Kunle Adelabu & Seun Ajayi
Mr Bayode Treasure Olawunmi and four other members of the iRead Afrika have broken the Guinness World Record in Longest Marathon Read Aloud Attempt by a Team by reading for 480 hours in 20 days.
They read a total of 92 books while ‘Masterpiece of African Literatures’ by Ebele Ake, was the last book read by the team which clocked a total of 480 hours at 8pm on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at the Herbert Macaulay Library, 338, Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.
The last book read by the team was ‘Masterpiece of African Literatures’ by Ebele Ake.
The feat is now the longest reading attempt by a team after eclipsing the record of 365 hours and 39 seconds set in the Dominican Republic in July 2001.
Other members of the iRead Afrika Foundation that joined Bayode in achieving the feat are Zainab Wakil Mustapha and Maryam Abba Sadu (both from Borno State), Doubra Yeri from Bayelsa State and Preciouslight Ukachi from Imo State.
The Marathon Read Aloud Attempt, which was in partnership with the Lagos State Government through the Office of the Special Adviser on Education (OSAE), was themed, ‘Read2Build’.
Bayode, who set a record for an individual attempt in 2018 in the same category, had led others to read for 480 hours which was achieved in 20 days. The reading attempt started on December 1 and ended on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.
Bayode, the leader of the team and the Chief Executive Officer of iRead Afrika Foundation, speaking with THE IMPACT, said that the goal of the attempt was not particularly to set a world record but to advance reading culture.
“The major goal is not so much in breaking the Guiness World Record, rather, it is to make reading great again”, he said.
“The 2021 edition has been in plan for over 3 years and the contest was aimed at spurring reading culture in the nation through building functional libraries across the federation.
“I identified one of the challenges mitigating against people, especially children and young adults from reading, the feedback is the absence of public libraries within walking distances. This feedback ultimately inspired me to hold another attempt for a Guinness World Record.
“The availability of functional libraries across the 36 states of the nation and the Federal Capital Territory will go a long way in encouraging the youths and children to read”, he added.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described the successful attempt by the team as a national achievement.
Mr Sanwo – Olu and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Barr. Tokunbo Wahab were represented by Permanent Secretary, Office of the Special Adviser on Education, Kasali Adeniran Waheeb at the event.
“This is a feat achieved by Bayode and his team. It is a national achievement because the team cut across individuals from different geo-political zones of the nation”, the Governor said while commending the team.
“The team has really done well and made us proud by seemingly reading for 20 days non-stop. It is a feat that any administration should support, and I can assure you that the Lagos State Government will always support this course”, he assured.
“This year, the Governor approved 200 libraries to be renovated and upgraded in junior and senior secondary schools across Lagos State with more to come in year 2022, and that is a message that the Governor is in support of this course to make reading convenient and conducive for our children and students”.
“The Read2BuildInnovation will address youths’ readiness to read and acquire knowledge and awake their creativity and innovation spirit, and would also aid critical thinking and problem solving because our youths must be solution providers to the development of the economy and achieve our dream for Nigeria”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Education hosted the five readers and their crew in his office the same night.