The Role of Government in Co-Operative Development

The Role of Government in Co-Operative Development


The definition of Co-operative Society Varies from one author to another. It is not disciplinary concept among other disciplines/ field of study such as sociology, Economics, Accountancy, marketing, political science, and public Administration etc. It is hardly to found a universal definition of co-operative different author defined Co-operative Society recording to his perspectives. Stated as follows:-

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  1. STANDING: Defined Co-operative as “an association open to all and granting equal right and responsibilities (democracy and autonomy) to member engaged in all economic enterprise are bestowed on members in proportion to their use of the enterprise itself without regard to their share in the society.
  2. CALVERT: Defined Co-operative as a firm of organization where in person voluntarily beings on the basis of equality for the promotion of their economic interest.
  3. N.P. OKONKWO: Defined Co-operative as a voluntary association of free and independent person for the betterment of their economic condition.
  4. DUELFER: Defined Co-operative as “a group of persons with at least one economic interest and variable member”. The arm of the group is to meet their common economic needs by joint action based on mutual help the means to achieve this is to establish a common enterprise (Co-operative enterprise) of which goods and services are made available to the member as customer and employee.

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (1966). Defined Co-operative as ‘an association of person who have unitarily joint together to achieve a common end through the formative of a democratically control organisation, making requirement contributions to the capital required and accepting a fair share of risks and benefit of the undertaking in whole number actively participated .

INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE ICA (1995). According to International Co-operative alliance I.C.A of 1995. Defined co-operative as “an autonomous association of person united voluntarily to meet their common economic and socio-cultural needs. Aspiration through jointly owned and democratically control of enterprise.


The foundation of Co-operative in Nigeria is generally thought to be in Agricultural sector. Co-operative in Nigeria started a far back as 1907 among the earliest co-operative farmers known as Agege plant as Union (A.P.U) made up of four hundred (400) cocoa farmer come together to ensure that cocoa was the major farm produce earning foreign exchange for Nigeria. When this union not recognized immediately they did not relent in their effort. They invited Egba farmers union, which teamed up with them in 1911 to secure Government recognition. Ibadan farmers also joint their counterparts to agitate for economic advancement and opportunities that would enable them export their produce, but government did not grant them their request until in 1926 when some cocoa ferment areas were built for them and from that year a lot of co-operative development started to take place in Nigeria. When Government realised the significant of Cop-operative, it commissioned Mr C. F. Strickland to India submitted in 1933, fitted the introduction of co-operative societies in Nigeria, he strongly advocate in introduction and development of co-operative. He also proposed and eventually drafted relevant and regulations Mr C. F. Strickland submitted the report on 17th April, 1934 following the enactment of 1935. The first co-operative ordinance in Nigeria thus, with full support of government and the help of major C. F. Haig who was the first Registrar / Director of co-operative, the first to be inaugurated in 1937 was the Gbedum Co-operative, produce marketing society limited. It is pertinent to note that the success of Co-operative in India only. That success of co-operative movement in India are great potential and the future development of our country Nigeria is through co-operative movement. Since, there common factor between India and Nigeria starting from the Nature of population Agriculture is base on production and lending in developing countries irrespective of continents of Asia and Africa more than 5 countries have agreed on mutual collaboration of socio-economic development.

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According to Prof. S. C. Chukwu in the year 1999 co-operative can be defined as a group of person(s) working together in an organized member with the aim of enhancing their economic position, the group according to him cannot function properly without the voluntary support and loyalty of its member. It is important to know democracy. It s the back bone of any co-operative effort.

Agbo (1992) the co-operative movement had been organize as an instrument of economic development. In most developing counties is against this statement that many authors and scholars in co-operative studies have written on various aspect of co-operative movement. However, it is important to point out that co-operative system operate mid-way between socialism and capitalism.

Agbo (1992) in countries where co-operative have been recognized as a separate entity of the economy they have been found achieving whence other economic system failed because their human and democratic approach, emphasized much on fairness and equity in the business dealings as well as adherence against discrimination irrespective of sex, trade, religion and political neutrality which made co-operative the best system for the upliftment of socio-economic conditions of the Citizenry Arua (1975).

According to Olatunbosum in (1975) Development is defined as the capacity for sustenance of economic growth over a period of fine. While Economics development can be defined as a means of rural transformation which in volumes not only on the method of production and economic institution but also change in social and political change in human relationship such as attitude of most rural people toward life.

Clark Kotler (1975) in this own work of rural development; the ultimate goal which is social, improvement of means of well being. As such it must geared towards increase in opportunities for human self-realization. It s planned dynamic of social change which increase participation and increase in the number of members of the society with regular promotion. It is a means of stimulating more human being to act and react towards growing type of social and Economic relation.

Rural development is not an end but a process by which the rural population of a nation improve its level of living based on continuity. According to rural development scholar which states that it characterize by using level of output and living, processing need of people and also getting these needs solved. It is also increasing the welfare and productivity of low income earners of the rural people.

According to Mr Ekabua work on Nigeria and international co-operative 2002 also expressed that importance of co-operative development.

  • To contribute to Agricultural and rural development scheme
  • To help in transformation and reformation of Agricultural sector of economy
  • To help in the Mobilization of rural savings
  • To ensure employment for the young school lectures
  • To provide Educational Services.
  • To control inflation
  • To improve distribution channel


According to Martin O. Ijere (1966) Ilo declared that co-operative were instrument for economic and social progress and in (1969) united nations economic and social council called for establishment of contribution which co-operatives could make in implementation of the United Nations project for economic and social progress. Government has played some vital role on co-operative in Nigeria.

  1. LEGISLATION: There is need in organization to operate within the frame work of co-operative law; Government have provide guidelines through enactment of law for co-operative societies, moreso, each State Government provides guidelines and other strategies to monitor the activities of co-operative societies within the State.
  2. ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION: Government set-up Administrators for co-operative organisation through appointment of the director of co-operative and their subordinate who Administered the affairs of co-operatives. After the successful establishment of co-operative, the Director of co-operative also empowered by the law to appoint an inspection or Audit co-operative societies from time to time. This is necessary to ensure that the societies were running to accordance with the stipulations of co-operative laws and regulation. In some cases, encouragement Co-operative union and apex by appointing secretary/ Accountant for the unit.
  3. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: This perhaps the most notable assistance manifested, financial assistance could be inform of grants or loans , grants are offered …capital procurement of equipments like machinery buildings etc.
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Government also give grants for training of co-operative staffs/ experts and payment of staffs especially at the initial stage of the organsation, while loan are offered by government to co-operatives for many purposes include, provision of infrastructures like buildings, ware house, store purchasing of office equipment raw materials etc.

  1. EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Continuous Education of members is one of principles of Co-operative even in the stipulations of Co-operative law on appropriation of surplus, which states that 5% of the net surplus should go to Education of members.

Government also assist co-operative especially in the field of co-operative establishments of institutions for training of co-operative official example of the institutions are three (3) federal co-operative collages in Nigeria.

Federal co-operative collage Ibadan (FCCI), Federal Co-operative collage Kaduna (FCCK), Federal Co-operative collage Oji-River (FCCO), and some polytechnics and collage of Agriculture that offers certificate on co-operative education.

  1. PUBLICITY: It is the role Government to make people know about co-operative. Co-operative and its important they can do this by establishment of co-operative institutions for training of more co-operative experts who will help in impacting the knowledge of co-operative as a result of promotion on co-operative societies and other awareness campaign that will propel people to join co-operative societies.
  2. TECHNICAL AIDS: Technical assistance offered to co-operative societies by government that could be inform of providing experts on financial matter. (Account/ Auditor) to some co-operative societies and other aids on input for Agriculture operation like tractors, fertilizer etc.


          Since, the inception of co-operative in Nigeria, Government had been play role on development and spread of co-operative societies. the initial achievement of government was prorogation of co-operative law, on 3rd December 1935 and regulation which followed by 6th February 1936 in 1937 …… produce marketing society become the first co-operative to be formed and registered. Co-operative society in Nigeria later in 1943 the federal co-operative collage Ibadan was established to provide necessary co-operative education to potential co-operative.

In 1976 when co-operative development and implementation of their directive authority by taking over the former Eastern Nigeria Co-operative Training Institute Enugu which was renamed the federal co-operative collage located at Awgu as a temporal site late transferred to Oji-River Local Government which is permanent site of the institution for training of co-operative experts/ extensions agent. They offers programmes like National Diploma on co-operative economics and management (ND) professional Diploma (PD) and later extend to Higher National Diploma in the year 2003 for positive co-operative extensive again spreading of the gospel of co-operative.

Notwithstanding, despite the effort ….still some notable problem facing both registered and unregistered co-operative in Oji – River Local Government area of Enugu State. These problems were range from the office accommodation for co-operative society in Oji-River Local Government (ie Divisional Co-operative Council) and in terms of Organisation structure/ organigram, there is no proper organigram for societies/organisation structure for state and local government in implementation of most policies.

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Above all is poor provision of facilities to co-operative societies in Oji-River Local Government Area and poor incentives to farmer co-operative societies in rural area like grants, loans and subsidies thus, there had been also poor management skill and participation in the Development of Co-operative societies in Oji-River Local Government.


          According to Onuoha (1967) there are different types of co-operative depending on the classification used. As been mentioned that if co-operative society can be classified by specific type as case may be, we have consumer co-operative credit, producer, suppliers, service, marketing insurance etc. other method of classification include the member of Economic Function, Occupation related with the state as their position in co-operative hierarchy.

Agbo (1992) believed that there must be functional classification of co-operative that recognized economic function of co-operative. He also explain further that grouping co-operative societies in Nigeria under the following headings marketing and supply co-operative societies, thrift and credit co-operative societies consumer co-operative, Artisenal co-operative, Multi-purpose co-operative societies and housing co-operative societies etc.


          According to Adekanye (1981) marketing co-operative societies, were firstly registered in USA and they instituted more than forty of all societies in USA. Marketing co-operative has been established to take care of virtually all cash/export crops like cocoa, oil palm, ground nut, cotton, etc few of them operate in the marketing of the Local Foods Stuffs. It is also known that as inter state trade in food stuffs has been monopolized and that is why co-operatives have emerge in those areas. Adekanye (1988) indicates that market planning and expansion to stipulate agriculture and rural development in Nigeria require that the farmers should be provided with better incentives to enhance their out put through their co-operatives. According to Lakpo (1974) Co-operative offers the cheapest means for rapid and effective marketing of food stuffs through private traders can be very costly and more convenient that the use of marketing board and other government agency because of their past record shows trade malpractice’s. therefore, justified that co-operative be use as a catalyst for food stuff marketing so as to stimulate rural development.

This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic



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