If one fails in one,one has failed in al
Joe Okei- Odumakin “ was born Josephine Obiajulu Okei on July 4,1966. she grew up in a Roman Catholic family and grew up to become a Human Rights Activist. In 1987, she bagged a Bachelors in English Education and a PhD in History and Policy of Education, from the University of Illorin.
On international women’s day in 2013, the First Lady of the United States bestowed upon her, the International Women of Courage Award.
This bold woman has taken upon herself to voice out her dismay about the ill treatment carried out on some humans. She has remained unfaltered by the threats or terror associated with being open minded and freedom of speech. Born into a family of three boys, Joe’s brothers influenced her early childhood, responsible for her taking part in football and acting like a tomboy. This trait imbibed the spirit of fearlessness in her. In her under 5 years, she would defend her friends.
Going on to attend a Nunnery, further reshaped her life as she was quote saying “I wanted to be a nun,it was what I wanted all my life” ,this led to a fracas with her father who threatened to disown her for fear that she might never procreate.
A turning point in her life started when she challenged the organizers of a meeting after noticing the agenda of the meeting had nei
ther an opening nor a closing prayer, she was condemned and thrown out, however, about a forthnight later, she was re-invited and dubbed” Reverend Sister”
Citing Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Karl Max as her earliest influencers, the activist also claimed serving her fatherland at the 35th Amphibious Battalion with soldiers molded her.
Quoting Martin Luther King at a manifesto, paved way for her becoming secretary of women in Nigeria,Illorin Branch. This marked the beginning of her journey.
The altruistic woman praised Fela for encouraging her and also attributed some of her inspirations to him and his Brother,Beko. The Defence of Human Rights and Campaign for Democracy were later formed in 1989 and 1991 respectively.
From the position of a secretary,she went on to become a treasurer and was then promoted to the chairperson. The post came with his challenges, a huge one at that.
Joe was detained in and out of prison about 17 times, she was urinated on by a Police officer, one midnight when she went to paste posters at the police headquarters. The police officers at first,mistaking her for a snake, beat her up and almost killed her. The timely intervention of the motorcycle man that conveyed her to the premises, alleviated her punishment. She was arrested and beaten to a pulp. The government instructed the police to arrest her father who could not control his daughter.
Joe pointed the fact that she rarely goes to the market because when her presence is felt in the market, she ends up being appreciated in turns by her admirers and not buying anything at all. A proud mother, she recalled how she had her child on the supposed day of a Press Conference for Adesanya,after delivery, she immediately went for the conference without the doctor or her mother’s consent, only her husband whom she met in prison,Comrade Odumakin, knew.
Joe Odumakin is a woman that will forever be in the hearts of Nigerians and her legacy will always live long.