2024 World Cooperative Day: MedLab Practitioners Changing the Narrative of Cooperative Society in Nigeria

 

  • Set to Transform Nation’s Socioeconomic Landscape

By Abdulrahman Aliagan

In the bustling heart of Africa, Nigeria, the Africa’s commercial hub, a group of Medical Laboratory Practitioners came together to form what is today known and called Medical Laboratory Practitioners Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (MLPMCSL). This group of people huddles around a table, both in the days and in the nights to discussing the latest ways, ideas and innovations of making savings and loan working for the best for its members.

This is not a typical business meeting, but rather a gathering of Medics and non-medics alike, as one of the thousands of cooperative groups that are quietly revolutionizing the socio-economic fabric of Africa’s most populous nation.

Without a doubt, cooperative societies have long been the unsung heroes of Nigeria’s development story. These member-owned and democratically controlled organizations have been providing vital financial services, empowering entrepreneurs, and fostering community resilience in ways that formal financial institutions have often failed to do.

Instructively, “MLPMCSL within its shortest time of existence, it has been a lifeline for members” says, Mr Kingsley Okpala, the Secretary of MLPMCSL FCT Branch and Chairman, MEDLAB Estate. According to him, “It allows us to save regularly, acquire shares, access loans, when we need them, and support each other through difficult times. Without them, I don’t know how we would manage.”

Indeed, the impact of cooperative societies in Nigeria cannot be overstated. With an estimated of over 10 million members across the country, these organizations are playing a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion, reducing poverty, and driving sustainable economic growth.

“Cooperatives are the backbone of Nigeria’s informal sector,” explains Dr. Adesoji Adelaja, a professor of public policy at Michigan State University who has studied the cooperative movement in the country.

“They provide access to credit, business training, and other essential services that are often out of reach for the country’s marginalized communities.”

Take the case of MLPMCSL for instance. This cooperative, which is made up of predominantly Medical Lab practitioners average-income earners, has been using its collective savings and loan scheme to help its members start and expand their businesses, as well as to weather economic shocks and personal emergencies.

“Through the cooperative, we’re able to access small loans at affordable interest rates,” says Abubakar. “This has allowed us to invest in our businesses, send our children to school, and even at the verge of owning to ourselves new homes, the initiatives that has brought about MEDLAB Estate, a project that is going to set a standard for cooperative societies in Nigeria. It’s a game-changer for us.”

The transformative power of cooperative societies is not limited to the informal sector, however. Across Nigeria, from rural farming communities to urban professional circles, these organizations are driving innovation and social change.

For example, a cooperative of Medicals has been using its collective bargaining power to negotiate better prices for their crops, as well as to access improved agricultural inputs and technologies, affordable Housing and food interventions to cushioning the Nigeria’s present economic reality. This, in turn, has led to increased productivity, higher incomes, and greater food security as well as enabling members to fund their professional development and personal aspirations.

“Cooperatives are truly the unsung heroes of Nigeria’s development story, “Say Mr John Chidi, a Medical Lab practitioner, “They are empowering individuals, strengthening communities, and contributing to the overall socio-economic growth of the country in ways that are often overlooked.”

As Nigeria grapples with the challenges of youth unemployment, economic inequality, and social fragmentation, the cooperative movement offers a glimmer of hope. By fostering a culture of self-help, mutual aid, and democratic participation, these organizations are demonstrating the power of collective action to drive positive change.

“Cooperative societies are not just about money and business,” reflects Maryam Abubakar. “They are about building a better future for all of us – one that is more inclusive, resilient, and just. And that, to me, is the true significance of what we do.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the 6th of July, 2024, MLPMCSL has highlighted programmes to join the global community to commemorate the International Cooperative Day under the theme “Cooperatives Build a Better Future for All.” This significant event, spearheaded by respected figures such as Alhaji Idris Ali Sanni, emphasized the critical role that cooperative societies play in empowering members and driving economic progress.

At the heart of the event is a focus on innovative excellence and the empowerment of members to achieve economic leadership through unity and performance. Muhammed S. Bello, the esteemed Founder/CEO of the Cooperative & Labour Education Research Centre (CLERC) in Lagos, will deliver a compelling address as the Guest Speaker, that will emphasizing the need for cooperative unity in fostering growth and development.

The energetic Elder IO Benjamin, the Project Manager/President of the MLPMCSL will serve as the Chief Host and Co-Speaker to the upcoming event, it is going to shed light on the enduring and endearing nature of cooperative societies and the pivotal roles playing by both members and management in nurturing a thriving cooperative environment.

Guiding the proceedings are experienced moderators Mr. Abdullahi Abdullahi Samaila and Uba Cornelius Ekenedilichukwu, who would ensure a smooth flow of discussions and engagements throughout of the event.

As part of the programme schedules, attendees are therefore invited to join this global event, at 8:30 pm via Google Meet. The event promises to be an enlightening and enriching experience that will showcasing the collective efforts towards advancing socioeconomic growth and development through cooperative initiatives.

In conclusion, the International Cooperative Day 2024 celebration is going to serve as a testament to the vital role that cooperative societies is playing in building a better future for all. Through unity, innovation, and a commitment to excellence, these cooperative entities continue to drive positive change and transformation in communities, ultimately shaping a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. Let us all heed the call to embrace the cooperative spirit and make every day count towards a more inclusive and prosperous society.

Prime Times

Abdulrahman Aliagan is an Abuja-based seasoned Journalist with close to two decades of uninterrupted practice in Journalism, a PR Expert, a Development Coach and a Media Crisis Management Consultant.
A holder of Bachelor degree in History, a graduate of International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, Jahi, Abuja, he is well trained in various aspects of modern day Journalism including Digital Media and Solution Journalism.
Aliagan is a member of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and is currently the National Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ).

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