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history of cooperative societies

History of Cooperative Societies In Nigeria

The history of cooperative societies in Nigeria started with the art of people coming together to contribute money to meet their immediate or future needs.

Before I commence the article of today, which is on the history of cooperative societies, let me digress a bit into the major challenges of an entrepreneur.

If you are an entrepreneur, you will agree with me that one major issue most people have is the issue of capital. More so, for a business like real estate, the perception is that millions are needed before you can venture into it.

At Realty Point however, we have proven that belief wrong through our empowerment programme called Prime Assets People’s Empowerment Programme (PAPEP) established in 2005.

It is a programme that allows you to make a living from real estate with little or no capital at all and there are people benefiting from it.

Even if you are not looking to start a business, maybe all you want is to have your own house and not have to deal with landlords anymore, having enough money to get your dream house might prove a little daunting even with all your savings.

With the mass layoffs that have occurred in banks in recent times and a reduction in the percentage on interest rates on fixed deposits and values in share, the probability of securing a loan from a bank or having enough money at hand is slim. However, another option you can explore is Cooperatives.

The history of cooperative societies in Nigeria started with the art of people coming together to contribute money to meet their immediate or future needs.

ALSO READ: How Cooperative Societies Started In Nigeria

Traditional co-operative institutions are commonly known in English as ‘contribution society’ but in Nigeria however, they are variously termed ‘Esusu’ by the Yorubas, ‘Dashi’ by the Nupes,‘ Osusu’ by the Ogojas, ‘Adashi’ by the Hausas, ‘Isusu’ by the Ibos, ‘Asun’ by the Ishans and ‘Etoto’ by the Ibibios.

In my research into the history of cooperative society, shows they have been in existence for a long time and are ageless institutions of cooperatives practiced in the spirit of trust and friendship within a community.

They are our own version of the cooperative thrift and credit societies. However, as time progressed, structure was introduced into these practices and is today referred to as Modern Cooperative.

History of cooperative societies tells us that the Modern Cooperative movement originated in England in 1844 during the Industrial Revolution.

ALSO READ: How To Register & Begin A Cooperative Society In Nigeria

As a result of the great human suffering, degradation and misery workers all over Europe experienced, a group of 28 artisans working in the cotton mills in the town of Rochdale decided to pool their scarce resources together due to these economic conditions just so they could afford basic goods at lower prices.

This act gave birth to Rochdale Equitable Pioneers which is the first recognized cooperative society that was registered and the history of cooperative in Nigeria.

Today, it is regarded as the prototype for modern cooperative societies and like all things introduced to us by the Western world, Modern Cooperatives came to Nigeria in 1933 when the British Government appointed a panel with Mr. C.F. Strickland as the head and gave him a reference:

“To study in details, the culture of the people and the geographical and economic conditions of the country with a view to recommending the types of cooperatives most suited to Nigerians.”

The job of Mr Strickland’s team was to find out what kind of cooperatives suited Nigerians the most, putting into consideration our culture, geography and economy.

His findings and the panel’s recommendation resulted in the cooperative society’s ordinance of 1935, which led to subsequent establishment of cooperative societies of all types.

In essence, it’s in order to say that documented history of cooperative societies started in 1935.

ALSO READ: How to Invest In Real Estate Using Little Money In Nigeria

A Cooperative Society according to The International Cooperative Alliance (I.C.A) is defined as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.”

Beyond just joining resources together, a cooperative is an organisation with principles and policies guiding its operations and they are flexible and without the bureaucracy associated with many other financial institutions.

I hope you enjoy the aricle on history of cooperative societies. If you follow this thread, we will be taking you through the various types, operations, policies and principles and different laws governing a cooperative society.

If you are an entrepreneur, business owner or someone who aspires to get a land or own a house, a cooperative society is still one of your best shot at having that dream come true and Realty Point Limited (www.realtypointltd.com) is here to make it happen because we believe in your dream.

We believe that everybody should at least enjoy the basic needs of life and that includes shelter!

ALSO READ: Pros and Cons Of Joining an Housing Cooperative In Nigeria



  1. Nice one that’s very helpful

  2. This is a good article. Keep it up. Thanks


  4. Quiet historical and educating, Nice one NREH.

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