Mr Bayode Treasure Olawunmi, the leader of the five-man team of the iRead Afrika readers that broke Guinness World Record in Longest Marathon Read Aloud Attempt by a Team by reading for 480 hours in 20 days, has revealed how the idea of embarking on the attempt came into being.
The feat is now the longest reading attempt by a team after surpassing the record of 365 hours and 39 seconds set in the Dominican Republic in July 2001.
The quest which occurred between December 1 and December 21, 2021, took place at the Herbert Macaulay Library, 338, Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.
Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu, the Governor of Lagos State and Barr. Tokunbo Lawal, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, were represented on the last day of the reading attempt by Mr Kasali Adeniran Waheeb, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Special Adviser on Education, Lagos State.
Zainab Wakil Mustapha and Maryam Abba Sadu (both from Borno State), Doubra Yeri from Bayelsa State and Preciouslight Ukachi from Imo State were other members of the iRead Afrika Foundation that joined Bayode in achieving the feat.
iRead Afrika Foundation is a non – profit organization with focus on – promoting reading; promotion of quality education; promotion of girl – child education and provision of library services to communities across Nigeria.
Bayode, during a session on THE IMPACT WhatsApp platform, said that the challenge by a student at Abeokuta where he was a guest speaker at an event rendered him speechless and informed his team’s quest to facilitate the building of libraries across Nigeria.
“I was at a Conference at Park Inn, Abeokuta, as a keynote Speaker and special guest and after my 30 minutes supposed eloquent speech and admonition to the students at the event, an SSS 1 student, during Question and Answer session, asked me a question that rendered my speech void”, Bayode said.
“The question was, “Like you said, it’s good we read, and we want to read, but where are the books to read and where are the libraries?”
“I pondered on this question for over a week, because truth is in that question. Indeed, where are the books for these students and people to read and where are the libraries?”, he asked rhetorically.
“Not everyone can afford books. No one can afford all books, not even Elon Musk. That is why libraries are constructed so that books can be bought by government or individuals and be kept in the libraries so that people can have access to such books”.
He said that the challenged posed by the student’s question gave birth to Read2Build idea, that is, the Guinness World Record in Longest Marathon Read Aloud Attempt by a Team which is the platform being used by his team to raise funds to build libraries.
“I decided to do something about this issue instead of complaining and whining about it. This is what gave birth to Read2Build”, he said.
“The 480 hours reading quest was actually organized to announced the drive to raise funds to build functional libraries across electoral wards in Nigeria”, Bayode explained.
“Our aims for embarking on the reading quest were two; one is to break and create a new Guinness World Record and the second is for the crowd funding drive”, he disclosed.