Welcome to THE OKENYODO, official website of Nigerian writer, poet and journalist Odoh Diego Okenyodo. Born December 2, 1974, Okenyodo is a Nigerian writer, pharmacist, activist poet and journalist, who is one of the founders of Kaduna Writers’ League, KWL.
He is also one of the Directors of Splendors Of Dawn Poetry Foundation. He co-edited Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria, an anthology of new Nigerian writers. The anthology included works by the most renowned contemporary Nigerian writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helon Habila.
Born on 2 December 1974 in St. Theresa’s Hospital, Otukpo, Benue State, Nigeria, Odoh Diego Okenyodo attended the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria where he led a literary collective known as the Creative Writers’ Club. As a result of his activities in the club, he was expelled by the military administration of Major General Mamman Kontagora, a military administrator who was foisted on the institution in 1995 following a violent conflict in the university.
Okenyodo was reinstated in 2001, after three years battling the university authorities in court and at various panels, including the famous “Oputa Panel”. During period out of the university, he lived on his writings and literary performances. After graduating with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), Odoh continued journalism practice, after the compulsory internship at Nana Pharmacy and Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Tudun Wada, Kaduna.
In September 1999, the defunct Weekly Trust (now Daily Trust, both published by Media Trust Ltd) engaged him as a freelance correspondent, which marked the formal beginning of a long-incubating career in journalism. Earlier at the ABU Zaria, Okenyodo contributed to and edited some campus magazines.
On the 23rd of June 2001, Okenyodo, working with colleagues—Sumaila Umaisha, Aba Ejembi, Jerome Ajayi—founded the Kaduna Writers’ League. He was the Kaduna Writers’ League’s chairman from inception to the year 2006. Okenyodo led the editorial team of After the Curfew, an anthology of creative writings drawn from the League’s five-year collection of a weekly bulletin known as Crocodile.
He was elected National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) in November 2003, serving till November 2007. In December 2010, he was appointed the chairman of the local organising committee of the association’s 30th-anniversary convention held in Abuja in October 2011. Okenyodo is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Abuja, serving in the publicity and public relations committee.
In 2006, Odoh Diego Okenyodo had relocated from Kaduna to work with the Abuja-based Alliance for Credible Elections as Media Coordinator. From the alliance of civil society organisations, he got employed with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) as a senior programme officer responsible for the organisation’s communication.
In January 2009, in search of private-sector experience, he moved to CMC Connect Burson-Marsteller (Perception Managers) to head the marketing communication firm’s public affairs office based in Abuja. He is now managing director of Isu Media Ltd, an Abuja-based public relations, advertising and copyediting firm.
Odoh was part of the British Council/Lancaster University’s Crossing Borders literary mentorship programme in 2005 and the InWent’s Measuring Democracy, Governance and Human Rights course in Namibia (2008). He has worked on a freelance-writer basis for the BBC World Service Trust (now BBC Media Action), ActionAid, Coalitions for Change, Centre for Democracy and Development, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, etc.
From 2013 to 2014, he served as Communications Support Consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in which capacity he coordinated Communication and Awareness Raising for the Nigeria Country Office projects on anticorruption, drugs, antitrafficking and migration, and justice sector reforms. He provided training for journalists and the public relations teams of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on communicating trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
In June 2014, he joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria Country Office as Training Officer, leading the capacity building of over 20,000 community mobilisers and facilitators in interpersonal communication skills, resulting in improved attitudes to immunisation. Having cut a clear path in the field of Communication for Development, Odoh left UNICEF in September 2018 back to Isu Media Ltd on which platform a partnership was entered with the Abuja-based Human Rights Radio and Television, where he has served as General Manager since 2nd of January 2019.
His book of poems, intriguingly titled From A Poem to its Creator, was released in March 2009 by Hybun Publications International to high critical acclaim. “Okenyodo’s poetic exploration can be described as eclectic as he uses poetry to make social comments, admonish and define poetry itself,” a critic says of the collection. Another says: “Going through Okenyodo’s poetry, you are knocked into place.”
Some of his poems can be found on Poem Hunter, and other websites.
Awards and Honour:
- A Poem to its Creator was shortlisted for the US$50,000 The Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2009.