Ever since the consecration of the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria of the Antient Free And Accepted Masons on the roll of United Grand Lodge of England in 1913, the District has thrived in many ways, recording success in several spheres of human endeavour. Benevol ence and Charity rank high among the cardinal points of Freemasonry which includes self improvement, love for family and service to the society we live in and never losing sight of the allegiance we owe to the country of our birth and infant nurture.
Masonry teaches us to take advantage of each day in improving ourselves through education and emphasizes the need to be responsible members of our families, being serviceable to the society where we find ourselves and by reaffirming our unflinching loyalty to the country of our birth. These and many more are parts of the processes of becoming a better man in society.
The year 2019 wasn’t left out as the Charitable activities. Some Lodges in the District have made us all proud. Our first stop is at the gate Calabar Lodge N0 3434 located in the ancient town of Calabar, Cross Rivers State. Apart from being the first Capital of Nigeria, Calabar is remarkably
known as the abode of the Scottish Presbyterian Missionary ‘Mary Mitchell Slessor’ who once resided in Calabar.
Known for its greenery, serenity and penchant for cleanliness, Calabar is the host of Calabar Lodge N0 3434 located opposite the Central Bank of Nigeria and known in the District as one of the oldest lodges. The idea of formation of the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria EC was conceived on the floor of Calabar lodge. That goes a long way to prove why Calabar lodge is of utmost importance to the district. Being the fifth lodge warranted by the English Constitution in Nigeria on 27th April 1910, it is expected that some of the lodge’s properties must have fallen into disuse or in a state of disrepair for having been beaten by the weather over the years. It was for these reasons that Brethren swung into action by revamping the lodge’s interior and exterior properties. Some of the achievements recorded by Calabar lodge within one Masonic Calendar include replacing the worn out light blue curtains and the replacement of the mosaic pavement otherwise known as the Chequered Floor.
Furthermore, a new VSL puff for the lodge was secured and the Temple’s gate which has long been dilapidated was fixed to give the Temple a face lift. It didn’t stop there as there was need to repaint both the exterior and the interior of the Lodge and of course not forgetting the
repairs of the pedestals stationed in all the relevant corners of the Lodge room. To crown it all, flowers were planted round the premises to give it that beauty it deserves. I am sure that a recent trip to Calabar lodge would leave one wondering the kind of magic that happened in and out of the building and its premises.
Masonry as a beacon of Light to the world of darkness has been at the forefront of building a saner societies by inculcating its high moral ideals on the lives of its members emphasizing on Benevolence and Charity among other ideals. These sum up the cardinal virtues which constitutes the hallmark of our ancient craft and explains why Freemasonry though not a Charity, gets actively involved in charity projects. Though there are blessings in giving and receiving but there is more blessing in giving especially to those in need.
Before God, all men were created equal and will be judged by the same immutable law. But we should also take into consideration that there are those who perhaps from circumstances of unavoidable calamity and misfortune are reduced to the lowest ebb of poverty and distress. As Freemasons we are taught and constantly reminded to show empathy and to extend a hand of relief to those found within this confinement, and that was exactly what Calabar lodge N0 3434 felt the urge to do. The Lodge donated several wheelchairs to the orthopaedic unit of UCTH and General Hospital Calabar which restored hope to those in need of funds to procure wheelchairs for themselves or for their loved ones. At least the beams of smiles that escaped uncontrollably from the faces of the beneficiaries spoke volumes and made everyone who contributed to that cause a blessing to humanity.
This selfless humanitarian act swept the beneficiaries off their feet and had them showering the district, the lodge and Masons at large with praises and thanks. Calabar lodge surely deserves commendations and a pat on their backs. Jos in Plateau State is our next stop where a Masonic Lodge is situated at the plateau and basking in its chilly and serene environment. Jos has its peculiarities which is the reason it remains a toast to visitors who just visited for the first time.
Our brethren of Plateau and Triad Lodges both in their profound wisdom thought it necessary to organise a Free Medical Care (FMC) for the IDP camp in Dong, Jos on the 30th day of January 2020. It became imperative for this to be done judging from the poor sanitary condition the internally displaced people in the camp have to put up with and as a precautionary measure to checkmate the rapid spread of contagious diseases.
The free medical exercise featured free test and treatment for cold and cough, malaria and blood sugar among infants, children, pregnant women, men and women in general. Our brethren of Plateau and Triad Lodges have done nobly and should be applauded. We pray that T.G.A.O.T.U will replenish them and bless them even more abundantly.
Ketu Lodge during their dinner tagged (Lady’s Night ) donated the sum of One hundred thousand naira ( 100k) to Brother Basil Emelogu who was diagnosed of cataract and in need of some financial assistance to offset his medical bills . In the same vein, Ketu Lodge appreciated the Caretaker of The Masonic Temple at 28 Broad Street, Marina , Lagos (Mr. Charles) by giving him some undisclosed amount of money for his loyalty and service to the district headquarters for over 30 years and still counting.
The District Grand Lodge of Nigeria EC wouldn’t be complete without mentioning St George’s Lodge. Founded in the year 1907, it has grown to become one of the prominent lodges not only in Nigeria but in Africa and the world at large. Its membership cuts across different races and nationalities giving it an undertone of a mixed lodge. St Georges Lodge is a typical example that Freemasonry unites men from all walks of life and from different races and nationalities, bridging the gap of racial bias. It is this shift in paradigm that distinguishes us as men and as Masons. Still in the spirit of Charity St Georges Lodge has always been at the fore front of it all. St. George’s Charity Foundation being a philanthropic organization founded by St. George’s Lodge No. 3065 on 29th January, 2015, is fully poised and dedicated to improving our communities in Nigeria
For over 105 years, St. George’s Lodge has demonstrated a tradition of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth through its various relief programs primarily focusing on healthcare and education. These you cannot take away from them. Currently, St George’s main Charity program is focused on building a Medical Center at Elegushi, Lekki, Lagos which will provide free medical care to the less privileged including maternity, vaccination and treatment of tropical diseases.
The foundation seeks to bring free medical aid to those less fortunate. In line with their objective, the foundation is building a fully functional Medical Clinic which will be operated by Development Africa to meet the primary healthcare needs of Nigerians that have no access to proper medical facilities.
To date land has been secured in Elegushi, Lekki and all permits have been approved for the project. Fencing and foundation works have been completed and work has gotten to the casting of the final floor level. We hope to welcome any brother who wishes to be part of our growing benefactor’s family at St. Georges Charity; since we still have quite a way to go to complete this project. Indeed, men of honour affect the life of those living around them in a positive ways and this is Masonry making the world a better place.
Bro Kevin Sylvester Nwaekpe
Fraternity Lodge N0 7477 EC