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Why Tingo Must Continue to Thrive – Dozy Mmobuosi

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By Eric Elezuo

Tingo Group is a company that reputes itself as innovative and beneficial. Their stock in trade revolves around agriculture, real estate and education.

Reports have said that it has humongous experience in human relationship and offers assistance to all categories of people, a quality stakeholders say has made it competitive in the industry.

The Founder, who recently stepped down as the CEO, Mr Dozy Mmobuosi, in this brief interview, laid bare everything that make the company thick, including the genesis and near-resolution of all challenges it has faced in recent times.

Excerpts:

Tell us about the Tingo Group journey and how you as a Nigerian built a company that is today listed on NASDAQ

Well, it’s a long story that is summarised in the event of Octover 19, 2021 when following a unanimous approval at a meeting of the Tingo Board of Directors on October 18, we submitted an application to list our shares on the NYSE. The application to the NYSE is part of the Company’s efforts to broaden our appeal to the U.S. and international investors. There was no difficulty in getting the application accepted as it satisfies the NYSE’s initial listing criteria.

It is worthy of note that I have dedicated the past 20 years, leading Tingo to become a highly profitable company that focuses on making a genuine impact to people in rural communities. My vision has always been to bring technology and opportunity to our customers through financial inclusion, poverty reduction and food security.

Our listing on the NYSE is an important step forward for Tingo. The NYSE is the premier exchange in the United States and one that will raise our profile to the broader investment community. The uplist will both increase liquidity in our shares, and ultimately create shareholder value in line with our international peer groups.

I am excited to announce expansion plans and partnerships that will further highlight our commitment to UN SDG’s which will deliver greater returns for our investors.

Tingo is playing a significant role in the agriculture value chain in Nigeria, tell us about your agricultural initiatives and how you have been impacting the lives of farmers in the country.

Ordinarily, Tingo is an Agri-Fintech company offering a comprehensive platform service through use of smartphones (using GSM technology) to empower a marketplace to enable subscribers/farmers within and outside of the agricultural sector to manage their commercial activities of growing and selling their production to market participants both domestically and internationally.

We recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. As a result, we have adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development goals as guiding principles.

Our Agri-Fintech model has created a new impactful agri-based farming solution, which has a unique ecosystem has the potential to create jobs and uplift the income for millions of rural farmers in select markets, not only in Nigeria, but the entire African continent.

You recently stepped down temporarily as the CEO of Tingo; who is currently running the company and how does this affect the Nigerian operations?

We hired the best to run Nigeria and our Africa operations. Local knowledge has remained important in driving the ecosystem we have created. We have a seasoned accountant (Edwin Obasogie) who leads our Africawide strategy, Auwal Tahir, he runs our Nigeria operations,especially driving our collaboration with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria,Neha Meta,she runs Tingo Foods new initiatives (beverage lines and soon to be launched retain products) and Uzo Onunonu, she is driving our mass market focused fintech platforms. At the group level we have Ken Denos who is a lawyer, he will be supported by our Africa team,and I maintain that this is the only way to drive the business,and sustain all our initiatives.

Given the recent SEC charges against you and Tingo-affiliated companies, as well as the charges brought by the DOJ, how do you plan to move forward as an entrepreneur at home in Nigeria and abroad?

It is my opinion that there is no perfect company/organisation/entrepreneur out there in the world. I began my journey as an entrepreneur 23 years ago. And made an attempt to list our holding company in 2020, we experienced all sorts of blockades,and then I got introduced to Darren Mercer who was the CEO of MICT, Inc. I believed we shared the same vision-showcasing Africa and all disenfranchised people (Africa and Asia). We were to merge Africa and China, thus showcasing the best of both continents in terms of companies that believed in using local tech to uplift lives. We began the process of merging both companies,and that meant assembling the best professionals from all over the world. The merger was phased into 3, as I chat to you today that merger hasn’t been completed. I personally feel disappointed in the process thus far, all these allegations to my knowledge is designed to stop us from executing our strategy-ensuring food security and empowering smallholder farmers who are naturally disenfranchised. To be clear, I have not run the day to day operations of Tingo for 6years now,I only help provide product support/creating products,which I feel is where my strengths lie.

As an entrepreneur, I will prove my innocence via legal channels, and I encourage all farmer cooperatives that I supported via Tingo to speak out. I will remain an entrepreneur breaking grounds in the sectors I play in (healthcare, mining, energy, real estate and sports). The world has gone crazy, bad news sells and our so called experts who people rely upon for information have become so lazy. I invite everyone into our world, go and see what we have created. We have board members and former colleagues who are lazy, and can’t stand the heat they feel joining the rest of the lazy world to accept that I have done something wrong or misled the public…take your time to analyse what we have built. I will thrive as an entrepreneur anywhere. And I promise those that I have served (farmers) that I will not let them down.

As the founder of Tingo, what are you doing to reassure investors, employees, and the public about the stability and integrity of the company in light of these legal challenges?

A court in the US granted the SEC a TRO, I have respected that by stepping aside. But I will use every media available to me to encourage all stakeholders (employees, shareholders and partners) to keep believing, and to know that whatever it is that might have happened in Tingo would be uncovered, and as for me, I will provide every support possible to keep the vision alive. Tingo must thrive.

The SEC complaint alleges a multi-year scheme to inflate financial metrics. Can you provide your perspective on the nature of these allegations and explain any discrepancies in the financial statements?

They claim we had just $50 at a time, how have we sustained staff and projects?
I will stand by what I have said before. I will cooperate with investigators,and we shall get to the root of this. We always knew that we needed to improve our internal controls and governance. And had started working on all of that since the merger started. Just to be very clear again, this merger is still not complete. And I hope this isn’t a conspiracy to take the business away from us or to stop the merger. I want to point out that those who heard Darren Mercer talk about the Tingo story bought into it and those who heard me speak passionately must have also loved the story. I have never gone on any road show to raise capital anywhere as people claim in false statements. I challenge anyone anywhere in the world who says that I Dozy Mmobuosi raised money for Tingo, let that person speak publicly with proof. I will address all allegations through the legal system across various jurisdictions.

Tingo Mobile has been a notable player in the Nigerian market. How do you plan to maintain customer trust and loyalty amid the legal challenges and allegations raised by the SEC?

I know it’s a very difficult time for me my family, Tingo, our customers and shareholders. We have maintained best practices as far as customer relations goes, I encourage our customers to remain patient,and continue to see the merit and purity of our products. Evil will not win over good. And to our shareholders, I will fight for you all. I was waiting for the merger to complete before I started interacting with shareholders, was never in control from to w moment the merger started. We shall right this ship, no matter what.

The complaint mentions an injunction against selling or disposing of Agri-Fintech and/or Tingo Group stock. What impact do you anticipate this having on the operations of these companies?

The TRO is focused on me, not the company. But I see that vendors media and certain bodies are taking advantage of the situation to cheat the company. I advise the temporary group managers to respond via the legal framework across the territories we operate in. For instance, I saw a message circulating in Ghana coming from the owners of the property we lease in Ghana,asking Tingo to leave, despite Tingo not owing rent, this individual is going round calling the company a fraud when the company hasn’t defrauded anyone. I expect humans to be decent.

The charge mentions misrepresentations in public statements regarding Tingo’s business operations. Can you shed light on recent initiatives or achievements in Nigeria that you believe accurately reflect the company’s success?

Our works speak for us, speak with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, and visit our offices. I also want to use this medium to let the world know that the food processing facility being built is not a Tingo project. It has been my ambition to build a food processing facility where foods from farms across Africa can be processed and value added. This project is being built on my family land and I am building with my resources, the banks I approached through my agents declined support, so I decided to build without support. You are invited to see how real it is.

Do you see your recent moves to buy Sheffield United as contributing to this continuing legal ordeal?

I hate to regret any move I make. I have more experience, that’s what I can say. When I did the bid for Sheffield United, all I had in mind was connecting a city as disenfranchised as Sheffield, and a company as disenfranchised as Tingo. I insisted on a confidentiality agreement to be signed, it was signed, but someone leaked my involvement. I deposited almost 9M GBP including helping the club pay its tax bills and wages, then the club qualified to the premier league. This story has not been told anywhere because it’s not a sexy story. A black man rescued the club. There are a few fans who know the true story. I respect the current owners of the club, and will continue to dialogue with them on pending issues. It is fine to disagree. But I am not going to let someone lose cos I must win. Human decency should prevail. I encourage the Western world to shun the superiority complex they have assumed. I will not say that all institutions are that way, for instance, the emergence of Rishi Sunak as the PM of Great Britain gave me hope, and also the emergence of the likes of James Cleverly as foreign secretary and now Home Secretary give me a lot of hope.

I am now busy fighting back and writing a book that tells my side of the story. I encourage my supporters out there to fight on.

Originally culled from Nairametrics 

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Dele Momodu Bags South West Advancement Media Icon Award

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By Eric Elezuo

Veteran journalist and Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Aare Dele Momodu, has been honoured with Media Icon award at the South-West Advancement Award and Investment Summit.

The event, in its fourth edition, and which coincided with the celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day as well 25 years of unbroken democracy in the country, was held at the Lagos Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.

In his words, on receiving the award, Momodu, who has on two occasions expressed his intentions to be President of Nigeria, first as a candidate under the National Conscience Party (NCP) in 2011, and recently as an aspirant with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023, and has contributed so much to pushing the positive image of Nigeria through his writeups and publications, acknowledged the organisers for considering him for the award.

“It is always a thing of joy when your modest contributions to humanity and the society is recognized and rewarded. Thank you for recognizing me as a person, and invariably recognizing Ovation as a brand,” he said.

A fearless writer and social commentator, Dele Momodu is the publisher of the Africa’s number one celebrity journal, Ovation International Magazine, The Boss Newspaper and the Ovation Television.

It would be recalled that as part of activities to mark his 64th birthday on May, 16, 2024, he established a series of Leadership Lecture with edition delivered by former Minister of Power and Chairman, Geometric Power Limited, Prof Barth Nnaji.

Speaking on the Summit and Awards, a yearly retreat to honour citizens of the South-West, the organisers said they designed to foster unity and development in the south west region as well as appreciate Excellence and Accountability of the average yoruba person for their good works from within and outside the region.

Also specially honoured for his invaluable contribution to the development of Osun State, was the Executive Governor of Osun State, His Excellency Senator Ademola Adeleke.

Among other notable personalities, who were also honoured were Chairman, Federal Island Revenue Service (FIRS), Zaccheus Adedeji; Mr. Seyi Tinubu, who was represented by Dr Seriki Muritala Ishola, veteran broadcaster, Dr. Reuben Abati and Princess Ganiyat Alli.

Other Awardees were Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited, Mr Femi Shoneye; Chief Executive Officer OnileOnile Global services, Amb Dr Mrs Tobiloba Awosoga; Chairman, Into Group, Amb Dr Joel Adesokan; MD/CEO AkModels Group, Parallex Bank, Dr. Odegade Abdulhakeem; CEO Nottinghano Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Olanrewaju Abdul-Hakeem Atilade; CEO Mateno Authentic Designs, Princess Joylin Mateno Ohooro; Mr. Tolulope Joshua Oginni, Mr Fredrick Olunloyo Olonila and Prof Ojo Ademola.

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Enitan Ogunwusi, who was the Royal Father of the Day, was represented by His Royal Majesty Oba Muraina Adebanjo Adedini Asoya of Ile Isoya.

A major highlight of the Summit was a Panel Session featuring Amb. Tosin Sanusi, Mr. Abayomi Adewumi and Prince Joseph Eniola, with CEO, TOD Media, Ms Odunola Abayomi as the anchor person.

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Again, Ademola Adeleke Wins Governor of the Year Award

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By Eric Elezuo

Sequel to his nomination and conferment of the Governor of the Year honours by The Boss Newspaper, the Osun State Governor, Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, has again be named the winner of the governor of the year award. This time, by Pa Sam Amuka’s Vanguard Newspapers.

The governor, who has been rated as performing, was hinted about his award when a team of senior officials of the newspaper, led by the General Editor, Mr Jide Ajani, paid him a courtesy visit in his Abere Government House office in Osogbo, Osun State.

Explaing the reason behind the choice of Governor Adeleke for the award, the team said the governor’s attention to Infrastructural development of the state, has been topnotch, with special emphasis to his approval of infra upgrades of several tertiary institutions in the state.

The governor, in his humility, has since dedicated the award to the entire people of Osun State.

A statement however, by the governor’s spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, captured the visit of the team in details. He wrote:

The management of Vanguard newspaper has shed light on why it is conferring Governor of the Year Award (Infrastructure) on Governor Ademola Adeleke, describing the process as ‘rigorous and merit based.

Speaking while on official visit to convey the award letter to the Governor, a top member of management and General Editor of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr Jide Ajani who led other management team members told the Governor that his choice for the award was prompted by credible reports of his achievements in infrastructural development of Osun State.

According to Ajani, the panel of judges became curious about the governance, leadership and managerial records of the Osun State Governor after watching a video of the Vice Chancellor of the Osun State University in which the Governor was reported to have approved several infra upgrades for the tertiary institution.

“We watched the video with the Vice Chancellor listing several approvals and even with the Governor asking the University to look into what other areas of intervention the state should act on. That video excites our curiosity and we proceeded to investigate further by leveraging on our team on ground here in Osun as well as a team from the headquarters.

“We discovered what the Vice Chancellor said in the video was a tip of the iceberg. Osun is indeed a huge construction site. You have continued to complete abandoned projects. You have completed many inherited projects from your predecessors

“We have your records on roads, bridges, water, school and health center upgrades among others. We read your multi-billion naira infrastructure plan and its ongoing implementation. You did not play politics with the development of your state.

“It is the totality of your passion for development that convinced the judges to confer the award on you. It is our hope that this recognition will spur you to an even greater push to deliver on your governance agenda”, Ajani who led the Vanguard team noted.

Responding, Governor Adeleke accepted the award and affirmed that the recognition is dedicated to the people of Osun State whom he said gave him the rare opportunity to serve as the Number One Citizen of the State.

“I thank the Management of Vanguard newspaper for this recognition. I was with Pa Sam Amuka recently and I must confess that I learnt from his wealth of wisdom. This award coming less than two years in office strengthens my conviction that selfless service to the people should be the aspiration of all leaders.

“Since I assumed office, I have devoted myself majorly to delivering on our five point agenda. I deploy my network locally and nationally in support of our noble projects and programmes for Osun. I am elated that our contributions are being noticed.

“I dedicate this award to the good people of Osun state. They made our positive records a reality. We have the unconditional support and love of our people in our push to take Osun to greater heights. I will personally attend the conferment in Lagos.

“Our government is forging ahead with our systematic physical and stomach infrastructure agenda. We are working on a new airport, an inland beach resort, cocoa sector revival, upgrade of the free trade zone for agro-industrialisation, robust climate change agenda and digital economy programme. We are on a mission to place Osun on the path of sustainable development”, the Governor told the visiting delegation.

THE MAN, ADEMOLA JACKSON ADELEKE 

Born of the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State on May 13, 1960, Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos State before he was privileged to relocate to Old Oyo State to continue his education at Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire.

Adeleke was born Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke to a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke, an Igbo Christian mother. Like him, Adeleke’s father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was a Senator and the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State. His father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was also the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

On completion of his primary education, he moved on to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede to begin his post primary schooling. In the later years however, he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School Ede, where he completed his secondary school education and subsequently relocated to the United States of America, joining his two older brothers, who were also studying there.

In the United States, he joined Jacksonville State University, Alabama, and studied Criminal Justice, with minor in Political Science.

To prove doubting Thomases, who wiped up controversies around his educational qualification, wrong, he went back to school and got enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2021.

A businessman and administrator of no mean repute, Adeleke was the humble Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016, where his credible performances shot the company to enviable heights; a height it is still enjoying till date.

It is imperative to note that before he joined Pacific Holdings Limited, Senator Adeleke worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor from 1985 to 1989. His dexterity to work earned him a progression in career, and he berthed as Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. His meritorious stewardship lasted a period of five years, from 1990 to 1994.

Not a few has described Adeleke as the philanthropic capital of Ede, as his influence in aiding the less privileged and downtrodden remains top notch. He is a voracious believer in community development, and has not spared any expense to see that his community receives global influence.

Politically, Adeleke is a beacon of light and hard nut to crack, having remained an albatross to opposing powers and a reference point to ideal administration.

Shortly after he lost his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017, he contested the Osun West 2017 Senatorial by-election after the death of his brother, emerging as the winner under the Peoples Democratic Party, where he decamped to from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having emerged senator, Adeleke’s political influence waxed stronger, an on July 23, 2018, he emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State after defeating Akin Ogunbiyi by seven votes. Efforts made to deprive him of the mandate was twated by the courts.

Adeleke’s lawyer in his defense claims his secondary school hasn’t come out to deny his testimonial asking the court to dismiss the Case. The court dismissed the suit stating that the plaintiff could not prove Adeleke’s forgery.

Adeleke ran for Osun state governorship election under the PDP against top contenders Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Iyiola Omisore of SDP on 22 September 2018. The election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while Adeleke was leading, and a rerun slated on September 27, 2018. The candidate of the APC Oyetola was declared winner after the run-off. Adeleke protested the result describing the election as a “coup”.

Much as on March 22, 2019, the tribunal sitting in Abuja declared Adeleke the winner of the election, the Supreme Court later affirmed Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship election on Friday, July 5, 2019

Popularly known as the Dancing Senator because of his penchant to joyfully react to the sounds of music, Adeleke is uncle to one of Nigeria’s popular musicians, Davido.

Governor Adeleke is married to an equally successful businesswoman and a self-made boss. They are blessed with three children who are all entertainers. They are B-Red and Shina Rambo and a daughter, Nike Adeleke. He is the uncle of one Nigeria’s primus inter pares in entertainment, Davido.

As expected, Adeleke is moving Osun State to the greatest of heights as he promised, and many who know him agree that there are still very many more in the offing.

HIS EXTRAORDINARY EASE OF DOING BUSINESS STRATEGY 

The governor has shared good news on the ease of doing business in the state as follows:

In continuation of our administration’s effort to improve the state economy and encourage the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we have completed the harmonization of multiple taxes and levies collected by different government departments, agencies, and ministries across all business sectors of the state economy including the informal sectors into a single bill. This Harmonized Bill curates all levies, which businesses are expected to pay on an annual basis as a single bill.

This initiative is to promote ease of doing business by ensuring seamless and convenient payment of levies and taxes due to individuals and businesses across the state in equal or unequal tranches and ensure the issuance of Harmonized Bill Certificate upon completion of payment of the total amount.

I hereby note to all business owners in Osun state both in formal and informal sectors that the official online payment channels for the state is pay.irs.os.gov.ng; POS machines in Tax stations across the state; commercial banks across Nigeria; and Money Transfer Services for those outside Nigeria.

In addition, we have also completed the deployment of Automation System for improved service delivery on payment of rent and lease on government properties; processing of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) in 45 days; Electronic Affidavit System; Electronic State of Origin and Local Government Area of Origin portal; Mobile tax stations; Online Tax payment system etc.

ADMINSTRATION’S ACHIEVEMENTS AS SHARED ON NEW YEAR DAY

The governor declared as follows:

The good people of Osun state at home and abroad.

I greet you warmly with best wishes of a prosperous and blessed new year. I convey my intimate prayers that the new year will bring us new opportunities, progress and advancement as a state and in our individual lives.

I extend new year greetings to the elders of Osun state; to our royal fathers; to our religious leaders; to the young and the old; to professional elite, to artisans, to students and to womenfolk. Accept my sincere appreciation for your support before my election and for the last one year of my governorship of our dear state. I am humbled by your prayers and mass backing for our administration.

I remain firmly focused on the Five Point Agenda under which you, Osun people, elected us into office. We reaffirm our faith in the principles guiding the five point agenda which are transparency and accountability, open government, localisation, responsive leadership and attunement to citizens’ aspirations.

On the strength of the above, our government devised wholesale approach to governance such as:

●Dismantling bobby traps planted by our predecessor,
●Blocking leakages in public finance, ●Addressing the corruption and revenue diversion in the solid mineral sector,
● Restoring local government administration for grassroot development
● Embarking on mass water project provision
● Executing 91 kilometers of road construction
● Implementing free medical surgeries with over 50,000 beneficiaries;
● Total renovation of 31 schools
● Launching sport sector reforms
● Reviving the major commercial and industrial projects of the state
● Pushing for implementation of agric processing zone in Osun state;
● re-professionalisation of the public service;
● Strong attention to workers’ welfare;
● Tapping into tourism, entertainment and cultural potentials of the state;
● Ramping up efforts for a cargo and commercial airport for Osun state, among others.

Our administration achieved a lot by ensuring belt tightening, reducing cost of governance and denying ourselves many perquisites of office. As a Governor, my official expenditures are covered through the approval process rather than security votes, thereby assuring transparency and accountability.

As of today, our administration is struggling to purchase official vehicles for the state cabinet because the officials of the previous government bolted away with state vehicles. So our cabinet and other top officials have been using their private cars since we appointed them into office. Also, we are still working to renovate the official quarters vandalized by the officials of previous governments. Many of our top officials still operate from their private houses.

Despite the above handicap, our team is determined to continue to deliver on our electoral promises. I am glad to report with gratitude to God that we have remained responsive to the will and aspirations of our people. We get positive feedback and we are satisfied with our high approval ratings.

We are challenged to do more. We are prepared to make corrections where necessary as much as we will remain uncompromising when it comes to anti-corruption drive, transparency and accountability as well due process. As I always affirm, our tenure is married to rule of law and fear of God.

As a people, our nation is passing through serious economic challenges. As a sub-national entity ,Osun, like all other states within the federation ,bears harsh consequences of inflationary crisis, high cost of living and unstable exchange rates. These are macro and micro economic issues largely beyond the purview of the state governments.

In this national economic crisis, the Federal Government through the National Economic Council attempted to create a collective focus for a solution. All states committed themselves to this national joint effort. This resulted in specific interventions designed to cushion the negative fallouts of the national dislocation in the national economy.

We, as a state government, commend President Bola Tinubu for his relentless action towards economic restoration. But as we all know and as we are still experiencing, the economic crisis continues unabated despite the best of efforts. Osun, through the National Economic Council, is collaborating with the central government to support federal initiatives targeted at reducing inflation, cost of living and stabilising the national economy…

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Guinness World Record: Celebrating Chess Guru, Tunde Onakoya

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By Eric Elezuo

In conformity with Guinness World Records guidelines that any attempt to break the longest chess playing record must be made by two players who would play continuously for the entire duration, Nigeria’s chess master, Tunde Onakoya, has shattered the record, setting a new record of 60 unbroken hours.

For every hour of game played, Onakoya and his opponent got only five minutes’ break. He also played against Shawn Martinez, an American chess champion.

The chess champion engaged child education advocate in the nonstop game for 60 hours in New York City’s Times Square in the long run to breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

 

The 29 years old Onakoya originally set out to play the royal game for 58 hours but continued until he reached 60 hours at about 12:40am (04:40GMT) on Saturday, surpassing the current chess marathon record of 56 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds, achieved in 2018 by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebo and Sjur Ferkingstad.

Speaking to AFP News Agency,  Onakoya recalled the road to triumph, saying “I can’t process a lot of the emotions I feel right now. I don’t have the right words for them. But I know we did something truly remarkable.

“[At] 3am last night, that was the moment I was ready to just give it all up… but Nigerians travelled from all over the world. And they were with me overnight,” he said.

AP reports that Onakoya hopes to raise $1 million for children’s education across Africa through the record attempt that began on Wednesday.

Though the Guinness World Record organization has yet to publicly comment about Onakoya’s attempt, it is generally believed that the Nigerian adhered to all regulations guiding the game and the record. It sometimes takes weeks for the organization to confirm any new record.

Onakoya confirmed that support had been grew for him online and at the scene, where a blend of African music kept onlookers and supporters entertained amid cheers and applause. Among the dozens who cheered Onakoya on at the scene was Nigerian music star Davido.

When finally confirmed, Onakoya would join the likes of Hilda Baci and Rhema, who also at one time or another smashed the Guinness World Record.

Tunde Onakoya Born on October 6, 1994, Onakoya, known recently as the holder of the Guinness World Records for the longest marathon chess game, is the founder of Chess in Slums Africa.

He has also organised a number of interventions for children across slums in Lagos state including Majidun (Ikorodu), Makoko and recently, Oshodi. The children are engaged in a two-week session that seeks to unlock their potential through the game of chess while learning to read, write and acquire basic literacy skills.

Wikipedia describes Onakoya’s trajectory as follows: “Onakoya learned to play chess at a barber’s shop in a slum in Ikorodu, Lagos where he grew up. Being unable to pay for his secondary school, his mother offered to work for a school as a cleaner in exchange for his school fees. He would later be ranked as the number 13 chess player in Nigeria.

“Onakoya got a diploma in computer science at Yaba College of Technology where he was a gold medalist representing the school in Nigeria Polytechnic Games and also at the RCCG Chess Championship. He has also won the National Friends of Chess and the Chevron Chess Open.

“Onakoya was featured in CNN African Voices.

“Onakoya is a board member of the New York City-based non-profit The Gift of Chess.”

Congratulations!

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