Address by Engr Jibrin Bala, national president, Co-operative Federation of Nigeria (CFN) during a courtesy visit to the Hon minister of agriculture and rural development, Abuja on 17th October 2013.



About five months ago, precisely on 28th May, 2013 I led the Regional Director of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Africa, Dr. Chioye Sifa, and some members of the Board of Directors of the Co-operative Federation of Nigeria (CFN) to pay you a courtesy visit. Dr. Sifa was in Nigeria to hold consultation with the ICA member organizations in Nigeria, which are the CFN, Odu’a Co-operative Alliance (ODA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Staff Co-operative, Lagos with a view to electing on board member among us to represent the West African sub-region on the ICA Africa Regional Board. In addition, the ICA Africa Regional Director held an interactive session with our co-operative members in Abuja on ICA Africa Co-operative Development Strategy.

Today, we are here to intimate you on developments following the last of the ICA Africa Regional director and our preparations towards the forthcoming ICA Global International Conference and General Assembly holding in Cape Town, South Africa, from 1st to 5th November, 2013.

We are glad to report to you that for the first time, the Co-operative Movement of Nigeria was able to second a staff to ICA Africa based on request. Early September 2013 Mrs. Lydia Fayanjuola of Delta State Co-operative movement was presented to CFN Board which approved her secondment to the ICA Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya. This was not a father christmas gesture. It was a step taken to capacitate the ICA Africa Regional Office and in consideration of the strategic interest of the Co-operative Movement in Nigeria. The financial implication of this commitment is about US$32,000.00 per annum which our members have raised to provide accommodation, utilities, return ticket and some monthly stipends for Mrs. Fayanjuola.

It is also pertinent to intimate you that Mr. Joseph Adeleke Ojeyemi, President of the NNPC Staff Co-operative Lagos, was unanimously adopted by the CFN Board to stand for elections for the position of Board member of the ICA Global Board, representing Africa.

Why is Nigeria interested in this position? We consider that the Nigerian Co-operative Movement has a strong potential to develop into a dynamic movement that will provide greater opportunities for members and the general public for employment and job creation. However, the Nigerian Co-operative movement must develop its potential and the ICA possesses what it takes to help strengthen Nigeria’s co-operative movement. For example, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development presents a great opportunity for co-operative entrepreneurship, but co-operative members must be capacitated to take advantage of this opportunity. It is in this regard that one can better appreciate the ICA Africa Co-operative Development Strategy which has agriculture as its first pillar. The leadership of Co-operative movement of Kenya in Africa today cannot be divorced from decades of ICA presence and positive influence. This sums up why the Co-operative movement of Nigeria considers constructive engagement with the ICA at both Regional and Global levels key to its development. In modest opinion, strengthening the co-operative movement of Nigeria will pay good dividends to the ATA because the co-operative system presents a most efficient way of driving a programme involving millions of subsistent farmers across a vast landmass, the size of Nigeria.

In conclusion, we must express just how proud we feel about our Honourable Minister being recognized by the ICA Global to be a keynote speaker at the international conference in Cape Town during the General Assembly. We wish to remind you of the pledge you made with  regards to ICA Africa contribution of US$100,000.00 being the amount to capacitate ICA Africa Regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, agreed to pay by Honourable Ministers responsible co-operatives in Africa. This is particularly urgent since smaller countries like Lesotho have paid. We also wish the Honourable Minister would consider nominating a candidate for consideration by the ICA Africa Regional Board for membership of the ICA Africa Endowment Fund during the General Assembly in Cape Town.

I cannot conclude without expressing our profound appreciation and thanks to the Honourable Minister for his keen interest in the progress of the co-operative movement. We also thank the Permanent Secretary for her kind gesture which has always made it possible for us to visit the Honourable in spite of the Minister’s very tight schedule.

Thank you for your kind attention and God bless.