LODGE OF HARMONY - NO. 8095 (1966)
Lodge of Harmony No. 8095, the youngest of the three Lodges under the English Constitution in Enugu was consecrated on the 28th May 1966. The principal objective behind its formation was to blend both European and Nigerian masons into a harmonious unit. In consequence, twenty-five eminent Masons, headed by the most distinguished of them all in the person of The Hon. Mr. Justice Louise Nwachukwu Mbanefo, Kt, P.J.G.D., D.D.G.M. met to form the Lodge of Harmony.
The founder members had agreed to rotate the mastership of the Lodge between the Expatriate and Nigerian Masons. The Hon. Mr. Justice Louis Nwachukwu Mbanefo, Kt. was installed as the first Master of the Lodge on the 28th May, 1966, the same day the Lodge was consecrated. A. V. Lawes, was installed Senior Warden of the Lodge whilst B. E. Ogbuagu, O.O.N. was installed Junior Warden.
There were twenty out of the twenty-five founder members present at this meeting with fifty-two visitors from various sister Lodges in the District. All present were highly impressed with the grace and solemnity of both ceremonies of consecration and installation.
The following were made Honorary Members of the Lodge: The Hon. Mr. Justice Lionel Brett., Kt., P.D.G.M.; Gordon M. G. Andrews, P.A.G.D.C., P.A.D.G.M. and A. G. Davies, P.D.G.M.
At its August 1966 Regular Meeting, D. V. Lawes (a European) was elected Master of the Lodge and was installed as Master on Saturday, the 8th October, 1966 in fulfillment of one of the cardinal principles of the Lodge. (The Immediate Past Master, being a Nigerian. This is also exemplified in the emblem on the jewel worn by the founders of the Lodge where a black hand is shown in a full handshake with the white hand. It might be pertinent to mention that A. V. Lawes was elected and installed as Master of the Lodge even though he had not served the statutory period required in a Warden’s Chair to qualify for election to the Master’s Chair. In that case, a special dispensation was granted by the Grand Master. It has not been possible to rotate the mastership of the Lodge between European and Nigerian masons because of the exodus of the European Masons from the Lodge. Most of the European Masons are now overseas and a few of them still retain their membership of the Lodge as overseas members.
The first initiate and ‘son’ of the Lodge of Harmony was E. V. C. Ebo. He was initiated on the 13th of August, 1966 and was later installed Master of the Lodge on Saturday, the 14th October, 1972. The Second initiate and another ‘son’ of the Lodge of Harmony was V. A. Aniagoh. He was initiated on the 10th of December, 1966. He was later installed Master of the Lodge on Saturday, the 13th
October, 1973. The first Secretary of the Lodge was B. A. O. Ibegbu, P.D.G.S.W. He served in this capacity from the 28th May, 1966 to the 7th October, 1966. G. A. Menkiti, P.D.G.S.W. was first appointed Secretary of the Lodge on the 8th of October, 1966.
The most trying period for most Masons of this Lodge was the period covered by the Nigerian Civil War. The Lodge was not up to a year old when the Nigerian Civil War broke out. Not only were the expatriate Masons forced to leave the boundaries of the then Eastern Nigeria but Nigerian Masons of non-Eastern Nigeria origin were also compelled to leave in their own interest.
The last Regular Meeting of the Lodge held at the Lodge’s regular place of meeting was that of the 12th of August, 1967. Even though the Summons for the 9th Regular Meeting was issued and circulated this meeting which should have been an Installation Meeting could not be held because Enugu was already a war ‘theatre’ by the 14th October 1967, the date for the Installation Meeting. On the dispensations granted by The Hon. Sir Louis N. Mbanefo, P.J.G.D., D.D.G.M., one for the Removal of Place of Meeting and the other to enable the Lodge to hold its next meeting on Saturday 18th November, 1967, the Lodge held its Installation Meeting at the Masonic Temple, Furo Road, Aba on Saturday the 18th November 1967. At this Installation Meeting, B. E. Ogbuagu, O.O.N. was installed Master of the Lodge of Harmony No. 8095. Subsequent meetings were held on 15th December, 1967, 17th February, 1968, 20th April, 1968,15th June 1968 and 17th August, 1968 on dispensations. Aba was sacked by the Nigerian soldiers in December, 1968 and Masons had to move, this time, to Umuahia. On dispensations granted by The Hon. Mbanefo Kt., a meeting was held on Saturday, the 30th of November, 1968, at the High Court Building, Umuahia. Item 7 on the Agenda for this meeting reads: To elect (a) The Worshipful Master for the year 1969. (b) The Treasurer for the year 1969 and (c) The Tyler for the year 1969.”
An extract of the recorded minutes of this meeting reads:
“Wor. Bro. Sir. L. N. Mbanefo, D.D.G.M. observed that in accordance with section 2 of the Rules of the Lodge of Harmony and section 105 of the book of Constitution, these elections should have been held in August 1968 and it was not therefore in order to hold this election tonight. He, however, agreed that in view of the existing emergency, for which the Constitution did not make a provision, the election should be held and he would go through the Constitution later and give a final ruling. The election was thereafter held with the following results: Wor. Master for 1969 Bro. S. O. A. Egbuna; Treasurer Wor. Bro. J. M. C. Obiako, re-elected and Tyler Bro. A. C. Okeke”
Based on the final ruling given by The Hon. Mr. Justice Mbanefo, Kt., the elections were cancelled and B. E. Ogbuagu had to continue in the post of Master of the Lodge for 1968/69. Subsequent meetings were held at the High Court Building, Umuahia on 11th January, 1969, 15th February 1969, and 12th April, 1969 with dispensations.
Umuahia was occupied by the Nigerian soldiers in May 1969 and the Masons were again forced to move. The next meeting place was at the Magistrate’s Court Hall (Durumbo Hall) Umuko, Nkwerre. The first meeting was held on the 14th of June, 1969 at Durumbo Hall, Umuko, Nkwerre with a dispensation granted by the D.D.G.M. Three subsequent meetings were held at Durumbo Hall, Umuko; one was the meeting of the 9th of August, 1969 at which S. O. A. Egbuna was elected Master of the Lodge for the year 1970. The other was an Emergency Meeting held on the 13th of September, 1969 to elect a new Master for the year 1970 in place of the Master Elect, S. O. A. Egbuna whose sudden death took place a couple of weeks after his election. The last meeting held at Nkwerre was the Installation Meeting at which B. A. O. Ibegbu was installed Master of the Lodge for the year 1970.
It could be remarked that most of the founder members refrained from the usual eagerness for the Master’s Chair, even though most of them were Past Masters in their own rights. They declined to stand election to fill the gap created by the sudden death of S.O.A. Egbuna, the Master Elect, and this made the election of B. A. O. Ibegbu smooth.
Ibegbu was installed Master of the Lodge for 1970 at a meeting held at Durumbo Hall, Umuko, Nkwerre on the 11th October, 1969. The last meeting of the Lodge held in exile was the meeting of 13th December, 1969 held at the High Court’s Building Owerri with dispensation.
The Nigerian Civil War ended on the 15th January, 1970 and as desired, the lodge returned to their “native land” only to find that the Lodge Temple with the premises was an “occupied territory” and out of bounds to Masons. The first meeting of the Lodge in their “native land” was held at the High Court Buildings Enugu on the 21st of March 1970, still with dispensation, granted by Sir. L N. Mbanefo and confirmed by the District Grand Secretary by command of Alan Glyn Davies, The District Grand Master. By the 11th of April, 1970 the Lodge had regained its Temple and the grounds. Since then the Lodge has been holding its meetings at the regular place.
The following initiates of the Lodge have already passed through the Chair of K.S. in the Lodge; E. V. C. Ebo, V. A. Aniagoh, G. C. Odiari, G. C. Egwuatu, J. I. Mbaezue, L. O. Anya-duba, J. S. Ifeanetu, N. M. Agada. Others like T. N. I. Egbunike and J. N. Ogbonna have gone through the Chair on affiliating with Owerri Lodge, a sister Lodge of the Scottish Constitution No. 1693.
The following joined by affiliation; C. C. Ekpunobi, the Master for 1983; S. C. Onyeagocha, the Master for 1976; G. E. Akutu who passed through the chair in Ekulu Lodge No. 1665 S.C.; The Hon. Mr. Justice R. O. Okagbue, the Master in 1973; R. N. Okeke who passed through the chair in Ekulu Lodge No. 1665 S.C.; S. O. Nyamse of Calabar Lodge No. 3434; Chief D. A. Nwandu who passed through the chair in Unity Lodge 1720 S.C.; M. L. Ufoeze and D. Agbim.
The Lodge considers itself most fortunate since its inception, to have had eminent Masons like the late The Hon. Mr. Justice L. N. Mbanefo Kt. and Chief Dr. G. C. Mbanugo, C.F.R., D.D.G.M. as members. The District Grand Master paid the Lodge an official visit in 1979 during the reign of J. L Mbaezue.
The Lodge is noted for excellent workings, on the floor, and reputed for the legendry ‘Harmony standard” by other Lodges. It also organizes an annual Masonic Lecture in honour of now late Justice Emmanuel Araka CON PDDGM, sponsored by A.I. Okoh. The annual Lecture attracts Masons from far and wide, with such past eminent guest lectures as, HM. Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe CFR.mni GM (GLN) Agbogidi, Obi of Onitsha; Chief Dr. Adonye Ibiama JP, fine country IV, DGM (GLN) and a host of others including late Rowland Amaewhule PADGM; Eddie Obianwu PADGM; Nnabueyi Eddie Asika PDDGM (SC); Chief Wiiliams Adjekughele DDGM and Prof Ikem Kris Ekwezor PSDGM (SC) who gave the lecture for 2012. The Lodge hopes to continue this exercise as an Annual Memorial Lecture in honour of this icon of Freemasonry whose presence will forever be missed.
The Lodge has also undertaken charity works in support of Enugu Cheshire home for the disabled, the Nigerian Red Cross Motherless Babies’ Home in Enugu, and Old Peoples Home, Abakpa Nike, Enugu.
The Lodge of Harmony has weathered many challenges over the years and is still waxing strong with the initiation of about 5 new members in the past 2 years.
Lodge Venue and Meeting Days
Second Saturday off odd months. Installation in October
Time: 4 pm.
Meets at Masonic Hall Egerton Street, Enugu.
Mail: P.O. Box 763 Enugu.