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Hilda Baci And The GWR Mania

By Zayd Ibn Isah The Igalas have a saying about initiating something that inspires others to follow in one’s footsteps, using locusts as a metaphor…

By Zayd Ibn Isah

The Igalas have a saying about initiating something that inspires others to follow in one’s footsteps, using locusts as a metaphor to symbolize the initiator as the one who removes the locustsʼ eyelids before they start flying around. This saying held true for Hilda Baci, the Akwa Ibom-born chef who held the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon for six months until it was broken by Alan Fisher, an Irishman.

Hilda cooked for over 90 hours, surpassing Indian Chef Lata Tondon’s four-year Guinness World Record of 87 hours and 45 minutes. Her cookathon resembled a carnival, drawing men and women to Amore Gardens in Lekki, Lagos, where the event took place, to cheer her on. Hilda became a subject of national and international discussion as news of her culinary feats spread far and wide.

Perhaps this is why others felt inspired to emulate her. The aftermath of her cookathon campaign has resulted in a diverse array of individuals attempting to grab headlines by breaking various Guinness World Records. Almost everybody wants to be a Guinness World Record holder. One famous example is that of Dami, a self-styled chef in Ekiti State, who began her own cookathon shortly after Hilda Baci finished hers and was waiting for official confirmation from Guinness World Records. Whatever happened to her cooking challenge may probably be a story for another time.

More Nigerians have continued to attempt to break one form of Guinness World Records or the other. Even a Kiss-a-thon was attempted in Ekiti, but the initiators gave up after the Governor read the riot act to them. At times, we tend to go overboard in this country. We dey like do pass ourselves.

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The Guinness World Records fever has spread far and wide, even beyond the shores of Nigeria. Recently, a Ghanaian named Patrick Amenuvor attempted a stand-a-thon to break the Guinness World Record for the longest standing by an individual, but the young man quit after four hours. What start what you can’t finish? Didn’t Mr. Patrick know that prolonged and frequent standing, without some relief by walking, causes blood to pool in the legs and feet? Maybe he knows or he was advised against it but insisted on attempting the record, as if the Guinness World Book of Records is the divine Book of Life.

He should have attempted a sit-a-thon, instead. Just look for a fine place and sit down and relax for three days if you want. In the end, you will be awarded for breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest time sitting down.

The Guinness World Records mania reached a crescendo when a Cameroonian lady, Danny Zara, was seeking to have sex non-stop for 200 hours in a sex-a-thon from July 17 to July 25. She was looking for willing partners, but it appears none of the Cameroonian men volunteered, and the idea died a natural death. It would have been the last straw that would break the camel’s back. But I doubt if Paul Biya would have allowed such things to happen in Cameroon, even if there were willing men to participate in the sex-a-thon.

I am sure even Hilda didn’t see this massive influence coming. She should be proud that she has spearheaded a revolution of Guinness World Records campaign in Africa. But In the pursuit of breaking Guinness World Records, it’s crucial for Nigerians to prioritize precautionary measures and avoid heart-wrenching stories. Last year, amidst the GWR frenzy, Nigerian masseuse Joyce Ijeoma fainted while attempting the record for the longest massage hours, surpassing 50 hours before collapsing. A viral video documented the moment during her live stream. It’s unwise to jeopardize one’s life for GWR; there are countless records that can be achieved without subjecting the body to extreme stress. Stay safe and pursue records responsibly.

Isah can be reached at [email protected]

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