A delegation of 18 Kenyan cooperative leaders recently embarked on a benchmarking study tour of cooperative societies in Lagos, Nigeria.

The tour was hosted by the Cooperative Federation of Nigeria (CFN) in collaboration with the Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED). The week-long tour aimed to deepen the delegates understanding of cooperative management and regulatory frameworks, fostering mutual learning and international cooperation.

The delegation, led by Mr. Jeremiah Kolim Lekoken Korooi commenced the tour with a courtesy visit to the secretariat of Cooperative Movement in Lagos state, LASCOFED secretariat, where they were received warmly by the President of LASCOFED, Barrister Oladipo Shobule and members of the President in Council.

President of LASCOFED in his welcome address, highlighted the significance of the exchange in strengthening cooperative movements of the two countries. This was followed by an educative presentation on ‘Regulatory Framework for Cooperative Societies in Lagos state’, by Mr. Kazeem Omotayo, Deputy Director, Lagos state Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment.

Visits were made to the Cooperative Societies within Lagos State University (LASU) and the Ejikota Cooperative Agricultural Multipurpose Society, a fish processing cooperative.

At LASU, the delegates were received by the President of Ojo Multipurpose Cooperative Union, Mr. Gbenga Ibilola who led them to the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji Bello.

Alhaji Ismail Shabi, 2nd Vice President of LASCOFED who represented LASCOFED President at the event, appreciated the management of LASU for providing a conducive environment for cooperative societies to operate and thrive in the university.

The delegates posed questions to the leaders of the various cooperative societies within the University to ascertain why there were 8 cooperative societies within the University. The leaders explained that membership was based on common bond and common goals which is one of the things that ensure the success and sustainability of cooperatives.

One of the oldest and vibrant cooperatives in Lagos, Eko Akete Multipurpose Cooperative society, also played host to the delegates from Kenya. The society which has over 13,000 members gave an enlightening and highly educative presentation on Financial Management and Members engagement. After the presentation, one of the outlets of the society, Eko Cooperative Farmers Mart located within Lagos state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja was visited by the delegates

During the visit, a day was dedicated to training where the Cooperative governance structure in Nigeria was presented by Mrs. Ebun Akin-Falaiye, Executive Secretary of LASCOFED. The training sessions were expository and highly inspiring as Mr. David Olatunji, presented a paper on ‘Leading Cooperatives in VUCA Times.

The tour reached a climax with a ride on ferries owned by The Medicals Cooperative Multipurpose Society. They also visited LASCOMED bakery and the society’s secretariat on Lagos Island.  The delegates were welcomed to Lagos Island (Isale Eko) with a cultural dance. The President of the society, Mrs. Olabisi Oshodi-Bakare, made a presentation on the various units and operations of the cooperative society. In particular, she informed the delegates that the bread which is produced in a hygienic environment is highly nutritious and healthy.

At the conclusion of tour, the participants expressed their appreciation for the warm hospitality and invaluable learning experiences provided by the various cooperative societies they visited. They informed the Cooplight crew that the visit had opened them to new areas of Cooperative business as they dwelt more on Saccos (CTCS) hitherto.

High Chief Tajudeen Oriyomi AYEOLA, President, Cooperative Federation of Nigeria expressed his appreciation to the President of LASCOFED and his team for receiving their counterparts from Kenya warmly.

He appealed for more collaborations and cooperation within the Cooperative Movement in Africa. He hoped that the cooperative sectors in both countries will collaborate more in the spirit of One Africa, One Cooperative.

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