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Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge: Where Love is on the Run

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IMAGE: Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge »


Jogging on Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge has a lot of gains, and one of such is the advantage of finding love while on your feet, Adeola Akinremi writes

Most tired sleepers are still in bed and it’s still a dark morning in the twin neighbourhoods of Lekki –Ikoyi, where the well-heeled in the city of Lagos are concentrated. But the tradition of Saturday morning runs has become inevitable for those who do it.

At, bunches of runners are out on the walkways, where a great long line of them are already on the suspension bridge. That is, the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.

With one foot in front of the other, no need for a gym membership card or an instructor, cool atmosphere, surrounding scenic view and running partner by the side, the clear goal for most of them is to stay in shape. But as an incentive, dating has become a part of what joggers find appealing on the suspension bridge.

Besides breathing in fresh air, toning up sagging muscles and developing their stamina, many joggers also build up a circle of friends over time. As they jog pass one another, a wave of hands and smiles are suggestive ways of expressing love in the opposite sex on the run.

Yes, the early morning breeze blowing off the ocean front makes the early morning downright frigid, but that in itself is an advantage. It helps the joggers to run until they get warm enough to quit the race for the day. And because the walkways are both sitting at the edge of the suspension bridge on the right and left of the road, they offer a panoramic view of all the surrounding land and water down below.

Of course, when the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, commissioned the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge on the 29th of May, 2013, he knew the bridge will not only be for vehicular activities.

The idea of the walkways that had been part of the infrastructure from the beginning is indicative of its future service. However, Fashola had no idea that love can be found on the bridge. But nowadays on Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge it’s love on your feet.

Barely a year after the bridge was opened with all its controversies, the ‘gym bridge’ now offers a place of hope for fitness seekers and lovebirds.

Hoping to be noticed, young ladies, clad in skimpy sport wears that reveal their contours and well-shaped bodies are seen to be part of the joggers from one end of the bridge on Admiralty Way in Lekki phase 1 to the other end linking Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi.

Clearly, the girls are visible enough in their sport kits to make men take a second look.

On a normal Saturday morning, when the sun is still below the horizon, and with the cool breeze of the sea massaging the body, men and women of various age categories, race, social class, and size, start to swarm the bridge to run and for love.

Without doubt, for a lot of the joggers, it is all about keeping fit, while for plus sized people who also frequent the bridge in numbers, the aim is to shed some weight.

For some ladies, however, the purpose of their jogging is to meet the ‘high and mighty’ in this part of the Island where affluence reigns supreme. On a bridge that is about 1,345 kilometres long, and stretches from Lekki to Parkview, Ikoyi, these girls do not mind going through the bridge multiple times just to achieve their objectives.

True, apart from ladies that appear in physical fitness apparels, there are others who come in exiguous dresses that are tight-fitted to focus sensitive parts of their body.

THISDAY sited one of such who alighted from a bus, at the Lekki end of the bridge. Spotting a shiny red gown and a pair of trousers with easily noticeable number 999999, the lady started promenading down the bridge, while putting a subtly conscious effort to be noticed by Lekki-Ikoyi ‘big men’ jogging on the bridge.

After walking through the bridge back and forth, Beatrice Agidu, a worker in the neighbourhood tells THISDAY, “I came here to just do some walking. I am sure you don’t know it is another kind of exercise, but it is.”

She further says: “A lot of people think it is only jogging, but walking like this can help you keep fit.’’

Asks if her dress is not a hindrance to her ‘fitness walk exercise’, she refuses to accept, saying ‘’It is does not disturb me oh! In fact, it is better to dress like this, because it makes me free enough to walk very well. If I wear those tight jerseys now, i won’t move freely. As you can see, I am a little plump, so it will not fit me, but this one fits me well and will help me do my exercise.’’

Despite Beatrice’s assertion that she’s on the bridge to improve on her fitness, not everyone is convinced.

Phillip Ejim, 18, works as a cleaner on the bridge. Although a secondary school leaver, he has been working on the bridge for close to six months now, and he knows so much to distinguish between the real joggers and those looking for love.

According to Phillip, “Since I started working here, I have seen different kinds of things happen. Different people come to this bridge. I have seen foreigners, and famous celebrity actors and musicians come here. I once saw someone that looks like Ini Edo jogging on this bridge.  Those rich men in Lekki and Ikoyi all come around. I know some of them, because I stay in Lekki Phase 1 with my uncle, so I know the rich men very well, when I see them.’’

Phillip goes further to admit that he sees some young attractive ladies dressed seductively, pretending to be heading somewhere, and then loiter around the bridge in search of a potential suitor.

He says: “I see a lot of them, young girls who dress in a sexy way, just to attract people. Their dresses are always open, showing their thighs, some will cover only their breast alone, while the rest of their body are left open. Once they arrive, you see them just pretend as if they are going somewhere or they are waiting for somebody, but it’s not true, they are just waiting for a man to look at them and like them and that’s the only reason they come here.’’

Phillip further observes that he has seen a lot of situations whereby some men have approached these ladies for a chat, and vice versa.

“Yes, sometimes I see some of the men approach the ladies and talk to them, and even the ladies do it too. Those that are brave will meet the man and pretend like they just want to talk or be friends and before you know it, they will start jogging together and talking, then they will exchange contacts, and am sure they even leave this bridge together sometimes,’’ Ejim adds.

Interestingly, it is common to see people on the bridge jogging in pairs, usually a man and a woman.

One of those in the regular habit of jogging in pairs is Dr. Donald Abayomi, a medical consultant who frequently runs the length of the bridge with his wife.

He says: “I do this with my wife regularly and we do it to keep fit. I am a medical doctor, so of all people, I know how essential it is to do physical exercises. It helps me relax and keeps me fit, so it’s very important. Although my wife doesn’t agree to come with me all the time, I just have to convince her, because it’s also healthy for her.’’

He, however, admits to having seen some young ladies who come to the bridge for exercises alone, most likely with an intention to catch a man.

“I have seen a few of them. There was a time I came here alone, and while I was jogging, I met a group of three young girls also jogging, but they were passing glances at me in a seductive way. I was really surprised,’’ he says.

But Abayomi however denies approaching any of them on that occasion or at any other time. “I usually don’t go beyond my brief,” he adds.

Another commuter who usually comes to the bridge is Richard Arinze, 24, a footballer, and regular face on the bridge every Saturdays during the early morning jogging.

For Arinze, who has been jogging on the bridge for over 3 months now, no lady has ever approached him.

He says: “I have been coming to this bridge to jog for over three months now, and I don’t miss a Saturday, because as a footballer I have to keep fit, look stronger, and improve my body condition. But I don’t think any girl has ever tried to approach me for love or anything like that.’’

He, however, confesses to have seen a lot of young ladies who come for jogging. He says: “I see a lot of them, but actually I am not sure most of them do it to attract men, because you always see them jogging seriously. Most of them do it to keep fit, I believe some of them that are chubby, that is fat, and want to lose weight, are advised to come here and do some exercises, but it’s possible anyway that some men might approach the ladies, because, you know men, it’s always difficult for them to keep their eyes off pretty ladies, because the truth is that the girls that I see are always looking good.’’

The Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge is a cable-stayed, 1.36km bridge which links the Lekki community with the Ikoyi part of Lagos, Nigeria. The bridge which was constructed by Julius Berger has a 9-metre headroom above water level is the first suspended bridge in Africa.

The bridge was commissioned on the 29th of May, 2013, as part of activities marking the nation’s democracy day and the commemoration of Governor Fashola’s sixth year in office.

The bridge estimated at the cost of about N29 billion provides access into Ikoyi from Lekki without the merry-go-round trouble that Lekki-Epe Expressway offers, but it is restricted to only private and commercial vehicles with a total seating capacity of 26, while commercial buses popularly known as ‘Lagos yellow bus’ commercial motorcycles and tricycles are not allowed on the bridge.

Fashola administration approved tolling fees for vehicles ranging from N250 to N500, which has not gone down well with a lot of residents in the area who believed that usage of the bridge should not attract any fee as it was built with public funds.

And with the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge starting to turn into a physical exercises hub, where desperate young girls hang around in order to meet their potential life partners, there may be further incentive for the Lagos State Government to get more revenue from the bridge. It happened in New York City, United States recently when a jogger, Peter Shankman was given ticket for jogging too early in the day.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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