*flags-off cooperative reactivation project in Gombe
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya says his administration will continue to come up with innovative ideas in its determination to tackle the increasing rate of unemployment, poverty and the consequential effects of criminality in the state.
According to a statement signed by the Director- General (Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, the Governor Inuwa Yahaya stated this at the flag-off of the Cooperative Reactivation project designed to rejig the sub-sector which has been moribund and almost non existent for years.
He noted that the concept of cooperative has been globally acknowledged as an efficient instrument for delivering social and economic benefits to the people.
“Studies and surveys have shown that cooperatives in Africa are contributing significantly to the socio-economic development of both the rural and urban communities”.
The Governor observed that in Nigeria, cooperatives have been in the forefront of social and economic integration since the colonial era.
He said even in the old Gombe division, cooperatives were crucial in the production and marketing of quality food and cash crops, thereby providing a sustainable source of wealth and livelihood to the people.
“As the role and nature of cooperatives keeps evolving, the objectives remain the same, which is to create jobs, generate and distribute wealth among the people and enhance social development”.
He said in order for cooperatives to continue playing this roles, they must be effectively organised, managed and regulated in line with best practices.
The Governor said the goal of the cooperative Reactivation project is to reposition the sector in the State for greater impact and better performance, saying his administration intends to achieve the feat by December 2022 according to the programme.
“To realise this objective, Government has engaged a consultant Cooperative Development Foundation in order to assist in managing the project in addition to the foundation preparing a department of cooperative in the ministry of rural development and cooperatives to take over in managing the project through capacity building and knowledge transfer”.
He said in order to maximize the impact, the project will partner with other similar initiatives by the Federal Government like the anchor borrowers programme, Nirsal and commodity development association with a view to driving production and processing as well as boosting local economy and enhancing agricultural value chain.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya used the occasion to call on stakeholders in the State to utilize the initiative.
“Achieving the objective of this project will set Gombe on the global cooperative map and also help in tackling the increasing rate of unemployment, poverty and the consequential effects of criminality”.
He enjoined the stakeholders to give their maximum cooperation to the Government and the consultants in order to ensure the successful implementation of the project.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Rural Development and Cooperatives, Hon.Usman Mohammed Jahun Biri said the project was proposed in 2020 and recently approved by the State House of Assembly in order to reactivate moribund cooperative societies in the State.
He said to ensure the sustainability of the project, the lead consultant will conduct a baseline survey of cooperatives in the State to determine their policy goals and targets among others.
The lead consultant of Cooperative Development Foundation, Jonathan Dangwaram said the passion with which the Governor spoke on the project indicated the quest to change the living conditions of the people of the State.
He said the foundation intends to bring back the good old practices of cooperatives societies that had worked for the former Gombe enclave, northern Nigeria and the entire country.