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Dr. Josephine Okei-Odumakin; Warrior, Activist and Defender of the Universe

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The very first time I heard about her, she was a part of the Save Nigeria Group [SNG] canvassing for free and fair elections in the Nigerian elections of 2011. The SNG organised several rallies, peaceful protests and seminars to educate and the electorate [‘spectorates’ according to Prof Pius Adesanmi] and inform the powers that be that it was not going to be business as usual.

After the hullabaloo of the elections, subsidy removal engineered operation ‘Occupy Nigeria’, and there she was again at the forefront of the protests, rallies and demonstrations. Joe Okei-Odumakin seemed tireless in her exertions and indeed looked as though she would go on as long as it took…that is until the troops invaded Lagos and the Nigerian Labour Congress consorted with the Federal Government to produce a less than satisfactory resolution. Story for another day, or better still, it is water under the bridge. Moving on to the warrior that is Dr. Josephine.

Dr. Josephine Okei-Odumakin

Born in Zaria on July 4, Dr. Josephine grew up in Ilorin and schooled at St. Barnabas Primary School, Ilorin where she obtained her first school leaving certificate. Her secondary education was at the Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin, and thereafter, she undertook her A’ levels at the School of Basic Studies, Kwara State Polytechnic. Dr. Josephine earned a BA.Ed in English and Education in 1987 from the University of Ilorin. She earned her M.Ed in Guidance and Counselling and her Ph.D. (History and Policy of Education) from the same institution in 1996.

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So I am young [oh yes I am] and I was but a Babe when Dr. Josephine honed her skills in human rights activism.  From 1988-1991, she was the Secretary of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State branch and the Coordinator of Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kwara State branch from 1991 – 1996. Dr. Josephine also served as the Chairperson of both the now defunct Rethink Nigeria from 1987 – 1992 and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Kwara State branch from 1990 – 1996.

She was arrested and detained no fewer than seventeen times during the military administration of Babangida!!! Who knew?!

Dr. Josephine is presently the Executive Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies, the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative; the 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).  The Women Arise for Change Initiative aims to work for the women folk, breaking the culture of silence and finding expression for themselves in the social, political and economic relations in Nigeria. It also encourages women to come together to stand up against misuse and abuse by our male dominated society.

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A trail of recognition and awards has followed this brave and fearless crusader for justice. Her most recent, and I daresay most prestigious is the 2013 United State Secretary of State’s International Woman of Courage Award. One of only ten women, Dr. Joe received the award from the U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the Secretary of state, John Kerry at the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the US State Department at a ceremony which coincided with the International Women’s Day, March 8th.

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Though not a national honouree in Nigeria, Dr. Josephine has nevertheless been inundated with accolades from organisations far and wide. In 2012, the National Union of Lagos State (NULASS) The polytechnic Ibadan gave her an award of excellence as the most outstanding activist of the year; African Mouth Piece International gave her a Role Model Award; National Association of Ondo State students, presented a merit award to her in recognition of her selfless service in activism in Nigeria; 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; National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) gave her an Appreciation Award for her contribution to workers education in Nigeria; Department of Mass Communication, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta presented her with the prestigious Diamond Award in recognition of her selfless service and immense contribution to the development of the society; 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 Nigeria; Rotaract Club Egbeda District 9110, gave her the outstanding Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding performance, exemplary leadership qualities, her commitment to grassroots development and her selfless service to the uplifting of humanity in general.

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Come 2013, the Eminent International Gold Award was presented to her by First Eminent Associates for her Activism and Heroism.

Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin is a woman fulfilling her destiny; people are her passion and she will go to Kirikiri for them if she has to!

Kudos brave woman; you are well worth your awards, and then some!

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Why do I have a feeling that the next time the Nigerian National Awards train rolls in, there is gonna be a carriage with Dr. Josephine’s name on it?

Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
5 Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer in 2015: 1. Her newest collection of short stories, 'The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories' is available on 2. She ported from Blogger to WordPress and shares her uncensored thoughts on 3. She is an aspiring Filmmaker & Talk-show Host[ess] 4. She's a mother of two, wife of one and daughter of God. 5. She plans to travel around the world in less than 80 days... Now you Know! Find me on Twitter: @jennynkem

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  1. Ma, i am from Zaria, I have case I want you to help my family with. My newly born baby boy (out of twin) was adopted at birth & sold by a doctor. Pleease help.

  2. Dear Dr.Joe,

    I will like to see you for sensitive discussion please and will be please if you can give me an ample opportunity in that regards.

    Longest time. How are things, humanitarian job?

    I look forward to receiving your response please.

    Thanks and best regards.

    +234 8034737318
    +234 8028028211

  3. help Dr Joe a woman life is in danger she needs your help please before it’s too late call me to get details because I try getting your contact but I don’t know how OK 08109022090 thank

  4. Dear Dr Joe Odumakin,well done for the job doing well.Pls where is your office address and can i have your office address and phone contact to reach . There is a case of a woman on ground we need to report to you,the husband is about to kill her. my number is 08084552742 as i await your reply ASAP.Thanks

  5. Hello Dr, Please I dont know if you have read or heard about a guy called Pretty Mike ( Please google it) dragging Ladies with Dog Rope on their neck. I think is inhuman and demeaning to Women especially to our mothers out there. If hes’ fetish or wants to make names for himself, He should do it in his compound not doing it in the public and bringing our women to second slave trade. Pls arise to this occasion and stop this abuse against women. No body will see his or her Daugher being paraded in the public this way. Who knows whether these ladies are being hypnotized?

    Its a real Shame…….

  6. Hello Dr, please ma I have important issue to inform you, can I get your office address in Lagos or number that I can call. Thanks ma.

  7. Please Dr Obiajulu, I am quite surprise that there is no contact telephone or email address to reach, please could you advice where to get your telephone and email address. After searching for a long time I managed to get this page, and the reasing I am contacting you is that they is a case that has been brought to your office since early this year, the mother of the deceased is Stella Nwakwo and her daughter who is a mother of five who was killed by her partner who adopted her according to Ms Nwakwo was called Ifeanyichukwu Ubogu but according to the mother Mr Chukwuma Agu who adopted Ifeanyichukwu named her Ifeoma and made her to bear his name Agu even when they were not married. Please could you help this poor lady as the Nigerian police at Enugu, Lagos and the human right at Onisha has not done anything to help but to make things worse for her. Please invite this Ms Nwankwo to your office as soon as possible because the story surrounding her daughters death is not ordinary and Mr Chukwuma Agu the son of Livinus Agu from Enugu who adopted her before her sudden death has kept away from Ms Nwakwo’s family and no access to her 5 grand children also and she mentioned that the body of her daughter that she saw in the mutuary showed different parts of Ifeanyichukwu’s body were taken. Please if the police have taken money from her promising there needed money for transportation and accommodation but up till this moment they have done nothing about the case then please do not let her down, this is a single parent who managed to raise her children up all by herself and look at the trauma she’s going through. Thank you, I hope you will take up this matter as an urgent case.

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