LODGE OF FIDELITY - NO. 5779 (1939)
A petition to form a second Lodge at Enugu was signed by eight Masons in the year 1938. The Petition was sponsored by Enugu Lodge No. 5440, and a Warrant was issued on 1st February, 1939. The Lodge of Fidelity No. 5779 was consecrated at the Masonic Hall, Enugu on 22nd April 1939. The Consecrating officer was the Assistant District Grand Master, A. Alakija.
The first Master of the Lodge of Fidelity No. 5779 was Major C. M. Browne O.B.E., M.C., P.G.D. the D.D.G.M. The first Senior Warden was A. W. Broderick, and the first Junior Warden was P. O. Uyanwah. The Lodge made use of Enugu Lodge Temple for its meetings.
Fidelity Lodge No. 5779 is proud to report that it has produced a large number of eminent Masons that have passed through the Chair, not only in Fidelity Lodge itself but in other Lodges of the English Constitution and of sister constitutions. One could mention a few of such Masons who have passed through the Chair in other Lodges. B. E. Ogbuagu, O.O.N. passed through the Chair in Harmony Lodge No. 8095 E. C.; B. A. O. Ibegbu, P.D.G.S.W. was Master of Harmony Lodge in 1970; S. C. Onyeagocha passed through the Chair in Harmony Lodge No. 8095 E.C. in 1976; T. C. M. Eneli also passed through the Chair in Ekwulu Lodge No. 1665 S.C. It is regrettable to record that vital records of the Lodge covering the period 1939 to 1969 were lost during the Nigerian Civil War.
In 1959, F. Olaseji Fisher, who was resident in Ibadan was installed Master of the Lodge. It was during Fisher’s tenure of office that the Lodge decided that all aspirants to the Mastership of the Lodge must be resident within the boundaries of the then Eastern Nigeria, because it was very difficult, in fact almost impossible for Fisher to attend meetings in Enugu regularly.
The years 1963 to 1966 were also very peaceful. In 1967, M. O. C. Amechi was installed into the Chair of K.S. By the 30th of May 1967, the Nigerian civil war broke out. In spite of the war, devoted Masons continued to meet amidst air raids, bomb blasts and shrapnel. G. A. Menkiti was the Master during the war years 1968/69. He was first elected and installed in 1968 and was again re-elected and installed in 1969 because all those eligible for election to the Mastership of the Lodge declined election in 1969. It must be noted that during Menkiti’s tenure of office, there was a healthy rivalry among members to excel each other in the standard of working and this led to a perfect performance in the Lodge.
A great and deserving tribute is hereby paid to the sagacity of The Hon. Sir Louis N. Mbanefo, Kt. who readily granted dispensations to the Lodge to hold its meetings regularly throughout the war years and personally attended these meetings to offer useful advice, where necessary.
At the end of hostilities in January, 1970, the Lodge returned to normalcy but found that the Lodge Temple and its premises had been occupied by the Nigerian Army. Its first installation after the war was held in the premises of the High Court with dispensation granted by The Hon. Sir. L. N. Mbanefo Kt. Shortly after, the Army moved out Of the Temple and the Lodge regained possession. A lot of repair work to the buildings of the Lodge had to be carried out. This included the replacement of the entire furniture and fittings in the Lodge. This was made possible by the great sacrifice offered by individual members of the Lodges of Fidelity and Harmony.
The history of Fidelity Lodge is not complete without recording its gratitude to one of the eminent Masons Nigeria has produced in the person of Chief Dr. G. C. Mbanugo, C.F.R., P.S.G.D., D.D.G.M. whose ‘mother’ is Fidelity Lodge. Besides regular attendance at regular meetings, he was always at Practice meetings.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
During the years 1939-1945 the conflagration created by the second World War restricted, and affected generally, Masonic activities throughout the District of Nigeria. This of course was also the case in all parts of the world during those years. Many brethren from Nigeria served overseas during this period, and their enforced absence was felt keenly in the District. To give an example which is probably typical of Lodges outside Lagos it is recorded of Northern Nigeria Lodge No. 3325 that between November 1942 and February 1944, the number of members of the Lodge present at any meeting never exceeded three; and at what should have been the Installation Meeting in March 1943 it sank to one, the Master Elect himself being absent through illness. No candidates were initiated in the “Lodge between March 1940, and October 1943.
During the war years also, many Masons serving in the various armed forces found themselves posted temporarily in different parts of Nigeria and their presence at many Masonic gatherings during that period was warmly welcomed.
Lodge Venue and Meeting Days
Last Saturday January to
November. Installation in
Egerton Street, Enugu.
Mail: P.O. Box 22 Enugu.