PAKO BRIDGE

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When last did you visit a swampy area where you had no choice but to cross a pako bridge, to get to the other end?

Crossing pako bridges (wooden bridges) is not for the faint hearted. It takes courage to walk on one. For first time crossers, Your heart pounds in your chest as the hard wood creaks beneath your feet. The vibration and bend sound, effect of many footsteps on this makeshift bridge gives you the feeling that the bridge may collapse the next minute.

“… At least it has six lanes…”

As you carefully place one foot after the other on the ancient floorboards so you don’t miss your step, your mind begins to play tricks on you…You may hear an inside voice saying; “you see that black ‘yamayama’ shit water wey dey under the bridge, you go land inside am yakata!…Swamp go bury you finish..” And then you’re so scared that your vision suddenly becomes double and blurred.

In your heart, you begin to call upon Holy Mary, Eledumare, Jesus or Allah to keep your feet steady and hold the pako bridge firmly as you walk through. Alas! When you’ve safely made it to the end of the pako bridge, you feel like a winner!

“… Even Cars Are Scared of Crossing…”

If you’ve never seen or crossed any pako bridge in your life, you’re not a true Nigerian shikena! For those ‘ajebutter’ folks who grew up in highbrow areas like Banana Island, Lekki and Festac town, you may not understand sha. I know you’re used to seeing paved roads and side walks. But for some of us who live or once lived in ghetto areas like Ajegunle, Igando, Alaba, Orile/Sari iganmu, places wey better road no dey and swamp kon full everywhere, crossing of pako bridge na normal everyday thing. We fit even close our two eye cross pako bridge to and fro!

To cross pako bridge, most times you have to pay N20, so it’s a good business for some Lagos private wooden bridge owners!

“…Solving problems since 1881…”

Though most folks find it scary and dangerous to cross local bridges, I love pako bridges! It’s one thing I find fascinating because of the bridge building technique. It’s surprising that as fragile as these bridges look, most of them never collapse!

“… What a Beautiful Scene…”

How many pako bridge wey you don hear wey collapse? Some pako bridges I know have lasted for ten years and counting! Even longer than most tarred roads. Just like the one I always cross before getting to Alaba international market.

Don’t you just love pako bridges?

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2 Comments

  1. Lol…now I remember my first and last encounter with a pako brigde…it was actually in lagos,na me find trouble that day I made up my mind to go visit a friend,dis n!gga don dey disturb me since to come know where he stays,i set out that day and as I was approaching the address he sent only to find a swamp and a very terrifying pako bridge before me…i called him immediately praying he would tell me I lost my way but dude spoke like it was nothing and encouraged me to pay the 20 naira and cross…that was the last day I ever thought about paying him a visit…i still dey yab am till today sha…Lol

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