Five Nigerians break record for marathon reading
Bayode Olawunmi-Treasure and four other Nigerians have broken the Guinness record for reading. The new record is 480 hours (29 days), which surpassed the last record of 365 hours (15) days. The previous record, which was set in Dominican Republic, in July 2001, lasted for 20 years. Lagos State government supported the contest.
The reading event ran for 20 days from December 1 to 20, 2021, at the Herbert Macaulay Library at Yaba, Lagos State. It was live-streamed from inception till the end of contest for both local and global viewers.
The Nigerian team was made up of Maryam Abba Sadu and Zainab Wakil Mohammed, both from Borno State; Doubra Yeri from Bayelsa State; Preciouslight Ukachi from Imo State and Olawunmi-Treasure from Ogun State.
The record breakers read a wide range of books from fiction to non-fiction, drama, prose and poetry. They also read self-help, inspirational and motivational books.
Olawunmi-Treasures had tried years earlier to make reading more appealing, particularly to the younger generation.
“The major goal for me isn’t so much breaking the Guinness records; it is to make reading great again,” Olawunmi-Treasures said of his quest.
“I could have chosen to dance or sing my way into the record books but I chose this path so that when people ask what I did to break the record, it would be said that I did so through reading.”
After engaging with stakeholders during the pandemic, he discovered one of the issues preventing people from reading, particularly, children and young adults was the lack of public libraries within walking distance.
This reaction eventually prompted him to hold a second try for a Guinness World Record. This time, the process included four other Nigerians.
Sadu, a public administration undergraduate of the University of Maiduguri and Mohammed, a mass communications graduate and teacher in an orphanage home from Borno State, both agreed to promote the girl-child education and promote reading culture in their environment. They also promised to discourage early child marriage.
The Novena University microbiology graduate and health worker, Yeri, from Bayelsa State, said the contest had exposed her to platforms and opportunities.
According to Yeri, the contest made her appreciate African writers, because of their humour and descriptive prowess, especially the manner they project Africa through the names they use, settings and “telling our Nigeria stories.”
The event, which attracted stakeholders in the book business, was aimed at promoting reading culture.