BENIN LODGE - NO. 7800 (1962)
For a long time the need for a Masonic Lodge at Benin City had been felt by members in that area. The nearest Masonic Lodges were located at Onitsha, Warri, or Ibadan; all of these places being far beyond a normal journey to be undertaken in a single day with a return to Benin afterwards.
The Lodge suffered some temporary setbacks in getting sufficient members of English Constitutions to carry on workings during its formative years, but this was with time a thing of the past.
The petition for the formation of Benin Lodge was signed by the following eminent masons:
i. W.Bro. George Eweka, PDJGW, EC
ii. Rt. W Bro. Dr. F. Ogunro, SC
iii. Bro. J. Omo Fadaka. MM, EC
iv. W.Bro. E.C. Phillips, M.B.E. (PDGW), PM, EC
v. W.Bro. Obi J. O. Onwuka, M.B.E. (PDSGD), PM, EC
vi. Bro. J .O Ogunmola , MM, EC
vii. Bro. D. O. Asemota, MM, SC
The petitioners recommended W. Bro. George Eweka as the master designate, W.Bro. Dr. F. Ogunro as senior warden designateand Bro. J. Omo Fadaka as junior warden designate, of the proposed lodge which was to meet at the old Government School, Benin City on the first Saturday of each month, St. John’s lodge No. 3780 E.C., Onitsha, sponsored the petition and the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria recommended it for the approval of the United Grand Lodge of England. A warrant was granted to Benin Lodge No. 7800 on 8th November, 1961 by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master. The Lodge was consecrated on 24th February, 1962 at the Government Schoo, Oba Market Road, Benin City by the Rt. Worshipful the District Grand Master of Nigeria the Hon. Justice Sir Lionel Brett assisted by the following consecrating officers:-
i. W.Bro. The Hon. Mr. Justice L. N. Mbanefo Kt, O.S.M., PAG. Reg, PDDGM (IM)
ii. W.Bro. S. N. Obi PDSGW (SW)
iii. W Bro. G. H. Allen M.B.E., JP, PG St. B (JW)
iv. W.Bro. W.H.H. Foster PDG. Chap. (Sec)
v. W.Bro. Dr. K. Sagoe, PDJGW (Chaplain)
vi. W.Bro. T.C. Mbanefo PDJGD (I.G)
vii. W.Bro. E.T.I. Green O.F.R., PDJGW (Tyler)
In addition to the consecrating officers, the 7 founders,and 61 visitors were present. After the consecration, W.Bro. George Eweka was installed Master, Rt. W Bro. Dr. F. Ogunro and Bro. J. Omo Fadaka were installed and invested as Senior and Junior Wardens respectively while Bro. D. O. Asemota was elected and invested Treasurer. Bro. Prince A. I. Eweka was appointed and invested Secretary of the Lodge. It is interesting to note that this outstanding brother became one of the first two brethren of Benin Lodge to be honoured with Grand Ranks.
Growth of Benin Lodge:
At its second regular meeting on 5th May, 1962 seven brethren including W.Bro. H.R.M. Akenzua II, C.M.G., OBA OF BENIN where admitted as joining members. Bro. Prince S. I Akenzua (who later became Omo N’Oba N’Edo Erediauwa, OBA OF BENIN) and W.Bro. L. O. Ogbeide PDSGW were initiated and became the first initiates of the Lodge.
In 1964 barely two years after the consecration of Benin Lodge W.Bro. H.R.H. Akenzua II, C.M.G. (Omo N’Oba N’Edo Oba of Benin) was installed in the chair of King Solomon thereby becoming the 1st Benin Monarch to attain that exalted position, on that unique occasion, the Rt.W Bro. Hon. Justices Lionel Brett Kt. PDGM graced the installation with his presence and a large number of prominent masons from different parts of the country were present to witness the ceremony. He was honoured with the rank of Past District Junior Grand Deacon the following year. The first secretary became Master in 1966 while his son, W.Bro. Prince A.A.I. Eweka D.G. Supt. Wks. was installed Master in 1986.
It is a remarkable achievement that under the mastership of W.Bro. L.O. Ogbeide the present Masonic Hall was designed and constructed by W.Bro. Prince A.I. Eweka (in 90 days) when the Lodge was threatened with eviction by the Bendel State Government when a State Library was proposed for the temporary Temple Site at the old Govt. Sec. School. The late Hon. Justice Sir L. N. Mbanefo, PADGM generously donated towards the construction of the Temple during his visit to Benin City. The dedication of the new Temple by the Sir Justice L. N. Mbanefo with a team of District Grand Lodge officers took place on 3rd February, 1973 on which occasion Bro. A.A. Guobadia was installed Worshipful Master.
On 29th June, 1974 the first Half-Yearly Communication of the District was held in the new Temple. In 1975 the desire to have a Royal Arch Chapter attached to the Lodge became so pressing that a Petition to found a Chapter was signed. It received the approval of the Supreme Chapter on the 14th November, 1979.
By reason of W.Bro G. Eweka’s death, the chapter could not be consecrated. Consequent upon this loss, S. D. M. Richards was substituted as “Z” designate whilst Izuora was substituted as “H” and the substitutions were approved by the Supreme Grand Chapter on the 12th November, 1980. The Chapter was subsequently consecrated on the 25th March, 1981 by the Grand Superintendent Clifford Mays and his team of District Grand Chapter officers amongst whom was: J. W. McEwen, 2nd D.G.P. as “H”; Chief Olatunji Olagoke, MFR., PAGDC, P 3rd DGP. as “J”; A. G. Page, as Scribe “E”; S. C. O. A. Gbadebo-Goyea, PDG SCR N: as DC
The year 1981 was significant in that W.Bro. W.E. Pemu PSGD, PDDGM was in the chair and the Master single handedly provided the former chain link fence round the Hall and planted the flowers which continue to beautify the premises and give Benin Lodge Hall the appearance of the most beautiful Masonic Hall in Nigeria today. At the Annual Communication held in December, 1987 W.Bro. W.E. Pemu, PSGD, was appointed Deputy District Grand Master of the newly created Western Division. On the 29th February,1988, the new division was inaugurated in the hall by the Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master, the Rt. Hon. Lord Cornwallis, OBE, D.L. assisted by a powerful delegation of the Grand Lodge. Right Worshipful Bro. McEwen was installed the District Grand Master. On that occasion W.Bro. W.E. Pemu and W.Bro. Prince A.I. Eweka were handed their letters of offers as Past Junior Grand Deacon and Past Grand Standard bearer respectively. W.Bro E.O.Obianwu was the Worshipful Master on the occasion.
Since the consecration, Benin lodge has hosted the District Grand Lodge as follows:
A. Half Yearly Communication in June 1974.
B. Half Yearly Communication in June 1986.
C. Quaterly Communication in December 1989.
D. Half Yearly Communication in June 1998.
E. Half Yearly Communication in April 2013.
The 1974 communication was presided over by Rt. W.Bro Trevor Elmore, the 1986 one by late W.Bro. Dr Chief G.C. Mbanugo while W.Bro. W.E. Pemu presided At the 1989 quarterly communication. The 1998 Half Yearly communications was presided over by W.Bro. M.O. Taiga, ADGM while the 2013 Half Yearly communication was presided over by Rt. W.Bro M. O. Taiga DGM. The attendance at each of these communications was impressive.
W.Bro. F.A. Morah was installed Worshipful Master for the year 1989/90 during which as many as six members including Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa were initiated. W.Bro. P.E Agbajoh PDG. Chap. who had been Master in 1967 and again in 1980 passed to the Grand Lodge above on 23rd August, 1989. At the funeral service which was attended by several distinguished masons on 30th September at St Andrews Anglican Cathedral, Warri, the Officiating Minister paid tribute to the benevolence of Chief Agbajoh’s heart, the sweetness of his temper, and the extra-ordinary endowment of his mind. By his death Benin Lodge lost one of its great masters. A real brother and a true friend.
At the regular meeting held on 6th Octber, 1990, W.Bro. Chief Dr. P.M.O. Oyolu initiated his son, Bro. David Anthony Oyolu. That was the first time in the history of the Lodge that Worshipful Master, in his year of office, had the privilege of initialing his own son. In 1992, the Lodge was again honoured a second time by the appointment of W.Bro. Prince A.I. Eweka as the Deputy District Grand Master for Western Division.
In 1992, the Crown Prince of Benin, Prince Eheneden Erediauawa, ( Edaiken N’Uselu) was elected and installed Master of Benin Lodge. Unfortunately, the lodge suffered the loss of a prominent and energetic member, who was the second initiate of the Lodge in the person of Late W.Bro. L.O. Ogbeide, PGStd, B, PDGSW, P.3RD DGP, P.Z., P.M and Secretary of the Lodge.
As at October 1995 all the past Masters of the Lodge with the exception of W.Bro. Fadaka, Hon. Justices Aluyi, W.Bro. Deacon M.O. Omoruyi and W.Bro. B. O. Modebe were honoured with the District Grand Ranks while W.Bro. W.E. Pemu PDDGM., was promoted PSGD. and W.Bro.Prince A.I. Eweka PDDGM, PAGDC was also promoted as PSGD. and W.Bro. L.O. Ogbeide PG Std. B.
As at 4th Jan. 1997 the financial members of the Lodge stood at 34. On 4th September, 1998, the Lodge suffered a great setback due to the demise of W.Bro. J.O. Edosomwan, PDJD 1999 witnessed a decline in membership which has improved.
On 6th December 2003, The District Grand Lodge of Nigeria made history by the presentation of a plaque by the Rt. W.Bro Adedeji Adedoyin D.G.M. on behalf of the distrct to W.Bro.Prince A.I. Eweka PSGD. PDDGM (W) on the occasion of his 80th Birthday – 8th October 2003, and was supported by W.Bro. Chike Offodile PADGM, W.Bro. Olorogun M.O. Taiga ADGM., W.Bro. E. O. Obianwu ADGM. and other eminent masons. This is deemed an honour conferred on both Benin Lodge and the recipient (W.Bro Prince A. I. Eweka), who passed on in 2009.
In 2013 the lodge hosted the half yearly communication of the district, it was graced by the DGM and other eminent masons.
On January 18th 2015 Benin Lodge lost a great member and PDDGM (W) W.Bro W.E. Pemu, PSGD father of 2 past masters of the lodge.
In October 2015, a past master of the lodge HRH Crown Prince (AMB) Eheneden Erediauwa was appointed ADGM. On October 20th 2016 HRH W.Bro (AMB) Eheneden Erediauwa was coronated as the 40th Oba Of Benin as His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare II in Benin City, a great honour and credit to Benin Lodge and the entire masonry worldwide.
At the Annual communication in Nov. 2016 another past master and initiate of the lodge W.Bro Prince Austin Iro Eweka PDSGW was appointed ADGM (SS) by the DGM.
Lodge Venue and Meeting Days
Benin Lodge meets first Saturday of every Month at 2pm. Election meeting in January. Installation in February at 12 noon.
Benin Lodge Masonic Hall,
Behind the Veterinary Clinic,
by the 4th Mechanized Brigade,
Central Road, GRA,
Mail: P.O. Box 6848, Benin City.