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.An International Woman of Courage


Josephine “Joe” Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin is a Nigerian women’s rights activist.She is the president of the rights groups “Women Arise for Change Initiative” and the”Campaign for Democracy”.
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin traversed courageously where men fear to tread. She remained consistent without minding the hazards to her person in a society where critical voices are loathed by unjust system which rewards the crook and punishes the just.
Dr. Joe was born in Zaria on July 4, she grew up in Ilorin and started her schooling at St. Barnabas Primary School, Ilorin where she obtained the first school leaving certificate. She thereafter moved to Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin where she passed her West Africa School Certificate. She pursued her A’ levels at the School of Basic Studies, Kwara State Polytechnic.

1987 - 1996


She later proceeded to the University of Ilorin where she got a BA.ED English and Education in 1987. She returned to the same school and bagged her M. Ed in Guidance and counseling and her Ph.D. (History and Policy of Education) in 1996.
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin has over 25years experience in human rights work in Nigeria. She cut her teeth in activism as the Secretary of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State from 1988 – 1991 and the Coordinator of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State branch 1991 – 1996; Chairperson, Rethink Nigeria (1987 – 1992) and Chairperson, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Kwara State branch (1990 – 1996).Her foray into human rights activism was at a period when the Babangida dictatorship was baring its fangs and locking up critical voices. She became one of the targets of the administration as she was arrested and detained for not less than seventeen times at different locations: Division B Police Station Ilorin; Police Headquarters Ilorin; SSS Headquarters Ilorin; SSS HQ Maitama Abuja; Panti Police Station Lagos; Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos; and Alagbon Close in Lagos.
But her spirit was not daunted and became the Assistant General Secretary of CD in 1994 at a time the battle against the annulment of June 12 had become so fierce

1996 - 2006

She was the General Secretary of the body from March 1996 – July 29, 2006 (10 years) when she became the President on July 29, 2006. She is also the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies, the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative; Chairman, Task Force of the Citizen Forum, Spokesperson, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and President, Centre for Change in Community Development and Public Awareness(CDP). She has received several awards at the national and international levels. Too numerous to mention some of which are:


In March 2007, the United Nations of Youth Nigeria gave her an award as the “Hero of Democracy and Good Governance”.
In October 2007, she was given an award by Development Issues Initiatives Association (DINA) for her contribution to national development and human rights, the same October she was given an award by Human Rights Now as “The Defender women”
In November 2007, Assemblies of God Church, Festac Town, Lagos gave her an award as the “Icon of Democracy”
In September 2007, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Oyo State Chapter gave her an award as “The Hero of Democracy”.


She also received an award in Imo State of Nigeria in November 2008 as “The Defender of Women’s Rights” during the commemoration of Aba Women Riot.
August 19, 2008, she was authorized and commissioned to serve as an ambassador of Good will from Arkansasto the people of nations beyond the borders of the United States or wherever this Ambassador of Arkansas may hereafter travel or reside.


June 2, 2009, Encomium Magazine gave her an award in human rights advocacy. The same June, Tell Magazine honoured her as the “Hero of Democracy”.


In March, 2010 Rebrand Nigeria gave her an award as the “Hero of Democracy”. In May, CEPAN recognised her as an “Advocate for Good Governance”.
Also in July, Good Shepherds Schools in Lagos gave her an award as the “Role Model of the Year award”.
In September 2010 the Priceless Jewels Initiative gave her an award as the “Champion of Women Empowerment”.
October 2010 “Beacon of Hope Award” given by Empower Africa for Change.
November 25, 2010 International Institute for Humanitarian and Environmental Law gave her an award in recognition of her selfless service.


Feb, 2011, Change Nigeria Today honoured as Amazon of Democracy.
April, 2011, Women Democratic Frontiers recognised her as Champion of Women Cause,
June, 2011 History and international Relations Students, Isolo, LASU gave her an award as icon of Democracy
August 2011, Priceless jewels initiative honoured her as hero of Democracy.
In November 2011, Empower Africa for Change gave her another award as an “Ambassador of Goodwill”.
November 2011, National Association of Local Government students, Faculty of Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University presented an Award of excellence to her as Grassroot Advancement Women Ambassador.


In March 8, 2012 the West Africa Students’ Union (WASU) in recognition of her exemplary role in leadership enrichment and humanitarian services gave her the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award on Humanitarian Services/Icon of Hope.
Also on March 28th, 2012, the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) gave her an Appreciation Award for her contribution to workers education in Nigeria.
In the same month of March 2012, she received the prestigious Diamond Award which was presented to her by the Department of Mass Communication, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta in recognition of her selfless service and immense contribution to the development of the society.
On May 26th, 2012 the students’ Representative Council of Lagos State University gave her an award of excellence for her tremendous contribution to good governance in Nigeria.
Again on 7th June, 2012 upward BAO Consulting and young Voters Initiative Lagos Presented Dr. Joe Okei-odumakin with Excellence in Activism Award in recognition of her selfless service in Activism in Nigerian.
On June 16, 2012, she was given yet another award of exemplary service by Rotaract District 9110, for her commitment to the uplifting of humanitarian course and outstanding service towards national development.
July 7, 2012, Young Voters Initiative presented Excellence in Activism & Women Rights Defender Award in recognition of her selfless service in Activism.
July 10,2012 National Union of Lagos State (NULASS) The polytechnic Ibadan gave her an award of excellence as the most outstanding activist of the year.
August 10, 2012, African Mouth Piece International gave her Role Model Award.
August 11, 2012 National Association of Ondo State students, the polytechnic Ibadan presented a merit award to her in recognition of her selfless service in activism in Nigeria.
October 23, 2012, Rotaract Club Egbeda District 9110, give her outstanding Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding performance, exemplary leadership qualities and her commitment to grassroot development and her selfless service to the uplifting of humanity in general.


January 3, 2013 Eminent International Gold Award was presented to her by First Eminent Associates for her Activism and Heroism.
In March 2013 alone she received four International awards.
On March 4th Allegheny Rich Fitzgherald County Executive made a proclamation, thanking and commending Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin for her work in promoting women’s rights and for her willingness to sacrifice for others.
March 6th 2013 American Women of International Understanding (AWIU) Washington D.C. United State of America presented her a certificate of recognition for her exemplary humanitarian efforts and her dedication in furthering human rights and dignity of women in Nigeria.
On March 8, 2013 Department of States, United State of America Secretary of State International Woman of Courage Award for her leadership, courage, resourcefulness and willingness to sacrifice for others, especially for better promotion of women’s rights.
March 15, 2013 Major Bob Filner of the city of San Diego- State of California presented her Neighborhood Hero Award in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to their community service to their community
On 7th May, 2013, The commandant of Nigeria Army College of logistics, Maj Gen. ABM Gana gave her a plague of complement in recognition of her effort in promoting Democracy, Peace Building and conflict Management.
Recently she received an Award of Human Right Advocate presented to her by College of Environmental Resources Management Student Association, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta dated May, 8th, 2013.
On the 18th day of May, 2013 Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin again received a “Special Recognition Award” from Women for Africa in the United Kingdom. This was in recognition of her many pro-women activities.
On Monday 27th May, 2013 Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin was “The Pride of Women Award” by Women of Substance in recognition of her contribution to Women issues.
In the same month of May 29th 2013. Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin received a Narj Ambassadorial Award for Integrity presented to her by Nigeria Association of Christian Journalists.
On 20th June, 2013 office of the head of Service Lagos State Government Presented her an Award for her selfless service at the public service celebration.
On Monday 4th November, 2013 Wimbiz Presented to her “Female Achiever Award” in recognition of her outstanding achievement as an advocacy for justice freedom and rights of Nigerians.
On Thursday the November 7th she was made an Integrity Ambassador by Integrity International, Accra.
On Sunday November, 10th Africa Mouthpiece International presented an Award of Mother of Justice for Voiceless Nigeria 2013 to her, In recognition of her accomplishment as an activist.
November 25, 2013 Exquisite Magazine gave her ‘Equisite Lady of the year Award, Eloy, in recognition for her role in Human Rights Protection in Nigeria.
December 2013 Hallmarks of Labour Foundation (HLF) gave her Gani Fawehinmi Life time Achievement Award as a consistent Advocate.


On 20th of February, 2014 Centre for Leadership and Excellence Awarded her Certificate of Merit Award in recognition of her selfless service to humanity and contribution to Nation Building at a special symposium organized to mark United Nations World Social Justice Day.
Trade Union Congress also gave her an Appreciation Award for her contribution and enlightenment in Nigeria on 14th March, 2014
She also received an Award of Recognition for her consistent selfless contributions to the pursuit of social change and justice as well as for her unparalleled advocacy for the common and greater good of the downtrodden children and women of Africa on the 18th day of May, 2014.
On 27th May, 2014 The National Association of IJAW Female Student (NAIFS ALUMNA), Lagos Chapter presented an Award of recognition and appreciation for her immense contribution in the 2014 Child Safety Campaign.
African Child Foundation also gave her 2014 African Child Prize Laureate in Advocacy in recognition of the successful completion of the requisites and nomination of African Child Foundation on 28th May, 2014.
TIMAKH College presented Primus Inter Peres Award to her in Due Recognition of her Sterling Championing of Democracy and Human Rights Globally on 6th June, 2014.
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) presented a Heroin of Democracy Award In recognition of her Genuine struggle towards the entrenchment and sustenance of Democratic Values in Nigeria on Friday 27th June, 2014.
Sunday September 29th TW Magazine presented her an award as Woman of Verve Award
In November 2014 All African Heritage Association Presented Yoruba Heritage Award to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin as Human Rights Crusader of the Year, Atlanta, USA.
On 14th May, 2015 African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention, AYICRIP, Presented Crime Prevention Personality Award to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin in recognition of her commitment and contribution to the global fight against crime through youth development and empowerment.


On 14th May, 2015 African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention, AYICRIP, Presented Crime Prevention Personality Award to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin in recognition of her commitment and contribution to the global fight against crime through youth development and empowerment.


March 2016 Leading Woman gave her life time achievement award.
April 29, 2016 Family Empowerment & Youth Orientation gave her an outstanding service award.
21st April, 2016 Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State gave her an award of excellence.
May 7,2016 Society for Youth Advancement and Creativity (SHACO) gave her an award as The Good Mentor.
May 20, 2016 Student Union University of Ilorin, Presented an award of excellence.
25th July, 2016 She received an Amazon of the year award by Moremi Hall, UNILAG.
29th July, 2016 African Child Foundation presented her a Role Model Award as Advocate of the masses.
August 8, 2016 Women in Leadership presented her icon of the masses award.
August 12, 2016, Steadfast Club Lagos, presented her an award in recognition of her selfless service.
August 13, 2016 Mariere Hall (Baluba Kingdom, Unilag) Presented her Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her selfless Invaluable Service.
September 4, 2016 Classic Magazine International presented her Outstanding Social Crusader of year Award.
October 2nd 2016, Young Achiever Nigeria Magazine gave her a Special Recognition Award as the Standard Bearer for integrity personality of the year.

Her consistency and unwavering determination for survival of democracy in Nigeria made Professor Wole Soyinka to describe her as follows on 4th July 2006.
“I present to you a tireless fighter whose frail bearing, bellies an inner strength and resilience purpose, a veteran of affirmative marches, of crude arrests and detentions, baton charges and tear gas who have lent luster to the struggle for justice and human dignity, who remain an inspiration of men and women, old and young”.
And at the celebration of Ambassador Walter Carrington’s 80th birthday commemoration in Lagos, the Ambassador in recognition of her efforts in sustaining democracy in Nigeria described her as “a fearless, fiery champion of democracy and human rights”.