what are available on our tourism plane to the quest to have adequate rest, same scenario do which consistently play out in the life of other stakeholders whom I chose without their consent to address as recreation care givers.
Indeed, the business of tourism is a tough one, ever dynamic, unpredictable as the wind but the most telling enabler unity among mankind and a very troubled world. Last weekend, the Nigerian tourism writers’ community left all behind and took a strategic tour of waterways in Lagos with the boatman, Tarzan Ganiyu as chief host.
To friends of this humble Egbaman and lover of water-based tourism in Nigeria, playing host and spoiling those on his watch is an enduring signature, which has become the face of his operations and relationship with anyone who crosses his path. Over the years, the Boatman has deliberately instituted a recreational platform where he showcases the experience acquired in the field of tourism to appreciate the Nigerian tourism media and last week’s outing possibly was an exception in content and duration.
There is no doubt that 2017 was a difficult year for reporting the sector so gifted but with the worst federal and state institutional drivers so bent on giving tourism a bad name, which the tourism media could not ignore and so took a position. It is not out of place that many tourism journalists were depressed yet they kept strong and encouraged by the pivotal role of tourism operators such as the Boatman who against all odds stood to reaffirm that tourism holds the future for Nigeria’s economy revival.
At the planning of this outing, the boatman and I had agreed that the boys must be made to reconnect with facts on recreation not through speeches but practical exposure to the various gains offered by this business to which there has been mountain of sweet talks without action. Let me report that the boatman kept changing the agreed plans for this outing, making it richer and richer even till the very end.
For instance, we decided on two hours’ cruise and it was changed to a blistering time-out and boat race to Badore, Ikorodu and Festac. It was a splash of water recreation on 24-seater Pro-craft 500 horse power enabled water bus with choice offerings so refreshing and will remain ever green. Certainly am not new to the water culture and can navigate through brown waters of Lagos, experience acquired through kind exposure by the Boatman. While my colleagues drummed up their excitement through high-pitched conversation of how Nigeria could have become tourism Eldorado, time has come to take a second look at miles and miles of beaches and waterways in the country, a ting of regret somehow touched the nerves on how wasteful we are as a nation.
We bunkered water, drinks and other delicious offerings at Lagos Motor Club, where we changed to another waiting water machine to Festac, after time-out to appreciate the Marine Police in Lagos, who made sure sea pirates do not hinder smooth sail on Lagos waters.
On our way to Festac-Mile 2, we splashed through Takwa Bay, Apapa Port, the Sea School, Tin-Can Island Port, Snake Island, Nigerdock, Kirikiri Prison, Navy Town, Ilase, Ibese and Inu Ogbe, shoreline towns and villages, most which can be built into luxury rest-points. Notably, Ilesha and Ibesha are significant Gardens of Eden and emerging recreation grounds for the opulent in Nigeria.
Our pilot was not the Boatman but one of his sons, Ahmed Balogun, who, like his two other brothers, are the future power brokers in the business. It is a statement of fact, a story for another day, which will serve as key lesson on how notable businesses powered by most enterprising Nigerians could be bequeathed and transferred to another generation.
The biggest offering and surprise of the weekend was an additional two-hour cruise on a “cruiseliner” MV Amirat built and powered by Tarzan Enterprises. It brought the beauty of Lagos coastline in the night to bear and with the presence of upcoming artists and comedians on that two-hour leisure trip, it was an outing that broke the hands of stress, irritation and pressures of reporting Nigeria tourism to an end, possibly!
Addressing his visitors on MV Amirat, Mr. Tarzan Ganiyu Balogun praised the efforts and doggedness of the tourism press and encouraged them not to relent in the service of the fatherland, promising to carry them along in all his corporate activities.
Andrew Okungbowa, president of the body of tourism editors and writers in Nigeria, in his response, appreciated the Boatman for his kind gesture and support over the years to growth of tourism journalism in Nigeria. It is an outing that would not be forgotten by the writers of tourism in Nigeria for a long time to come. Great thumbs up to the Boatman.

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