In the just over seven years since its establishment, the Grace Springs Cooperative and Multipurpose Society (GSCMS) has received numerous commendations and was recently awarded the second Best Managed Cooperative Society for Community based by the Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED) under the umbrella of the State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.

The Cooperative society which has a total membership of 1,300 as at December 2018, has granted over fifty million naira (#50,000,000) as loans to members which spread across Lagos, Ogun and Osun states as well as United Kingdom, Chile, United States of America, South Africa and Togo.

Although a Christian-based society established by the Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, Taiwo Odukoya, on the 1st of June, 2012; it has attracted members from other religious faiths due to its several schemes and projects put in place to better members’ lives and improve their socio-economic standards. The society has also been consistent in its growth in profit made and declared.

Another reason for the cooperative’s recognition includes its zero bad debt record which is not common in a community based cooperative society. The stable and smooth leadership of the society even when there was a transition; as well as its presence on the major Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram has also made it an enviable organisation.

The luncheon and merit award event which held on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at LASCOFED Complex at Ogba, Lagos state witnessed the presence of the Permanent Secretary Of The Ministry Of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Omobolanle Ogunmola, the President of LASCOFED, Mr. Oriyomi Ayeola, past and present vice president of LASCOFED, Lagos State Government Functionaries, guests and members of Cooperative Societies in the state.

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With the theme, “Cooperative for Decent Work”, the event also served as an avenue to appreciate the over 20 million Cooperators in Lagos state in commensuration of the 2019 International Day of Cooperatives which aimed to increase the cooperative way of life and the inherent socio-economic benefits of working together.

In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Omobolanle Ogunmola who was represented by Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, Director of Commerce, noted that the benefits of cooperative societies in the cooperators’ lives are enormous according to her, it contributes to the economic and social growth of the state. “Today in Lagos state, there are virtually no business organisations with reasonable number of employees without one type of cooperative society or the other operating among its workplace,” she said.

She therefore appreciated the Lagos state governor, head of service, directors and the entire staff of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives for the creation of the enabling environment as well as the cooperative movement under the leadership of High Chief Oriyomi Ayeola for their cooperation in making cooperative societies in Lagos thrive. She also enjoined all members not to relent in their participation in the various societies.

While giving his keynote address, the governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Of the Ministry Of Commerce, Industry And Cooperatives, Mrs. Omobolanle Ogunmola, said that the cooperative institution has been a durable, contemporary, resilient, and significant solution in establishing a solid defense of the collective interest and democratization of the entrepreneurial sector since its commencement in Nigeria in the 1930s.

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Mr. Sanwo-Olu further stated that the Lagos State Cooperative movement has established itself as a major player in the economy of the state with the capital and membership base in excess of 152 billion naira and 2 million respectively. While congratulating the awardees, the Governor assured LASCOFED of the State’s support for the body as it continues in developing innovative strategies that will enhance productivity and increase the prosperity of its members. “I believe we can achieve more and move the cooperative institution in Lagos state to the next level,” he said.

Other cooperative societies who received awards of merit include, Lekki Cooperative, Nigerite Ikeja Staff, SCIB Staff, Total E&P Nig. Ltd.; Flour Mill Nig.; Lagos State University, Ojo; Crown Flour Mills Apapa Staff; West African Gas Pipeline Badagry Staff; Ajebamidele Oke-Odo; Owutu Obanibasiri; NLPC Somolu; Nigeria French Village Badagry Staff; Sheraton Onigbongbo Staff; MEMCOS-MTNN Eti-Osa Employees Multipurpose; and Lagos Local Government CMS Staff Cooperative Societies.

by Becky Olorunpomi