Origin And Development Of Co-operative Societies In Nigeria (a Case Study Of Imt Multipurpose Co-operative Society Enugu)

Cooperative Economics Project Topics

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1.0            INTRODUCTION



There is a discernible pattern of co-operative development in African and Asian countries, which were former colonies of Europe, Nigeria is no exception.  During the colonial days the seed of co-operation was sown but it could only grow slowly.  At this points, co-operative were restricted to serve only the purpose of the paymaster (the white man).  Co-operatives then were not allowed to grow or expand into the hinterlands.


In Nigeria, the first hint on co-operative emergence occurred during the first would war.  This co-operative which happened to be a consumer co-operative was, modeled the Rochdale of England – home of the colonialist.  These early co-operative societies existed to ratio out goods, which were very scarce during the world war and died a natural death sown after the world war.


Thereafter, in 1926, the then colonial Agricultural ministry began organizing cocoa farmers around Abeokuta and Ibadan in Western Nigeria to market their product especially to Europe where the colonial masters needed it for their home industries.  This was also the patterned development of co-operative in British colonies.  After this experiment, the Western region of Nigeria embraced co-operative, especially marketing types.


The Agricultural ministry continued to maintain control and supervision over these western co-operative societies.  Emboldened by this sequence in co-operative acceptance in the west and the attendant success of the marketing co-operatives which had translated into more raw materials for parent companies in Europe, the colonial master appointed Mr. F.C Strickland to go and understudy the success story of cocoa marketing co-operatives in the western region, with a view to enacting co-operative law.  For three months December 1933 to March 1934 – Mr. Strickland carried out the spot assessment.  In this report, Mr. Strickland strongly recommended the introduction of co-operatives into Nigeria.  In his report which he submitted in April 1934, he strongly advocated for co-operative introduction without further delay.  Till date, Mr. F. C. Strickland’s report forms the backbone of the introduction of the co-operative to Nigeria.  Mr. Strickland also drafted a proposed ordinance and regulation; the colonial administration wasted no time in implementing it.

In line with the above understanding Mr. E. F. C Haig was appointed as a register for co-operative in Nigeria.  To be able to undertake these responsibilities, he was sent abroad to understudy the Indian Co-operative movement and Law.


Mr. F.C Strickland’s report no doubt kick-started the co-operative activities in Nigeria.  On return to Nigeria the first thing he did was to reorganize the cocoa farmer societies, who were already excelling in the production and marketing of the best quality cocoa.  Next was to bring these societies under the umbrella of the co-operative law.


The co-operative societies ordinance No. 39 of 1935 was signed into law by the king of England on 3rd Dec, 1935 and the regulations approved came into force on the 6th Feb. 1936.  from a  humble beginning in 1926, co-operative rose to an astonishing number of 181 in 1944.


In 1951, the political landscape of Nigeria changed and every nation under Nigeria was allowed to develop under regions.  So, cooperatives went the same way west East and North.


A co-operative is an association of persons who have voluntarily come together to achieve a common end through making equitable contribution to the capital required and accepting a fair share of risk.  It is an undertaking in which members actively participate.  A co-operative is an owner enterprise, meaning that members are at the same time the owners and the users of the goods and the facilities provided.


In 1980,  the Institute of Management and Technology  (IMT) multipurpose co-operative was formed.  It was registered immediately with 36 members.  Many people joined the co-operative in order to save their money and also with the aim of borrowing soft loans from the society.  The chairman of the society when it was registered was Mr. S. E. Eze (structure Lab. Campus 111).  Mr. P. Nkeanyadi as secretary (Senior staff establishment), the treasurer as Mr. I.C Ogbu (science tech) and others.


The society has made a lot of progress my lending money to members at a low interest rate.  It also helps members to borrow money from other organization if the co-operative does not have the facility for the loan.  No doubt co-operatives have played an effective role in the institute and Nigeria as a whole in socio-economic development and still continues to play this role, thereby steering the nation into a greater industrial society.




Officials of co-operative societies in Nigeria especially have problems in managing their organizations because of inadequate commitment of the co-operative movement.  They are therefore unable to mobilize members.  Ignorance is part of the problem because the origin of the co-operative movement by Rochdale pioneers in England in 1844 is not widely known.  So the lack of the co-operative leads to the inefficient accomplishment of the objectives of the co-operative and its co-operators.


Secondly, lack of finance is another problem that militates against the smooth running of the co-operative in Nigeria.  Again, they do not even know that through borrowing and contributing one can improve the development of the society.


Thirdly, inadequate planning by officials and the inability or unwillingness to employ experts to reduce the potentials of  co-operative.



i.                   To determine the contribution of the co-operative movement to the economic well being of their members.

ii.                 To examine the management of IMT co-operative society with respect to growth in membership and its funding.

iii.              To measure community awareness to the IMT co-operative and its immediate environment.

iv.              To determine the source of funds for the co-operative and how flow surpluses are shared among its members.



1.4       SCOPE OF STUDY

Research work done on the origin and development of co-operative society will be very voluminous as these mean researching into all aspects of the co-operative organization, cooperative and field administration cooperative economics, co-operative law, etc.  Our attention will be on the co-operative and field administration.




The limitations are the constraints that face the researcher in the course of this assignment.   They can be sub-divided into three; human, financial and time constraints.


Human aspects of the constraints is the reluctance and in some cases outright refusal of some staff of the cooperative to respond to questionnaires and interview.  This to some extent affected the objectivity of the researcher’s findings and conclusions.


On the financial constraints, one considers the fact that a lot of money is required for the several visits and acquisition of necessary material from libraries of good standing; National Library of Nigeria, ministry of information and the British Council to source for materials. Above all, the production of questionnaire, to the typing of the research project cost a considerable amount of money.







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Origin And Development Of Co-operative Societies In Nigeria