Dr. Joe Odumakin
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 an unjust system which rewards the crook and punishes the just. She graduated from University of Ilorin, Ph.D. (History and Policy of Education) in 1996.
Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin has over 30 years’ 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.
She was the General Secretary, Campaign for Democracy (CD) from March 1996 – July 29, 2006 (10 years) when she became the President on July 29- March 19, 2016 (10 years). She’s also the President of Women Arise, Chairman, Task Force of the Citizens Forum, Spokesperson, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations, President, Centre for Change and Convener, Nigerians Unite Against Terror (NUAT).
Dr. Joe has won many awards to her credit. In summation, she won 20 Awards in 2007, 24 Awards in 2008, 30 Awards in 2009, 40 Awards in 2010, 45 Awards in 2011, 50 Awards in 2012. In March 2013 alone, she received four International Awards, including the US International Woman of Courage; 55 in all, 58 awards in 2014; 68 awards in 2015, 70 awards in 2016, 70 awards in 2017; 74 awards in 2018; 75 awards in 2019; African Woman of the year award was presented to her by African Leadership Awards in February 2020;680; All Time Humanitarian Award 681; and 682 Humanitarian Award from Nigerian Youth Group in total 794… Still counting.
Her consistency and unwavering determination for survival of democracy in Nigeria made Professor Wole Soyinka to describe her as follows on the 4th of 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.