PRESIDENT’S WELCOME ADDRESS AT THE 2016 COOPERATIVE LEADERS’ CONFERENCE HELD AT ORCHID HOTEL, LEKKI – LAGOS BETWEEN 8TH – 11TH DECEMBER, 2016
With a mind full of gratitude to God Almighty, I welcome everyone of us to 2016 Cooperative Leaders’ Conference. I am overwhelmed with joy for the opportunity to welcome you again to the end of year activities of our Apex Cooperative organization, Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED), in my capacity as the President.
I appreciate the support and understanding of the leadership of Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperative Services, especially during the construction and commissioning of LASCOFED Building. Without mincing words, you will agree with me that, without the support of our coordinating ministry, we would not have gotten to where we are today.
Dear cooperative leaders, I wish to thank you also for your unflinching support for the last Board of LASCOFED which I led between July 2012 and July 2016 during which the LASCOFED Office Complex and Multipurpose Hall transformed from being a dream to reality.
I feel highly indebted to all cooperators who contributed the N200 per member development levy through their societies as well as to those who believed strongly in our leadership by advancing us credit to get the building completed, not forgetting everyone who through prayers, personal visits and commitment of time as well as professional advice and moral support rallied round and supported the project.
I am equally grateful for your collective resolve that I lead the Cooperative Movement for another 4 years and for your peaceful conduct at the Congress and Elections of members of the President-in-Council. On behalf of the President-in-Council and Board of Directors, I thank you most sincerely for reposing your confidence and trust in us, once again. We promise not to let you down.
The commissioning of the building on 19th July this year was a physical manifestation of our working together and a turning point for the Cooperative Movement of Lagos State. Our rating in the comity of state Cooperative Federations in Nigeria improved drastically. To justify and surpass our present rating, all hands must be on deck. Therefore, there is a pressing need for us to renew our urge of working together. We must regard and see ourselves as members of one indivisible family. We must all regard every resolution of LASCOFED as absolutely binding which must be respected and observed at all times. IT MUST BE OUR CARDINAL PRINCIPLE TO SUPPORT EVERYTHING LASCOFED.
COPING WITH CHANGE
This year’s conference and indeed our focus since the year started has been on the theme “Cooperative Administration in the Era of Change”. Change can occur as a result of any or a combination of two or more of technology, policy, manpower, vision, financial strength, political terrain, competition and climate as well as strategies and markets. The universal and age long adage is that ‘change is inevitable in life and permanent in nature’. You will agree with me that the change mantra is everywhere. The wind of change has been blowing and in order not to get blown off, we need to continue to sensitize ourselves and adopt strategies that will enhance coping with the change. On this premise, the conference during the plenary and breakout sessions shall discuss topical issues as highlighted by the Executive Secretary.
Diversification into Agriculture and Production
The reality of the recession has begun to bite hard on the populace and the Nigerian State necessitating the need for us going back to our roots. Before the Oil Boom, the regional governments developed their potentials in crops and agricultural products where they had comparative advantage. Therefore, with the recession the govt has renewed its call for us to engage in agriculture.
We decided to have the expert talk on agricultural value chain so that as individuals and cooperative societies, we would do our bit to improve food supplies, play active part in revitalizing the Nigerian economy. All over the world, cooperatives are involved in all sectors of the economy like agriculture, manufacturing, provision of services from cradle (crèche, schools) to grave (funeral), why not in Lagos State and Nigeria? It may interest you to know that the Best Western Hotel is owned by cooperative societies. There are utility cooperatives in Canada and the US engaged in generation of power. Why then are we complacent with thrift & credit and housing only?
As a body, LASCOFED is committed to providing qualitative leadership to the Cooperative Movement and ensuring that cooperative operations are up to date with happenings around the world.
Dear cooperative leaders, in order to make life easier for members while saving man-hours and cost, we bring to you discourse on how cooperative operations can be upgraded and digitized.
Introducing Cooperative Insurance
A pet program of this administration is the establishment of Cooperative Insurance Scheme. This is to be done as collaboration between LASCOFED and a Consortium of insurance companies with STACO Insurance Plc as the lead insurance company and with the full support of the government through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. The program is a Micro Insurance Scheme aimed at providing cover for cooperators and cooperative societies’ operations. In particular, the scheme is to mitigate risks associated with members and loan defaults.
A representative of STACO Insurance PLC would shed light on the scheme at a plenary session today.
Women and Youths
At the recently held 2nd Conference and 12th African Regional Assembly of The Alliance Africa (The Africa Region of the International Cooperative Alliance) held at Kigali, Rwanda, It was resolved that all stakeholders in the African region should commit to improving the participation of Women and Youths in cooperatives, if we are to build enduring cooperative businesses. We shall therefore run a topic on the roles of women and youths in sustaining cooperative businesses in the course of the conference.
I will be a happy man if within 6months of this conference; we begin to see remarkable changes in the kind of businesses we cooperatives engage in, in Lagos State.
Distinguished cooperative leaders, your attendance and participation at this conference is highly appreciated. I wish you make maximum use of the opportunities provided by the conference to interact, network and make new friends and business partners so that our cooperatives can be made better.
Once again, I am most grateful to you all and you are warmly welcomed.
Thank you for your attention and God bless.
9th December, 2016