By Angela Atabo
Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Anambra governor, has urged Nigerians to embrace cooperative societies to enable them access funds and fight poverty.
Ezeife gave the advice at the Non-Governmental Association for Literacy Support Services (NOGALSS) National Cooperative Strategic Programme in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, leveraging on cooperative platforms will guarantee financial stability especially in times like this.
“The most important thing is to make sure you are going into something with trust, this NOGALSS cooperative justifies any trust.
“It is in 36 states of the federation plus Abuja and today they are launching six other branches; I am not just a patron but also a member of the cooperative.
“If you are a member and you need funds for economic activities, you go and borrow from the cooperative and that is why there is empowerment .
“So you have to pay in something and belong to the cooperative and make sure you are able to obey the rules then it works for you,” he said.
The President of NOGALSS,Mr Noah Emmanuel said the association was aimed at creating wealth and financial empowerment within the family of mass literacy, audit and non formal education sector in Nigeria.
Emmanuel said that with the rising number of illiteracy in Nigeria, they needed to find ways of funding education to compliment government’s effort in the provision of adult and non formal education.
“It is a known fact that one of the main reasons for illiteracy is poverty occasioned by the inability to access funds for economic activities.
“NOGALSS is the umbrella body of all NGOs and private voluntary organisations in Nigeria with structures in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“The cooperative was registered in 2018,we believe that if our members are wealthy ,the organisation will be wealthy thereby resulting to literate Nigeria within a short time,” he said.
Emmanuel said that NOGALSS existed in units from a minimum 10 to maximum of 30 members after which another unit would be created.
He said that the essence of the cooperative was to build a sustainable financial base through monthly contribution made by members to ride on to access additional funds from development partners.
He said that these funds were used to venture into other wealth creation activities on behalf of the cooperative members and to support mass literacy activities as agreed by the cooperative.
Emmanuel said that six units were inaugurated including state coordinators across the 36 states adding that NOGALSS cooperative standing committee and investiture of national patrons, matrons and advisers were also inaugurated.
This, he said was because a literate Nigeria was a task that would be achieved by the cooperative and this would be done through financial prosperity.
Mr Emmanuel Atama, Executive Secretary,National Cooperative Financial Agency of Nigeria (CFAN),said that cooperatives played greater role in enhancing the lives of Nigerians.
According to Atama,in the federal secrtariate for instance, if you see 10 cars parked at the stand, eight were bought through cooperatives.
“What I am trying to say is that cooperative help people to save money and when they save, they save for the rainy day.
“That is the more reason why today when people retire from service they are no longer embarrassed because they have been able to save for the rainy day aside their terminal benefit,” he said.
Atama said that in most cases, retirees got access to the cooperative savings even before their terminal benefits were paid.
He said that with the type of society now where things were no longer easy, cooperative was the in rout to which people got access to basic necessities of life.
He explained that cooperative societies were not just about money because they were also engaged in providing services like healthcare, pension, housing, access to farming input,access to market and so many other good things of life.
Atama advised that every Nigerian should try as much as possible to get involved so he could actually plan for himself.
He said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with African Diaspora Chamber of Commerce with the headquarters in Washington to enhance financial inclusion for members of cooperatives across Nigeria.(NAN)