• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Sanwo-Olu, Elumelu, Davido, others, cheer on Onakoya’s world record bid

Sanwo-Olu, Elumelu, Davido, others, cheer on Onakoya’s world record bid

For over 40 hours, Tunde Onakoya has been playing chess in Times Square to break the Guinness world record for the longest chess marathon, without losing a game. So far he has not.

During this time, the 29 year old chess master has received support from millions of Nigerians at home and in New York City who continue to cheer him on in setting a new world record of 58 hours.

Onakoya is being tipped to set the new record by some of Nigeria’s elites and celebrities who have publicly shown support for him online and in person at his stand in Times Square where he set up for 3 days.

Popular Nigerian artist Adekunle Gold, and Davido surprised Onakoya after showing up at Times Square to rally behind him. Davido had organised a music concert at The Garden in New York City the night before.

In an unfamiliar environment, Onakoya was resented with some familiarity as Omoyele Sowore, activist and politician who has run for Nigeria’s presidency twice handed him food packs from an African-themed restaurant in New York.

Since founding Chess in Slums Africa, Onakoya’s has related with some of Nigeria’s elites, some of whom openly commend his aspiration and back him to achieve it.

Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, expressed his support for Onakoya in a post on X where he wrote “Good luck on checkmating New York @Tunde_OD as you attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the longest Chess Marathon. Continue to serve as an inspiration especially to African youth! We are solidly behind you.” attached to a picture taken with Onakoya wearing his trademark Fila (Cap).

Onakoya, an indigene of Lagos state where he began his work helping underprivileged children also earned the backing of Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who describes his endeavour as a “bold move.”

“Lagos is rooting for you as you,” he said.

“Taking the story of the phenomenal work you started in Lagos with young children to a global stage is a powerful testament to how greatness can emerge from anywhere,” he added.

Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state, bordering Lagos, ashares Sanwo-Olu’s sentiments

On X, he wrote, “On behalf of the Ogun State government and its people, we extend our best wishes to @Tunde_OD…We applaud his efforts to raise funds to support children’s dreams worldwide through this noble initiative.”

Some of Nigeria’s former vice presidents have also publicly shown support for Onakoya. Former vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who had played a chess game or two with Onakoya wrote an open letter to him on X tipping him to get the win.

“Best of luck in Times Square…Your resilience and spirit inspire us all. Remember your own powerful words ‘It is possible to do great things from a small place’, the post read.

“Let the dynamic energy of Times Square amplify the greatness that you, a proud Nigerian, bring to the chessboard. We’re all behind you—show the world the strength and determination you are made of! God bless you,” he added.

Atiku Abubakar, another of Nigeria’s former vice presidents who has contested for the presidency twice openly showed support for Onakoya’s initiative.

In a social media post, he wrote, “I join millions of Nigerians at home and abroad in wishing you the best…Your can-do spirit thus far has been truly inspirational. I am rooting for you to break new ground.”

Foreign missions in Nigeria also rallied behind Onakoya to set the new record. The United States Diplomatic Mission Nigeria and the British High Commission in Nigeria have openly shown their support for Onakoya on their official social media under the hashtag #ChessMarathonforChange.

Onakoya is using the Guinness world record attempt as a catalyst to raise $1 million to support children in underprivileged communities across Africa with access to education.

So far, Onakoya has played and won over 100 games and raised more than $45,000.