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.
She graduated in 1987 at the University of Ilorin where she got a BA.ED English and Education. 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.
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, 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:
In 2007, 10 Awards, 2008 14 Awards, 2009, 12 Awards, 2010, 15 Awards, 2011, 16 Awards, 2012, 10 Awards.
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 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.
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.
In 2015 alone she received 19 Awards.
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”.