Three years after becoming the Guinness World Record holder for the ‘Longest Marathon Reading Aloud’, bibliophile Bayode Treasure Olawunmi has commenced another quest.
On Wednesday, December 1, Olawunmi and four others began attempting to achieve a group record in the Guinness World Record Longest Marathon Read Aloud themed, ‘Read2Build’.
The team, which will read for 480 hours (20 days) until Tuesday, December 21, 2021, commenced the quest at the Herbert Macaulay Library, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.
The Lagos State government, through the Office of the Special Adviser on Education, is sponsoring the quest with support from the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP).
In 2018 after achieving his first feat, ex-Governor Akinwumi Ambode and some state executive council members received him at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Later commenting on what motivated him to break the world record in an interview with Daily Trust, Olawunmi said it was to showcase the benefits of education to the young.
He said, “When you look at Nigeria today, the way our youth are looking for wealth and stardom, it’s either through music, fraud, or sports. But education is still the best platform to get to fame, make money and become anything you want to be in life. So I set out to do this to be a voice that can talk about education and reading in Africa as a whole, not just in Nigeria.
“We are more focused on entertainment. However, in countries like America, England, France and Russia, they were not built on the back of entertainment. They were built on the back of education and research. We are lagging in this regard, and doing this, we need to read far and wide. We can make our own Elon Musk and Bill Gates, and this can only be done with education, not music, dancing and sports. So that is why I set out to break a record. I didn’t just read for nothing. I read to make reading popular in Africa. This a movement to place books in the hands of every African child. My initiative, ‘I Read Africa Initiative,’ needs support from philanthropists who can also lend a voice to my cause and contribute to this movement. I want to become a strong voice in Africa so that the youth can listen to me the same way they would an artist.”