Just weeks after he put his name on the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Longest Marathon Reading Aloud” by an individual., Bayode Treasures-Olawunmi is preparing to break another one, later this year.
“This time it is for the [category of]“Most People in a Reading Relay,” he hints about the plan during a schools’ seminar organised by ParkInn by Radisson in Abeokuta. “We plan to read 13,670 sentences altogether. We have done our homework. The book we have chosen for now is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.“
The reading relay simply means that a select number of people–in this case 13,670–will come together and line up to read a sentence each from a book, one after the other, the next in line reading from where the person before them stopped.
To show his audience how the record-breaking attempt will be made, Bayode calls out about 20 guests to read from My Command by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. He stands by the podium to guide the process, ticking off with a pen every sentence stop as cue for the next reader.
“For the reading proper, we are hoping to have Vice President Yemi Osinbajo kick off the challenge,” he says, while making a presentation on the importance of reading to the Nigerian child, attended by at least a dozen schools in Ogun State. “ We also hope to have the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the governor of Lagos and some of the other governors join in the reading. With this, they will be helping to make a strong statement in support of reading and literacy in the country.”
“Nigeria is the giant of Africa, it is high time we began to live that name.”
Treasures-Olawunmi made national headlines last March when he broke the Guiness Book of World Records for the “Longest Marathon Reading Aloud” by an individual. He did it in 122 hours (five days), beating the existing record of 113 hours and 15 minutes held by an Indian since 2008.
While speaking at the seminar, he relived moments from the marathon reading. “I read 23 books. What I went through was a gruesome, suicidal but pleasant quest,” says the graduate of Osun State Polytechnic. “On the fourth day I almost died. At some point, it seemed like the words were dancing on the pages, because they were tiny print; I was hallucinating. I almost gave up the challenge, but what made me stay the course was my team, which included my wife and my kids. I thought: if I quit at that stage how would I be able to face them and tell them to go all the way in their own pursuits in life as well?”
If all go according to plan, the reading relay will hold as soon as September 2018.