Olubayode Treasure-Olawunmi, a 40-year-old Ikorodu-born reader, on Saturday, March 3, 2018, became the fifth Nigerian to enter the Guinness Book of World Records after equaling and surpassing 113hours in ‘Reading Aloud Marathon Attempt’.
Bayode, after five days of reading aloud at Herbert Macaulay Library, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, surpassed 113hours and 15minutes record set by Mr Deepak Sharma Bajaan from Nepal at 1.30pm and at exactly 3.30pm,he set new record with an additional 30minutes.
He started the Read Aloud Marathon Attempt on Monday, February 26, 2018 and was given only 2 hours break for rest, medical, feeding and others in every 24hours.
Olubayode would be joining the league of other four Nigerians in the Guinness Book of World Records. They are Kafayat Shafau, Chidera Anemege, Obi Ajuonuma and Harrison Chinedu.
Mrs Morunkeji Olawunmi, Bayode’s mother, while speaking with THE IMPACT, was full of prayers for the government of Lagos State and Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank), while stating that she encouraged Bayode to read along with his petty trading.
“I gave him my full support because I wanted him to read and be somebody in life. I used my earnings from hawking fufu (cassava starch) to train him and his siblings. Since I can’t I read, I want them to read and aspire to greater heights in life” , she stated happily.
Mayor Deen Sanwoola, Bayode’s mentor and promoter, stated that the whole journey started in 2017 when he was approached by Mr Olubode Mclauren Oserinde, Chief Executive Officer, FANAFILLIT who wanted him to assist Bayode who aimed to break the world reading record.
“It all started with Bode who told me about Bayode’s desire to break and set a world record in reading. Immediately, I got interested about the idea because that is what I desire for. I always want our youths to reach for the sky.
“I love it when people read because I read everyday too. Sometime in September 2017, when we started talking to sponsors, it turned out that they were all not willing to give monetary compensation because they were not too sure that a Nigerian can break that type of record.“At a point, we met with the management of GTBank who were willing to key into the project but they requested for a try to be sure. A date was picked for the trial. We arranged every necessary thing and linked up with periscope and live stream for four days. This made the bank to accept to deal with us.
“At some point, we had issue with the remuneration to be given to Bayode after the exercise and at this point, Hon. Babajimi Benson scheduled an appointment with Mr Tony Elumelu who introduced us to his foundation but we were unable to deal because they said they didn’t have the budget for a project for that year.
“It was at this point that we returned to the drawing board and I was able to convince Bayode that an idea has zero value when it has not been executed and I told him that we should go with GT Bank and drew out plans on what happens after he might have broken the record, because that is when remuneration will come.
“We returned to GTBank to dot the ‘I’ and cross the ‘t’ and here we are today. The record has been broken. We were close to not breaking the record, because when they calculated the hours, we realized that there was about seven hours penalty that had to be deducted from his spent time.
“At this point, they were scared that he might not be able to break the record but I told them that Bayode is determined and that is one quality that I always want every human being to have.”
Speaking on the training experiences with Bayode, Sanwoola stated, “Every time he came to me, he always had something to read. It’s something that he had always prepared for. We were supposed to have this last December but it was festival period and January was also put off.
On the implications of Bayode’s success for the country, Lagos State and Ikorodu, Sanwoola stated, “The implication for Ikorodu is that we have put that name on the map which has always been my goal and the goal of Hon. Babajimi Benson. Now that the record has been broken and a new one set, part of what we are going to be agitating for is that they should build a library like this in Ikorodu in Bayode’s name. Ikorodu deserves one.
“If Ikorodu can bring Lagos State and Nigeria on the global map, we deserve to have a world class library. They now know that very talented people; people that love to read and engage in intellectual activities are born in Ikorodu”, Deen stated.
The Read Aloud Marathon Attempt was supported by TagHeur, a global watch company that provided the time screen and other supports for Bayowa and Ntel, a nrw mobile telecommunications company that provided free Wi-Fi throughout the duration of the reading.
Among the important guests who attended the final day of Bayode’s read aloud project were Hon. Babajimi Benson, Member, Federal House of Representatives, Mr Fela Bank-Olemoh, Special Adviser on Education, Hon. (Princess) Folashade Olabanji-Oba, Vice Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government, Otunba Saheed Ibikunle, former Senior Special Assitant to the Governor on Education Management, representatives of Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, Chairman, Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS), Mr Yinka Majekodunmi, management of the Herbert Macaulay Library, Bayode’s parents and friends among others