Giwa Brings The American Dream To Lagos With Disney World-Like Park

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As part of efforts to make Nigeria a tourist centre, and provide the needed comfort, Morenikeji Giwa has launched the Giwa Gardens Water Park in Sangotedo, Lagos.
Giwa Gardens is the largest water park in West Africa by water mass (two million litres) providing the perfect family-friendly destination for endless aquatic adventures.
As the most technologically advanced water park in West Africa, it offers a thrilling array of rides and attractions that will delight visitors of all ages.
Some of the exciting attractions include water houses, pirate ships, a wave pool, an extreme river, or a relax and jacuzzi bar.
Although it earlier opened in December 2023 but was closed by management for additional layers of safety and health procedures, having satisfied safety requirements, a soft re-launch took place on Saturday, March 2, 2024, witnessed by the Lagos State Safety Commission led by the Director General and other agency officials.
Giwa built his career in IT sector and created several innovative concepts in the UK. He was shortlisted for the 2012 Innovation Award on customer innovation and experience.
Born and bred in the UK, but despite his exploits and accolades in the UK, Giwa love for Nigeria and his passion to add value to Nigeria was always part of his agendas.
Before leaving the UK, he was making £1 million a year, and as he put it, sentiment that brought me back to Nigeria
His first contract in Nigeria was with First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) as its Digital partner. He was staying in a hotel where he spent N15 million a year just to be close to the bank at Marina and to have a 24-hour power supply. Still, when he discovered that he would be in Nigeria longer so, he decided to buy a house but then his contract with the bank ended and then he started a short let home with a five-star experience.
“In 2020, shortlet exploded and it created a lot of jobs, thousands of opportunities and a lot of millionaires in the real estate sector and the sector boom because of the short-let concept.

CFO/ Director Giwa Gardens, Daniel Agoye; Dayo Phillips and Founder and CEO, Giwa Gardens, Morenikeji Giwa at the launch of the park in Lagos.

“For the first time in history, a five-star hotel experience could be found in a home because it’s a lot more cost-effective. We started to have people staying in our homes and started throwing parties; many families started coming because it’s expensive to travel outside Nigeria; Dubai banned Visa and flight ticket prices hit the rooftop and we don’t have facilities for family except tropical Christmas at Eko Hotel so, I decided that we should create a water park.
“I love water parks but we only have one in Asaba which is just about 1,500 square meters so, I approached my partners and I bought this land where we have the park now seven years ago to build an apartment of 3000 square meters but since Sangotedo is in the middle to new and old Lagos so, we decided to create this. It will take a long time, and a huge investment but we can leave a legacy and create something for Nigeria families so, I decided to start, then the proper ban for Dubai came where Nigerians couldn’t travel, then flight tickets became expensive and anyone that wants to go Dubai now will need a minimum of N10 million but if I am charging N100,000 here, it’s still cheaper.
“We got a bill $36 million from a Lebanese company to build on 3000 square meters but now it’s 4000 square meters.
“We have built the largest river in Africa; my friend, Tosin who is also based in the Uk advised that building a river is not enough, that people will get tired after a while and that I should build a full water park so, he introduced me to some people and at that time, I was yet to build a house, and 18 months ago was my first construction project which was the Lekki Party Villa and Giwa Gardens so, I did both projects in 18 months.
Instead of building a lazy river, we decided to build an extreme river where every 30 seconds, two 30-horsepower machines pump water and flush it out.
“We have a mechanism system that creates a wave, this doesn’t exist anywhere in Africa because it’s hard for people to do it. We have a wave pool, which is an upgraded version of the one built in Abuja. We have air chambers pumping air inside the chamber that pushes down the air and causes waves in the artificial beach. The artificial beach is the largest artificial beach in West Africa. I felt if we can have this, it would give Nigerians credibility to boast of having their own and place that saves people a lot of money they could have spent outside the country.

Giwa Gardens in Tango Tedo, Lagos

“We built a huge Waterhouse for the children and it takes 600 children. To us, it’s not about size but quality; Lagos is expensive, land is expensive so, we believe that quality should be considered ahead of size. Giwa Gardens has the largest water park in West Africa by landmass and water volume. We have a 1,100 KVA generator running the whole place and we still need more because we have over 50 pumping machines which are 15 and 30 horsepower.
Speaking on investing in Nigeria, he said: “Nigerians in diaspora should be encouraged to invest in Nigeria because I am a Nigerian in diaspora and I could have stayed back because I was doing well, making money. I have suffered in the process of the sentiment that brought me here.

Giwa Gardens

“Why do we have to bring expatriates when we are supper smart. I was charged $36 million for 3000 square metres but I have built 10 times what they billed me for, 100 times more complex and it didn’t cost me $36 million but $11 million, and I would have paid more than $100 million if they had proceeded. I used Nigerian labour without expatriates but I imported 80 per cent of the material used.
“We still have another 40,000 square meters of vacation home to build and if God blesses me, I will take over the whole 15 hectares of land.
“We pray that the government will help us construct the road because it will create jobs because in the space of 18 months, we have hired over 1000 people, we have helped the community to increase the value of their property and a minimum of 25 people are working here. Let’s do domestic tourism and I believe that the Lagos State government should be pushing it.

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