Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun is the Managing Director of Gani-Tarzan Marine Nigeria Limited, being the brain behind the Tarzan boat operations on the Lekki, Lagos axis. He is also the National President of National Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (NATBOWAT). The man who has lived all his life promoting water transportation and tours, as well as exploring ways to decongest Lagos city traffic, spoke with Cliffsimeon Akalonu on related issues in Lagos
You started operations way back in the early 1980s, what is the difference between then and now?
There is a great change and difference between then and now in terms of patronage and in terms of accessibility to beaches unlike before. In the 80s, you hardly see boats run the lagoon, but these days, you can see many boat operators going up and down on the water ways, so there is a very big tremendous positive change.
When you say Gani-Tarzan the most sought-after maritime services provider around, what do you mean?
I mean that Gani-Tarzan is the best of its kind in the maritime services. For example, a firm that has gone beyond recognition in marine services and a firm everybody looks out for, gaining physical and internet recognition through West-African sub-Region, saying they want this or that services.
Another reason is that, Gani-Tarzan marine services is the only firm that render commercial transport of a car across the water when there is traffic, but we have stopped for a while, but will resume in a more rehabilitated way and no other company has done that before.
Gani tarzan is the only company that thinks-ok there is problem here and how can we solve this problem and make profit out of it. for example there is traffic congestion towards Lekki and instead of wasting hours waiting for traffic, you can just drive in and we take you car across the water to the other side of lekki and you pay for the service, in that case, we have solved that problem at your expense because that problem you needed to solve it.
Do you train marine engineers?
No. Because you cannot give what you don’t have. But nonetheless, I can boast of teaching many boat operators and I can still tell you that most of the companies into boat operations, most of their boys are from me, there are more than 100 in number.
Does your cruise ride exceed West African Sub-Region?
No. As at today it doesn’t even go outside Lagos.
How do manage your two offices as the MD/CEO Gani-Tarzan and as the national President of National Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (NATBOWAT)?
By God’s grace I have been able to manage the two offices by creating time to fit-in in both of their activities.
What are the challenges you face?
First, it is not easy to be a genuine business man, and what I mean is as a genuine business man, you try as much as possible to be transparent and as honest as possible because people will try to drag you back,; a situation whereby this thing is sold for N10 and you go there, they will tell you to bring N15 especially in government offices, when you go to obtain your licenses and you will pay this pay that, but yes we know that there is something that is called gratis but not that it is by force. So in this area, it has made me lose so many things several times.
And we thank God that the present government is fighting corruption, and corruption is not only by stealing money but when you deprive people of their right, is corruption because you depriving that person that thing.
Then another problem is facility to operate our services, is not easy to come down regarding to cost. For example, when you want to buy fuel to operate your boats, you need to carry keg on your head because is not everybody that has that facility to toe a truck to the fuel station rather than going with kegs or drums to fetch fuel.
Another challenge is the issue of high cost of spare parts; saying that to get the out board of a boat is very very expensive and thereby, am calling on the government to come and intervene in some of these issues affecting ease of doing business on our water ways.
In the world is there any where, where there is petrol stations on the water ways?
Why is there none on our water ways?
The reason is best known to the authorities in charge. Though we have written to NIWA (National Inland Waterways Authority) on that aspect and they said something will be done in that regard. So we are hoping to see a change in that direction.
What is your reaction on the face-off between NIWA and LASWA?
As an operator, I will tell you that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. As the President of NATBOWAT, I will tell you that it is either they go about their normal routine or they come together and work as one or wait till when the judiciary give their verdict.
What is the relationship like, between NIWA and LASWA?
Our relationship with them is so cordial, that is NIWA is our friend and LASWA (Lagos State Waterways Authority) is our friend. If I get up and go to LASWA office and ask for something if they have they will give me; and if also go to NIWA office and ask for whatever thing I want, if they have they will give me, so our relationship with them is cordial.
What is your advice to them?
My advice to them is that no man is an island. And I see no reason why they should not work together for the betterment of the country; our own problem is multiple taxation because by the time you pay to federal, state and local governments, it becomes multiple taxation. We want it to look like a car you buy and put car license in any car licensing office across the country, you can use that same car in any part of the country, so if it is the federal government that does that let them come and do it on the water fronts too and if it is the state government let them come and do it on the water fronts too. So am calling on them for unity and understanding and work together for a better Nigeria.
Tell us more of what Gani-Tarzan can do?
Good. Gani Tarzan is also a boat builder, I know most people may not know about this. There are many Nigerians that can do a lot of things if given the opportunity to express themselves. The first batch I built, carries up to six cars and the second batch can carry up to 10 cars and as well as transferring of sand. I want to use this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Navy for being supportive and for aiding me achieve my aim.
We heard that your association is partnering with the Nigerian Navy to build a locally made commercial boat?
Yes, it is true, because the Nigerian Navy has manufactured some boats that you can compare with any other boat in the world. And because the Nigerian Navy have a massive workshop with different departments, their hands are open to give support to the interested persons who may want to partner with them so all you need is to come to them with your design. Now because of this, we went to them to partner with them to build commercial kind of boats that we want to be running on our water ways.
How can you access Ambode’s policies on water transportation so far?
What is the state of security on our water ways?
It has improved, although my boats have been stolen several times but that was last two years and last year. But now it interest us that Gov. Ambode has step up with marine police and other marine security agents by donating patrol boats to the marine police and on the other hand, NIWA has patrol boats too, because they have their own marine police department that is on the federal government side. I can tell you that these days they are everywhere moving up and down the riverine areas, they were here in my office today on survey. You know as MD/CEO Gani-Tarzan, I told them not move only in the day time but also at night, because those who steal boats do that at night.
How often do you meet as an association?
Once in a month. Or when there is an emergency issues.
Are you a member of any club?
Yes, I am a Rotarian.
Do you participate in any sport?
Yes, I love swimming a lot.
What is your favourite food?
I love sea foods.
What is your hobby?
What is your advice to Nigerians?
Let us see ourselves as one and begin to have a rethink on how to make things right for Nigeria. Our leaders should call themselves to order and engage Nigerians, because without engaging them into economic use, the nation will still be going back instead of going front.
Who We Are
The company’s operations is dated back to the early 80s and now has over two decades of excellent quality maritime service operation of international standard with extreme safety requirement to guarantee customers (passengers) safety in transit and also maintaining unwavering commitment to customers satisfaction.
Tarzan, the most sought-after maritime service provider around you, now offers excellent options for the following services:
* Boat transportation and higher service for picnic, fishing, tourism and pleasure trip.
* Boat mooring / storage facility for your convenience and safety.
* Excellent options for boat sales / services – A master piece of engineering and style.
* Swimming, water skiing and jet skiing lessons.
* Party / wedding reception hall with lagoon view and lots more.
Tarzan has consistently maintained an improved measure of success due to its unwillingness to compromise and faithful attention to detail.
With our highly experienced in house maritime technicians, we are able to offer a world class full service facility for your boats / engines in our ultra-modern on-site service yard so as to ensure comprehensive maintenance management programme.
This eliminate the high cost of service and repair, ensuring thrilling performance and excellent fuel economy for your boat at all times.
We offer professional assistance to our customers in the acquisition of suitable boats for their personal need and leisure. Also, with our latest ultra-modern capacity lift truck, we are able to design, construct and install customized floating jetties for our customers in all coastal regions.
Our boat cruise to beaches / work sites in Tarkwa-Bay, Maroko, Ikoyi, Lekki, Badore, Ijede, Ikorodu, Badagry, Agaja, Port-Harcout, Warri, Accra, Lome, Cotonou, Cameroun and other coastal region provides exceptional comfort and convenience.
The renowned stability of our boat ensures great seaworthiness and conformable cruising anywhere you choose within the West African sub-region.
We invite you to always board Tarzan – A home to the world finest boat service hospitality with peace of mind, no extra charge and extreme safety standard.
Contact / Enquiries
For enquiries / booking, call Tarzan on 08033038511, 08052073058 OR
Ahmed Balogun: 08039203392
Lanre Balogun: 08077656060, 08064986385