One of the first quotes that I learned as a young boy in primary school is, “Water is life.” Back then when my teacher was introducing science to me for the very first time, she used to emphasize the importance of water in life specifically in relation to how it enables people to grow their crops for food.
As I grew older, I abandoned the ‘water is life’ quote from my vocabulary as I had found a more ‘appealing’ one i.e. “Every drop counts.” What entertained me in, “Every drop counts” is that it aroused my imagination. My teacher had told me that no drop of water is ever lost, wherever it is, it’s still involved in the water cycle. This was such an interesting lesson for me because each time I did my laundry or drank water, I would spill a few drops onto the earth and wonder how that tiny little drop was going to find its way to the rivers and oceans.
What happened during my early years in life is that my knowledge limited my imagination. My understanding of ‘water is life’ was limited as I thought water was important only in so far as it quenched our thirst and watered our crops which in turn would give us food. My knowledge of water and its use at that time was not inaccurate but it was incomplete.
Fast forward some 20 years later, I know more about water and its uses some of which I would never have thought of or imagined back then, for instance, that the electricity I use for watching TV or cooking come from water. While my knowledge base has expanded, surprises still pop up at each turn and one of these surprises popped up not long ago when I read the news that Nigeria, one of the coastal countries in Africa had sent a bobsled team to the Winter Olympics for the very first time.
What struck me was not the fact that Africa in general and Nigeria in particular in the past didn’t have a bobsled team, it’s a winter sport after all and in Africa, we don’t have extreme winters thus understandable and kudos to all the athletes from Africa that participated at the Winter Olympics. However, the article I read on Nigeria’s bobsled team also went further to state that Nigeria is lagging behind when it comes to water sports. Being a coastal country, Nigeria has loads of water space that can help the country generate huge revenue figures.
After reading the article, I took it upon myself to research further on water sports in Nigeria and also the rest of Africa. I found that indeed, water sports in Nigeria are still in their infancy, in fact, those engaged in water sports do so unknowingly. Such a worrying scenario but I was happy when I came across a piece that shared one, Ms. Ivie Aruviereh’s views on water sports in Nigeria.
To Ms. Ivie Aruviereh who is the Chief Executive Officer of Ruvieh Travel and Holidays, water sports in Nigeria possess the potential of turning the country into a sporting powerhouse and also a tourist water sports hub. She said the development of Nigeria’s waterways can become a money-spinning venture if the government can introduce a water tourism board that will properly and effectively promote and run the country’s waterways.
She explained that Nigeria is an aquatic state and the country can learn a lot from other aquatic countries that are generating massive revenue figures from effectively utilising their waterways. Ms. Ivie Aruviereh said by introducing a water tourism board, the country can map a way forward in which unique sporting facilities such as water slides, summer ski jumps, bungee jumping, and sports theme parks can be developed in such a way that they will attract tourists to come and enjoy the waterways of Nigeria.
Another way in which Nigeria may take advantage of its strategic position on the coastal areas according to Ms. Ivie Aruviereh though not specifically in relation to water sports is by introducing cruise lines that roam around the coastal areas of Nigeria from state to state. She said it’s a known fact that tourists love paradisal trips in cruise liners and Nigeria can benefit from introducing cruise lines that take tourists from one area to another while enjoying world-class treatment on-board a cruise line.
The sentiments echoed by Ms. Ivieh Aruviereh resonate much with the success enjoyed in other aquatic countries such as Spain. According to tourism-review.com, tourist figures in Spain increased by 20 percent last year largely as a result of paddle surfing, kite surfing, and kayaking.