Revealed: Obi of Onitsha is Freemasons Grand Master and Grand Lodge in Nigeria, Ooni of Ife named

Olorogun Moses Taiga

FREEMASONRY is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. For many, its biggest draw is the fact that members come from all walks of life and meet as equals whatever their race, religion, or socio-economic position in society. With value based on integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance, Freemasonry provides a unique environment for all people to learn skills and achieve their potential and above all have fun. In this interview with PEACE ONYEUKWU, Olorogun Moses Taiga talks about the advent of Freemasonry in Nigeria and how they have impacted the lives of Nigerians positively. Excerpts…
Tell us about the advent of Freemasonry in Nigeria?
The district grand lodge of Nigeria is part of the united grand lodge of England which was formed in 1717 as a philosophical fraternity whose members sought to further their education and spirituality. The grand lodge is headed by HRH, the Duke of Kent. Freemasonry is a benevolent, social and charitable universal organisation whose members focus on lessons that help them on a journey to achieve moral and spiritual enlightenment.
What are the guiding principles of the organisation?
The three principles on which Freemasonry rests are brotherly love, belief and truth; and the great virtues of Freemasonry are hope and charity. The sublime concept of relief finds its full expression in the wider context of charity. And as a landmark of Freemasonry, it is so deeply embedded in the institution that its absence would radically modify the essence of the order. Freemasonry does not have an institutionalized system of worship and it encourages its members to be active in whichever religion or church they belong to.
What is its mission and how has it been able to achieve it?
Masonry has no other mission than to exalt and ennoble humanity to bring light out of darkness. In pursuit of its mission the grand lodge of Nigeria has over the years granted relief through various charity projects to those in need. Not only does the district compliments the Freemasonry care project which offers support to freemasons and their dependants, it has also reached out to numerous non-Masonic groups and institutions.
What is the capacity of the organisation in Nigeria?
Nigeria is one of such districts with 36 lodges and over 1,000 members in the English constitution. There are about six million Freemasons worldwide. Freemasonry is universal and does not dis-criminate on grounds of race, colour, religion, political views on social standing. Freemason-ry can boast of men of caliber and substance. The list of famous international masons includes prime ministers, royalty, writers, artists, and distinguished military mem-bers. Fourteen US presidents have been masons from George Washington to Gerald Ford.
How has the Freemasons contributed positively to the development of the Nigerian society?
Freemasons make major con-tributions to the societies through various charities. Like in University of Lagos we have written and received response from them to sponsor five stud-ents in Law, Engineering and Medical faculties. We have started with the University of Lagos but hope to spread to other universities. We are also building a hospital in Lekki right now for people to go for a free medical attention.
We’ve donated to Kanu Heart Foundation, Blind Centre at Ebute Meta, Babsalam Motherless Baby Home, GRA, Ikeja, School of the Handicapped, Amuwo Odofin. All these charities are from one of our 36 lodges in Nigeria: every lodge has his own collection of charities because charity is very important to us. Freemason exists for the glory of God and the good of our fellow men, and the sincere desire to leave this world better than we found it.
Can you let us into the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria Centennial?
We are going to have a cock-tail party at Eko Hotel on October 25 and the following day at 2.00 p.m. is the celebration of our 100 years anniversary. We are going to have a lecture to be delivered by former Ghanaian president, Mr. John Kuffour. Expected at the grand finale is grand master, the Duke of Kent represented by his Pro and his grand secretary who is going to preside over the affair.
We also have the assurance of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge of Nigeria, HRM, Obi of Onitsha, the Oni of Ife in attendance. We are expecting people from South Africa, Zambia and Europe. The District Grand Masters of Ghana and Sierra Leone are expected too. And at the launch we are going to make a presentation to Sickle Cell Foundation. Freemasonry is more relevant and important in the society today than ever as it encompasses and embraces all the fundamental principles of good citizenship.

Culled from Vanguard

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