Human rights activist and President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin has said that The Sun awards has rekindled her spirit to do more for the society.
The female activist made the remark, in Lagos, when Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, led a delegation to present the letter notifying of her emergence as winner of the Humanitarian Service Award 2017.
According to her, a lot of people believed that hope was lost and that Nigeria was corruption-ridden, but that The Sun management had demonstrated that some Nigerians and institutions could make the difference.
Describing the award as ‘the greatest gift that I have received,” the rights activist said she would cherish the honour all her life.
“This award is unique. It gives me hope and is reassuring. This is the greatest gift that I’ve received. It will go a long way in making me ever young,” she said.
Okei-Odumakin said she committed herself to human rights activism neither minding if anyone was watching nor expecting any reward.
She continued, “People always say that our reward is in heaven, but what I’ve seen here today, demonstrated by The Sun Management, is overwhelming. This has rekindled hope. It will encourage a lot of people to do more for the society and humanity.”
While thanking The Sun for the award, Okei-Odumakin also acknowledged the media company’s unique quality as a pacesetter. She recalled the pioneering effort of The Sun in organising a walk against domestic violence against women and children.
Earlier, Mr. Osagie had said that The Sun Board of Editors voted Okei-Odumakin for the honour for having impacted positively on humanity and the society.
In his words, “This is a country where generally people don’t care. But this is one woman who said I’d be there for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the despised. It takes a whole lot of courage and commitment to do that.
Osagie pointed out that The Sun awards were not given based on friendship, religious, ethnic or any other primordial considerations, stressing that it was purely on merit.
He stressed that The Sun’s Board of Editors voted for the Woman Arise president in recognition of her antecedents as foremost Nigerian democracy and women’s rights activist.
He said Joe-Odumakin exemplified the spirit of Mary Slessor with her activities, thus declaring her, ‘Mary Slessor of Nigeria.’
“For several years you have remained consistent in your pursuit of human rights, not minding the hazards to your person.”
The Sun Managing Director also described Okei-Odumakin as ‘an extremely brave woman who had been at the forefront of over 3,000 cases of violations of women’s rights, including extrajudicial practices against women, killings of women by their spouses, assault as well as rape.’
“You have exemplified exceptional courage and great leadership in advocating for women’s rights at personal risks,” Osagie said.
He said her brave and fearless crusade for justice made her a worthy recipient of the maiden The Sun Humanitarian Service Award.
The Humanitarian Service Award recognises Nigerians with proven records of exceptional humanitarian strides especially by improving human condition through saving lives, improving the quality of life and alleviating human suffering, while promoting human dignity as well as life.
The Sun team on the visit to Okei-Odumakin also included the Executive Director, Special Duties, Mr. Bolaji Tunji and Editor, Sunday Sun, Alhaji Abdulfatah Oladeinde.
The Sun awards 2017 presentation will be made at a grand ceremony on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at The Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.