Today, 31 December 2023, as ‘Kemi Okenyodo marks her 50th milestone, it is not just an occasion to celebrate a remarkable individual but to honour a legacy that has reshaped the contours of security governance, criminal justice reform, and NGO management in Nigeria and beyond. Her journey, rich with accomplishments, dedication, and unwavering commitment, stands as a testament to what passion and purpose can achieve.
With over two decades of invaluable experience, ‘Kemi’s contributions in the realms of police accountability, inclusive governance, and citizens’ engagement with security institutions have been groundbreaking. Her expertise has not only fostered a safer environment but has also championed the rights of individuals, particularly young women, elevating their voices and ensuring their inclusion in pivotal dialogues.
Educationally endowed, with credentials from esteemed institutions such as the University of Lagos, Nigeria Law School, and Walden University, ‘Kemi’s academic prowess complements her practical achievements. However, it is her hands-on approach, marked by innovation and leadership, that truly distinguishes her. The pioneering initiatives, like the mobile app for reporting experiences with court cases and the establishment of Nigeria’s first Public Defender’s Office in Kano, underline her visionary spirit and dedication to justice for all. In November 2017, the PDO set a monumental precedent for child rights by securing the conviction of a man who raped a six-month-old baby, a first of such conviction in Kano. The rapist was also compelled to pay the child’s family the sum of ten million naira as damages for the rape that occurred in May 2016.
Prior to ‘Kemi’s role as the Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative, she remarkably rose from the lowest entry position of an Assistant Programme Officer to become the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation over a period of 13 years. This is a feat yet to be equalled by any Nigerian. At CLEEN Foundation, under the leadership of its founder, the phenomenonal Innocent Chukwuma, she managed key processes that strengthened the then newly established Police Service Commission (PSC). She also served as Global Coordinator of the Altus Global Alliance of organisations working on public safety and security. In this capacity, she led an annual initiative called the Police Station Visitor’s Week (PSVW), which opened the police station to select community members for scrutiny and understanding.
As Chair of several influential organisations like NOPRIN and RULAAC, ‘Kemi’s influence resonates far and wide. Her mentees are founders of a number of influential NGOs, consultancy firms, and also hold key positions nationally and internationally. ‘Kemi Okenyodo is the Secretary-General, Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS), Nigeria Alumni Chapter.
Her strategic leadership, complemented by a dedicated team, has ensured that her vision of a just, accountable, and inclusive society continues to flourish. This fact is further recognised by her membership of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a position that confers a judicial responsibility on its holder.
Furthermore, ‘Kemi’s commitment to empowering women is evident in her NGO’s composition, with a staff strength predominantly comprising women. This deliberate effort underscores her belief in uplifting women, providing them with opportunities, and fostering an environment where they can thrive and contribute meaningfully to society
In honouring ‘Kemi Okenyodo at 50, AkweyaTV acknowledges not just a milestone in her life but a beacon that guides Nigeria towards a more equitable, just, and empowered future. Her legacy serves as an inspiration, reminding us all of the transformative power of dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of society. Here’s to ‘Kemi, a true embodiment of leadership, empowerment, and change.