Babajide Sanwo-Olu says Tunde Onakoya’s achievements show greatness can come from humble beginnings.


The governor, in a statement on Saturday, congratulated the young chess master for completing a 60-hour chess marathon in New York.

Tunde Onakoya is a Nigerian chess master, coach, and the founder of a non-profit initiative called Chess in Slums Africa.

He has organised several interventions for children across slums in Lagos state including Ikorodu, Makoko, and Oshodi.


The children are engaged in a two-week session to unlock their potential through chess while learning and acquiring literacy.

Onakoya would take on what became one of his most daring projects, opting to set a record for the longest chess marathon.

The Nigerian completed the Guinness World Record (GWR) attempt on Saturday after surpassing the previous mark of 56 hours.


GWR is typically expected to vet an attempt before confirming that a new record has been set on any task.

Sanwo-Olu said Onakoya’s achievement at Times Square New York captures “the true spirit of Lagos”.

“Your journey from Lagos, Nigeria to global recognition embodies the spirit of our great city,” he said of the young chess master.

“Tunde Onakoya continues to demonstrate that greatness can emerge from even the most humble beginnings.


“His remarkable story serves as a blueprint for all of us in Lagos city where his impact has been felt the most, showing that, with determination, dreams can indeed soar to monumental heights.

“Tunde’s entire journey was showcased on digital billboards and celebrated with watch parties, capturing the true spirit of Lagos. Despite enduring pain and fatigue, Tunde persevered, driven by his commitment to empower the children he champions.

“This is your moment, Tunde, and Lagos stands with you every step of the way.”

Onakoya learned to play chess at a barber’s shop in an Ikorodu Lagos slum where he grew up.


He got a diploma in computer science at Yaba College of Technology, representing the school in chess competitions.

Onakoya, aged 29, is a board member of the New York City-based non-profit The Gift of Chess.

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