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In Nigeria, some are ready to do anything to get into the Guinness Book of Records

Since May, and a Nigerian’s victory in a cooking marathon, the famous book, which lists records around the world, has received 1,500 requests from the country, each smellier than the other.

As you read this, some Nigerians are racking their brains. They are looking for ideas to break world records. For two months, in Nigeria, there have been joint attempts to enter the Guinness Book of Records: a competition where everyone has to kiss each other for three days, a 125-hour Instagram live or a singer who hums for 200 hours. This fad started last May after Nigerian Hilda Baci broke the cooking record by cooking for 100 hours.

1,500 requests in two months

But others are not so lucky and miss their efforts. Like this young woman, Joyce, who at the beginning of July tried to break the longest massage record: 72 hours. She collapsed, passed out after 50 hours anyway.

There is also this man who became famous despite his defeat: he tried to break the record for the longest scream. So he was supposed to cry for 100 hours straight, but didn’t make it. Worse, he even damaged his eyes and went blind for 45 minutes.

All these attempts have even prompted the Guinness Book to respond with a very clear message: “Please, enough with the marathon“. In two months, Guinness received 1,500 requests for records from Nigeria, about 19% of all attempts in the world. The famous book receives about 1,000 requests a week.

“In Nigeria, power is the ability to know many people”

So why have the people of Nigeria gone into a record frenzy? Some, like this professor who will attempt to read aloud for 124 hours next September, are doing it to promote Nigerian culture. Master Hilda Baci also did it for her country.

But others seek fame: winning a world record means gaining fame, fame and therefore attracting subscribers to its social network. The more the community grows, the more money you can earn and become an influencer. “Individual success is fundamental in Nigeria”, explains Laurent Fourchard, director of research at the National Foundation for Political Science and former director of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) in Nigeria. “Socially, when you succeed, when you have money, when you have power, then it is well seen“. The expert adds that in Nigeria it is very important to be followed: “power is the ability to know many people“, whether on social networks, in politics or in other areas.

Being famous sometimes brings gifts, trips. In an economically driven country, this can also attract. In this oil-rich country, “In recent years we have witnessed an impoverishment of the middle and urban classes.”, according to Laurent Fourchard. 40% of the inhabitants live today in extreme poverty. The country’s security situation has also worsened,”Kidnappings are on the rise, notes the specialist. Over the past five years, visa applications have tripled, particularly for travel to the US and UK.

For the specialist, this multiplication of record attempts is also a message sent to Nigerians all over the world. “There is a real gap between the success of the Nigerian diaspora – many doctors, engineers, bankers – and the image of Nigerians who have stayed in the country”, analyzes Laurent Fourchard, “those who try to break records want to show that they also have talent”.

And Nigerians who succeed in their bet offer themselves some oxygen.



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