ADDRESS DELIVERED BY LASCOFED PRESIDENT BARR. OLADIPO SHOBULE AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF 2022 MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE UNION RETREATS

I am eternally grateful to God for another opportunity to be in your midst for this annual event. I join the Chairman and the planning committee to welcome everyone to the program and appreciate God for journey mercies.

I congratulate and appreciate the Chairman and other leaders of Multipurpose Cooperative Unions who united to organize this event. This is a demonstration that LASCOFED Board members own and are committed to the resolutions of the Board and that such resolutions are adequately communicated to member affiliates back home.

Our training focus this year is themed MAXIMISING THE COOPERATIVE BUSINESS MODEL. You will recall that the 2022 International Cooperative Day’s theme –Cooperatives Build a better world highlights how cooperatives around the world have been intervening in the affairs of men through democratically-controlled enterprises that imbibe cooperative principles and doing business in more ethical and responsible ways than other models. The global cooperative movement, International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), has been able to prove to the world through the United Nations that it is a business model to be reckoned with as they are in practically all sectors of the economy doing business with human face.

Cooperatives are involved in the lives of mankind from cradle to grave in sectors such as agriculture, health, education, transportation(land, air and water), hospitality, entertainment, finance, production, marketing, insurance and mutual, funeral, energy etc. They specialize and control some of these sectors in their climes.

While applauding the Cooperative Movement in Lagos state for blazing the trail in so many ways in Nigeria, I want to say without fear of contradiction that we are still scratching the surface when it comes to our involvement in the Nigerian economy.  Cooperative products are still very scanty in the supermarkets; our presence is not yet felt by majority of the people.

I wish to encourage cooperative leaders that we should take the cooperative business to even greater heights by diversifying and broadening our potentials to be involved in the economy probably by identifying one or 2 sectors where we can synergize to make our mark as a Movement.We sincerely need to step up our game as managers of cooperative business concerns. We need to grow our brand and strife to call the shots in some sectors.

May I remind us that growth does not occur by chance. It occurs as a result of focus, commitment and synergy. We need to synergize with other cooperative organizations with similar objectives and commitment. We need to have mega cooperative societies to enable us benefit from economies of scale. I therefore want to charge us to rise from this retreat more determined for success and to make the cooperative brand a household name in Lagos State and Nigeria through our positive impact in the lives of members and non members alike.

It is on this premise that I commend the organizers of this retreat for the topics as they are apt and relevant for maximization of cooperative as a business model.

Closely related to the issue of making our mark in the economy is the issue of data. As a Movement, we need to cooperate to have concrete and reliable data on our activities and the contributions we are making to Lagos economy.

Therefore, we have designed a simple, user-friendly form for collection of data. I want to plead with members to see this as our project which is meant to enable us know our strength, blow our trumpet and attract positive attention to cooperatives as a business model. I appreciate those that have already filled and sent the forms while appealing to those yet undecided that it is necessary for our image.

Lastly, I want to remind us that we need to ensure that cooperatives as business model outlives our generation by encouraging the youth to imbibe cooperation. Cooperative Federation of Nigeria has directed all States to work on this urgently. As we are begging for attention of government, our youths are also begging for our attention. I appeal to the MCU executives to identify cooperators that fall between the age of 18 and 35 in our cooperatives and form them into youths in cooperative so that as a Movement, we will be able to hear them out and address issues that are peculiar to them. This is a sure way to go for continuity and sustainability.

Mydear cooperative leaders, I urge us to be upright, transparent and be guided by the tenets and principles of cooperatives at all times. It is important that we make the overall success of our organization to be our driving force and integrity our bedrock.

Finally, I am using this medium to appreciate all stakeholders who participate actively in the activities of LASCOFED. All your efforts shall not go unrewarded.  May we witness many more years of cooperation, Amen.

I thank you most sincerely for your attention.

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