The Immediate Past President of Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED) and the Current President of the Co-operative Federation of Nigeria (CFN), High Chief. Tajudeen Oriyomi Ayeola, made History as the First Nigerian elected as the President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) Africa Region. By the virtue of his current position as ICA Africa President becomes the Number One Cooperator in Africa.
Prior to his election, Ayeola was a board member of the Alliance. Ayeola was elected at the 8th Technical Committee of Africa Ministerial Cooperative Conference and the 15th Regional Assembly of ICA held virtually, recently. He succeeds Mr. Japhet Magomere from Kenya Cooperative Movement, who served from 2018 to 2021 and retired voluntarily. High Chief Tajudeen Oriyomi Ayeola is the first Nigerian to be elected as President of the International organization since its creation.
To ascend the exalted office, Ayeola had presented to the Alliance a message of hope, bordering on repositioning the continental body to enable it to pick up immediately after the devastation heralded by the COVID-19 pandemic. He told the gathering of windows of opportunities to explore, saying the opportunities could be harnessed if members build on gains, particularly those made in the last 20 years.
He broke down his proposed action plan into 12 including Rigorous mobilization of women and youths into the African cooperative movement through the provision of technical training and allied resources; capacitation of the national apex cooperatives in Africa through up-scaling of their potential; increased involvement of the African cooperative movement in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) through synergies with relevant international development partners; promotion of synergies aimed at providing enabling environment for cooperative development through the development of the legal frameworks on cooperatives; and promotion of exchange program and study visits among African cooperatives.
He also promised to strengthen the youth network; promotion of cooperative education; promotion of the ICA, Africa region along with the eight sectoral divisions of the International Cooperative Alliance; promotion of successful cooperative models as observed in some African countries to serve as prototypes in the other African countries; and the promotion of transnational cooperatives through a proposed “Africa Cooperative Society.”
Other elected officers were Mr. George Magutu of Kenya as vice-president; Mr. Mesfin Gebreslassie Gereger of Ethiopia member-at-large; Mr. Nyemb Jean Christian of Cameroon member-at-large; Mr. Thapelo Obateng of Botswana, member-at-large; and Ms. Hilda Ojall of Kenya, Women Representative.
As the President of the Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, Ayeola contributed to the development of cooperatives in Nigeria by creating an agriculture value chain with the establishment of cooperative staple foods. He pioneered the establishment of a cooperative insurance scheme, introduced LASCOFED connect to facilitate communication among cooperatives as well as undertaking housing projects, health programmes for members.
A graduate of Economics Education, Ayeola works with the Lagos State Civil Service as Deputy Director of Education