Board of Trustees

Mr.  Akin Opeodu

Chairman

Mr. Akin Opeodu, a seasoned Chartered Accountant with over four decades of post-qualification expertise, holds the esteemed title of Fellow at both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in the United Kingdom. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the Nigerian Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

His extensive professional journey encompasses roles in audit practice, commerce, industry, and finance. Notably, he served as the Financial Controller of Vegetable and Fruits Processing Limited and contributed to the boards of Owena Bank (Nigeria) Plc (later becoming Omega Bank Plc) and Lawson Thomas & Colleagues Ltd (an advertising group), where he held the position of Group Chairman.

Mr. Opeodu’s influential presence extends to various company boards, including his role as Chairman of CMC Connect Limited (Perception Managers), Director of Multinational Technologies Ltd (oil service), and Director of VT Leasing Ltd, where he served as the founding CEO for 24 years. Additionally, he holds directorship positions in Atlantic Wave Marine & Logistics Ltd, Mutual Benefits Assurance (Liberia), and Mutual Benefits Assurance (Niger Republic), demonstrating his impactful engagement in the financial sector.

Beyond his corporate endeavors, Mr. Opeodu actively participates in philanthropy, serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria (DSFN) and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the African Refugees Foundation (AREF). He is also affiliated with the Lagos Petroleum Club.

In his personal life, Mr. Opeodu is happily married with four adult children and many grandchildren.

Mrs. Rose Mordi

National President/ CEO

Mrs. Rose Mordi, a British-trained Business Administrator born on January 13, 1948, is a prominent figure in philanthropy and social impact. Motivated by a profound desire to positively impact lives, Mrs. Mordi founded the Down syndrome Foundation Nigeria in 2001.

As a parent of a daughter with this condition she felt the need to help other families get the right information to help their children live a better life. Departing from the engineering company she co-founded with her husband, Mrs. Mordi embraced a dedicated path of service to humanity. With 23 years of unwavering commitment, the foundation has been at the forefront of addressing the challenges associated with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Mrs. Mordi’s recognition in championing the rights and well-being of persons with Down syndrome earned her a representation during the official declaration of March 21 as the World Down syndrome Day held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York in 2011.

Under her leadership, the Down Syndrome Foundation focuses on Medical, Educational, Vocational and Social Integration aspects. Notable achievements include the implementation of the Save-a-life Project (SALP). SALP, an ancillary charity that sponsors corrective surgeries overseas for children born with congenital heart defects.

A mother of four, Mrs. Mordi serves as a spokesperson and advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities. As the immediate past Chairperson of the Africa Down syndrome Network, she contributed to fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange on a continental scale. Additionally, she serves as a distinguished Member of the Lagos State office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) and holds positions in other relevant organizations. In these capacities, Mrs. Mordi actively contributes to the development and implementation of policies aimed at creating a more accessible and equitable environment for persons with disabilities in Lagos State and beyond.

Mrs. Mordi’s dedication has earned her numerous awards locally and internationally, recognizing her relentless pursuit of social justice and equity for persons with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Mrs. Rose Mordi’s advocacy extends far beyond her immediate roles. As a mother, spokesperson, and influencer within esteemed organizations, she leverages her expertise to drive positive change at local, regional, and continental levels. Her proactive engagement with governmental committees underscores her dedication to creating a more inclusive society through impactful policy reform and implementation. Mrs. Mordi’s leadership stands as a beacon of inspiration, illustrating the transformative power of advocacy when driven by a deep commitment to positive societal change.

Chief (Dr) John Agboola Odeyemi, MFR

Member
Chief (Dr) John Agboola Odeyemi, MFR, is the Obasewa of Ife and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He was born in Ile-Ife on 4th April 1939, finished Elementary Education at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, Ile-Ife in 1954 and later trained as Higher Elementary Teacher at St. Leo’s College, Abeokuta between 1956 and December 1959.  In 1965 and 1966, as a student on Sandwich course in Accounting at The College of Commerce & Technology, Wednesbury, Staffordshire England, he won the Rubbery Owen Prize, for the “Most Distinguished Student of the Year”; and “Outstanding Performance of the Year” respectively. Chief Odeyemi is the Chairman and Chief Executive of JKN Limited and JAO Investment Company Limited. He currently serves on the board of Kinley Securities Ltd – Stockbrokers. He is also the Chairman of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board of Trustees. He has held numerous leadership roles on the boards of several companies, including serving as the Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd (September 2006-March 2010); chairing Refuge Insurance Company Limited and Obafemi Awolowo University Investment Company Limited (January 2007- December 2012). His directorship extended to Lead Bank Ltd, OASIS Insurance Plc, Multimalt Limited, Sowsco Well Services Limited, and Kajola Integrated Investment Company Ltd. Other significant roles include: the Past President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Past President of NACCIMA, Chairman of the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (1990–1995), and past President of the Ife Development Board (1995–2004). He was a member of the National Political Reform Conference (February – July 2005); Member of the National Privatization Council (Bureau of Public Enterprise) (October 2004 – October 2006); Member of the Committee on The Assessment and Monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals (June 2005 – October 2006) and was the founding Member of the Governing Board of UNESCO Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation Centre in KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia. Notable accolades include being honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2005, receiving the State Distinguished Merit Award for Philanthropy and Community Development from Osun State Government in 2007, and being recognized with a Distinguished Merit Award by the ILE-IFE Community in 2008. Other commendations include receiving a Merit Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 2005; awarded Doctor of Science in Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University Ife in December, 2007 and a special award from the Federation of Construction Industry for his contributions to the infrastructural development in Nigeria in June 2009. Chief Odeyemi was appointed member of the Council of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State in September 2009; conferred Patron of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council in August, 2010 and appointed Patron, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers Foundation in October, 2011. Beyond his professional achievements, Chief Odeyemi is actively involved in philanthropy. He contributed significantly to the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, donating a building for the museum of antiquities. His commitment to the preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage is evident through numerous donations and he was honoured with an annual lecture series in his name. He served as the Chairman of Seham Health Care Foundation, a non-profit organisation committed to fostering public awareness and providing care for Viral Hepatitis in Nigeria. He is the Patron of CAREMI (foundation for the Care and Resettlement of the Mentally ill. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Down syndrome Foundation, Nigeria, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the well-being of individuals with Down syndrome. As a devout Christian, Chief Odeyemi contributes to the promotion of evangelism at Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church (AVMCC) in Ikeja and remains active in his original family church, St. Paul Anglican Church, Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife. He has played vital roles in the Ife Diocese and other Christian churches, including mentoring at St. Paul Anglican Model College Ayegbaju. He has contributed to major activities and developmental events in the Ife Diocese, Anglican and other Christian churches countrywide.  His community engagement extends to memberships in various societies, such as Christian Friends Society, Torch Bearers Society of AVMCC, and patronage of organizations like Prison Fellowship Nigeria, Lagos Chapter. Chief Odeyemi is also affiliated with prestigious clubs like The Metropolitan Club, Lagos, Beachland Boat Club, Ife Metropolitan Club, and holds the title of Rotarian, Paul Harris Fellow.

Mrs.  Susan Oyemade

Member

Mrs. Susan S. Oyemade, is a distinguished Educator, Secretarial Administrator, Entrepreneur, Nutrition and Weight Management Consultant, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Frequency Therapist, Motivational Speaker, Transformational Leader, and a Philanthropist. She is a Fellow of the Society of Teachers in Business Education. Her educational journey began in Nigeria, where she completed her primary, secondary, and teacher’s training before pursuing further studies in England in 1964.

While in in U.K, Susan gained professional qualifications, including a Higher Secretarial Diploma and Teacher’s Diploma in Business Education. She worked as both a Secretarial Staff and a Teacher during her time there. Susan is a member of various professional bodies, such as the Fellow of the Society of Teachers in Business Education (U.K) and Member of the Nigeria Association of Business Education (NABE).

Returning to Nigeria in 1972, Susan worked as an Executive Secretary and part-time Lecturer. In 1976, she established Speedwriting International Secretarial College, affiliated with the London Business College, with its graduates holding prominent positions in global organizations.

Susan’s dedication to quality education led her to serve on the boards of several educational institutions, including Lagos State Continuing Education, YWCA Secretarial College, Atlantic Hall Educational Trust Council, and Grange Education Limited. Presently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of Westerfield College, Lagos, The Teaching Network Foundation, and the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria, providing governance, strategic direction and financial support.

In 2006, Susan, along with her husband, Engr. Wale Oyemade, established a Center for Skill Acquisition for female inmates at Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, Nigeria.  With the support of her husband, Susan established foundations like the Heart of Compassion, the Foundation for the Development of Children and Youths, and the Susan & Wale Oyemade Foundation. These initiatives provide full scholarships for education up to University level, empower women and youths with interest-free loans, and offer financial aid to long-stay hospital patients. Susan’s philanthropic efforts extend globally, offering free counseling worldwide.

Her commitment to health and financial freedom led her to assist Forever Living Products International, in establishing Forever Living Products Nigeria, impacting thousands of lives across Africa and beyond.

Susan received numerous recognition awards, including the ECOWAS Distinguished Corporate Achievers of the Year (1998) and the Universal Peace Federation Ambassador for Peace Award (2011).

 

Susan Oyemade actively supports education, health, and community development, driven by a genuine love for children, youths, and elders.

Mrs. Patricia Manu

Member

Mrs. Patricia Manu is a Logistics & Supply Chain Executive with extensive professional experience and significant leadership accomplishments in Business and Philanthropy. She has Strong diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals.  

As a member of the Board of Trustees, Patricia intends to bring the inquiring mind fostered on the job and volunteer experiences. One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is that she gets to make a difference in people’s lives. Creating an environment that makes her realize that there is something bigger than herself and her desires. 

Patricia enjoys spending time with her family, discovering new recipes, and traveling. These travels she credits to her broadened horizons.

Mrs. Joyce Weekes

Member

Mrs. Unoma Joyce Weekes’ career spans across roles of influence, notably as the Retired Deputy Director of Economics and Administration in the Federal Civil Service, Lagos, Nigeria.

Venturing beyond borders to the USA, she served as the Coordinator for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Hartford. Here, Mrs. Weekes facilitated the reception, settlement, and immigration documentation for refugees and displaced families, embodying compassion in every interaction.

As a Board Member of Mercy Housing Hartford, Mrs. Weekes played a pivotal role in a non-profit organization run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Her commitment focused on aiding the homeless and those struggling with housing challenges.

Beyond her professional obligations, Mrs. Weekes extended her reach to Texas USA, contributing voluntarily to two Down syndrome facilities. Her altruistic endeavors reflected a dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others.

Mrs. Unoma Joyce Weekes holds a BSc in Economics from London University, supplemented by postgraduate studies in Economic Analysis, Economic Planning, Public Administration, Pre-shipment Inspection, and Training of Trainers. Her academic pursuits underscore her commitment to continuous learning and growth.

Mrs. Weekes, is a retired professional with a passion for service, leadership, and continuous advancement.  Her dedication to making a positive impact is further exemplified by her voluntary engagement as a Trustee with the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria. In this role, Mrs. Weekes has actively contributed to empowering and supporting individuals with Down syndrome, showcasing her commitment to advocacy and community service.

Mrs. Anne-Rose Obidi

Member

Mrs. Anne-Rose Obidi works as a Business Transformation Consultant, helping organisations integrate strategy, process, technology, and information, implementing operational changes and delivering measurable improvements.  

As parent governor at her children’s school, Anne-Rose is committed to bringing a parental perspective to all issues relating to the children and supporting the school achieve its mission of “success for all”. 

A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Anne-Rose believes that children have what it takes to bring more humanity to our world and that these formative years are crucial for helping each child reach their potential.

As a member of the board of trustees, Anne-Rose aims to bring her expertise in transforming organisations to maximise all opportunities for Down Syndrome Foundation whilst prioritising the children’s and young adults’ rights, inclusion, and well-being to help facilitate the best possible outcomes for all our children and help us create a future generation that would make us all proud.  

In her spare time, she loves travelling with friends and family, learning about new cultures, and understanding how communities influence and shape their people.

Mr. Ahaoma Kanu

Member

Mr. Ahaoma Kanu, a journalist, activist, and volunteer with the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria, graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Anambra State, Nigeria.  Joining National Daily Newspapers in 2006, he ascended to Head, Crime and Investigation Desk, accumulating extensive experience in global event coverage.

Mr. Kanu is a recipient of national and international journalism awards, including the Golden Pen Award and CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Award. He was the sole Nigerian individual journalist to win the CNN/Multichoice award.  He also contributes to online platforms like Sahara Reporters and Huhuonline, and has been a judge for five years in the Youth award initiative in Africa, the Futures Awards.

Mr. Kanu has covered high profile events to include the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate in 2011 and the 2012 United States Presidential election.  He has also authored articles and published works like “Sentenced in God’s Name” (2008) and “Adele-Misfortunes of a Missionary” (2014).  Mr. Kanu is currently working on a novel.

After winning the prestigious CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Award, he assumed the role of Chief Operations Officer at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He played a pivotal role in upgrading the publicity department, introducing a social media unit to showcase the party’s achievements.

Returning to the newsroom after his PDP stint, Mr. Kanu joined New Telegraph Newspapers as the Politics and Features Editor until February 2015. He later served on the National Planning Committee and as Secretary of the Lagos State Chapter for the Goodluck Jonathan “Get out the Votes” Initiative during the 2015 Presidential elections.

Ahaoma Kanu is married and currently residing in Toronto, Canada where he previously served as the Public Relations Officer of the Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna).

Solomon  Omere

Self advocate

Ms Awele Mordi

Self advocate

Ms Uloma Anyanwu

Self advocate

Ms Favor Jideonwor

Self advocate

OUR VISION

To be a beacon of hope, leading the way for a more inclusive society where the rights and opportunities of persons with Down syndrome are tangible realities.

Raise public awareness to reduce stigma, creating a more inclusive and understanding society.

Provide resources for parents, caregivers, and educators to enhance support for persons with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Advocate for legal rights and protection, ensuring the well-being of persons with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.