Nigerian students improve access to cultural books


Nigerian literature has long been absent from the public library in Pullman, and the founding members of the Nigerian Student Organization (NSO) are intervening.

The cultural group of WSU students plans to donate works by influential Nigerian authors to the Neill Public Library.

NSO President John Dickson-Okundaye said the group’s mission is to enhance education, promote awareness of Nigerian culture, and strengthen relationships within the Pullman community.

“We hope through this gesture to support and enrich the local library’s literature diversity as well as to promote awareness in Pullman readers of the rich culture and works of authors from Africa,” he said.

The NSO will contribute works by Chinua Achebe, the author of “Things Fall Apart,” which is read in schools around the United States. Also on the list are works by Wole Soyinka and Nobel Laureate Chimamanda Adichie.

A U.S. citizen with roots in Nigeria, Dickson-Okundaye earned an undergraduate degree in Russia before spending seven years on the east coast. He said when he came to WSU three years ago, he didn’t have the means to network or socialize.

That’s why he established the NSO in 2012 with the goal of educating and providing service to the community.

The primary members of the NSO are Dickson-Okundaye and Secretary Cornelius Adewale, both doctorate candidates in crop and soil sciences, and Treasurer George Wudiri, a doctorate candidate in veterinarian micropathology and microbiology.

“The donation can help the community appreciate the Nigerian culture,” Adewale said.

A dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria, Wudiri said he struggled to find books in town that represent African culture.

Adewale said the donation will help to express the whole of African culture, and he hopes the books will be read by people of all ages.

Joanna Bailey, the director of library services, said she looks forward to receiving the books.

“Reading the literature can be just as enriching for those who can’t travel,” she said.