Years after Nigeria got the better of Covid-19, the country appears to have been hit by a fresh pandemic that is not health-related. The new pandemic appears to be the race to gain Guinness World Records recognition against all odds. From the extraordinary to the ridiculous, Nigerians have been discovering new reasons to support this newfound craze over an award that has been in place for almost a century.
When 26-year-old Nigerian chef Hilda Bassey set the motion for her Guinness World Record (GWR) attempt and gave it wide publicity, her hopes were that many Nigerians would cheer her up. Though her hopes, aspirations and dreams eventually came true, little did she know her attempt would wake up a crazy sensation and craving for GWR recognition among many Nigerians, as witnessed over the last couple of weeks.
For starters, the idea for the Guinness World Records, originally known as the Guinness Book of Records, was conceived as a factbook to help in resolving arguments in the early 1950s by Sir Hugh Beaver. Today, it has managed to become the ultimate authority on record-breaking achievements, according to information on its website.
It is true that before now, many Nigerians have been recognised by the GWR in the past for their passion, grit and dedication in their chosen fields and/or activities, but the newfound attraction for GWR recognition is plainly bizarre and fuelled by instincts that are not in any way altruistic.
As the mania for GWR recognition continues to soar, it leaves one wondering what exactly has come over Nigerians. Clearly, the uptick in the number of attempts coming from Nigeria is making a mess of the GWR institution as they lack decency, practice and preparation. It is no longer news that a number of Nigerians, especially those on social media, have a penchant for chasing irrelevancies in the name of clout and often focus on trivial issues rather than what could add value to their lives.
Today, Nigerians are falling over themselves to perform Cook-A-Thons.
Make no mistake about it: in every culture, food is a common thread that binds individuals and communities. It’s a way of sustaining life, expressing creativity, and ultimately, being a medium for connection. Cooking or engaging in cooking is not in any way a bad thing to do; however, there are better ways to seek recognition than cooking for long hours under very horrible conditions.
The allure of breaking a world record is undoubtedly intoxicating. The glare of the spotlight, the thrill of recognition, and the intoxicating sense of achievement can seem irresistibly appealing. However, while these pursuits might bring temporary fame and the momentary validation that comes with them, they can distract from the more substantial, lifelong benefits of a solid educational foundation.
Culinary pursuits are not unworthy; in fact, they’re a testament to the rich and diverse culinary heritage a very large country like Nigeria is endowed with. However, the value of education goes far beyond the ability to cook for long hours under very unfriendly conditions. Education is something that equips young people with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate the world, make informed decisions, and contribute to their communities and their country at large. It leaves one wondering; why then are Nigerians chasing shadows rather than substance?
Nigerian youths who have displayed a lack of creativity by jumping into the frenzy to engage in marathon cooking are clearly missing the track. They perhaps do not know that education fosters critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and resilience – skills that are more vital than ever in today’s rapidly changing world. Education is something that provides the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, growth, and personal development. Moreover, it opens up a world of opportunities, allowing young people to pursue fulfilling careers and make meaningful contributions to society.
Young people in Nigeria should be made to understand that the pursuit of a Guinness World Record in cooking, while commendable, represents just one facet of a person’s capabilities. These youths perhaps do not know that they really do have so much more to offer, themselves, their communities and their country. Nigeria is a country that is brimming with young people who are bursting with talent, creativity, and energy. They have the potential to excel in fields as varied as technology, medicine, literature, and the arts. The Cook-A-Thon experiments are not the way to go. It is a simple noise in a world that is supposed to be dutifully chasing substance.
To truly tap into this potential, these misguided Nigerian youths should be made to understand that education must be at the forefront. A well-rounded education can empower these young minds to explore their passions beyond the kitchen and to make significant strides in whatever field they choose. Their focus must be redirected to focus on what is important.
Nigerian youths should be encouraged to diversify their interests and see the value in multiple areas of personal and professional development. Breaking a world record may bring fleeting fame, but the benefits of a good education last a lifetime. It is the key to unlocking a world of opportunities and the tool to shape a better future for themselves and their country.
While Nigerians continue to jump on the bandwagon to celebrate the achievements of individuals like Hilda Baci, they must not forget the importance of broader, more sustainable goals. What Nigeria needs to be doing right now is to encourage young people to aspire not just to be record breakers, but also innovators, leaders, and contributors to society. They need to be encouraged to embrace education more fervently, as it’s the most potent tool they can wield in their journey towards personal and societal growth.
In conclusion, while the cook-A-Thon trend has given some Nigerian youths a platform to showcase their culinary prowess, it’s paramount that Nigerians wake up from their delusions and redirect their energies towards pursuits with lasting impact. Nigerian youths must not lose track of the fact that the ultimate measure of success lies not in the records they break but in the impact they make. The Cook-A-Thon pandemic should and must end, and sanity must be restored to Africa’s most populous country.