Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju is definitely not your average Nigerian 20-year-old. This interesting young lady just launched her first book, a thought-provoking piece titled ‘When Lemons Grow on Orange Trees’ at the Goethe-Institut, Lagos and it has been garnering rave reviews.
At 16, many Nigerian girls are certainly not thinking of being hard at work furiously typing away on a computer churning out inspiring words in the form of a novel. Not at all. At 16, away from the allure of teenage tendencies, Diekara took it upon herself to begin and complete a task that most adults struggle with executing.
A young, Chimanda Adichie in the making, Miss Oloruntoba-Oju says she began her sojourn as a writer at the age of five (or four according to a correction made by her mother at her book reading) with a poem written about a dying bird.
Speaking on what prompted her foray into the world of literature, she said at her book launch, “When you are the daughter of two university academics, and you live in the quiet and sometimes boring environment of Ilorin you read”. She cites Sefi Atta, Igoni Barrett, Jumoke Verrissimo, Lola Shoneyin and Dami Ajayi as some of her literary influences.
Diekara, or Dieko a childhood nickname that stuck with her over the years decided to put her creativity to the test at an early age and tread along paths trudged on by her role models and she is already getting quite the recognition. Top Nigerian authors like Molara Wood and Lola Shoneyin graced her book launch to show their support and admiration for the young writer.
Prolific musician and former judge on the MTN Project Fame, Ade Bantu as well as a number of upcoming writers and poets, academics and students all came to bear witness as Miss Diekara unveiled her thoughts laid bare on paper. Commenting on the Dieko’s successful book launch, Molara Wood acknowledged that the event turned out to be one of the book readings with the largest turnout in recent times.
Our star of the moment believes in the future and her country. According to her, Nigeria needs more pro-active people ready to disrupt the status quo and proliferate innovation. She has started to fight this battle in her own unique way by immortalising greatness in ink one page after another.