UMUAHIA LODGE - NO. 9883 (2014)
The Lodge was consecrated on Saturday, 22nd March, 2014 at Lodge Merridian Hall Uzo-Oba, Umuda Isingwu Umuahia , Abia State.
Umuahia is the capital of Abia State in the Southeastern Nigeria. Umuahia is located along the rail road that lies between Port Harcourt to the South of Umuahia and Enugu city to its north. Umuahia is a town made up of five clans with each clan having her own origins and of how they came to settle at the place later named called Umuahia.
Umuahia Divisional Office was established by the British colonial administration of Nigeria in the early 20th century as the administrative headquarters of the Old Bende Division; and later Umuahia was declared the second capital of the short-lived nation of the Republic of Biafra on 28 September 1967 after the first capital, Enugu, was over ran by Nigeria troops.
Long before Umuahia made history as the capital of the defunct Republic of Biafra, it was in the immediate post- independence day to mid – 60s, serene town dominated by palm trees, whistling pines and raucous flocks of ahia bird (weaver bird). Umuahia was a city very close to nature, place where one woke up to the bird songs and inevitably, the industrious enterprise of a legion of ahia birds. In the 1960s, every palm tree within the city limits literally had no fronds, as if by design. For as quickly as the fronds grew, the ahia birds would strip them for their nesting. Similarly, every pine tree within eyeshot had a canopy of bird nesting as if they were some form of abstract graphic design.
Legend has it that Umuahia acquired its name and enterprise from the ever- present colonies of flocking ahia birds. However, there were other legends. First, was that which claimed that the name Umuahia derived from the town’s position as a centre of market activities [ Oma Ahia ]. This then gave rise to two possible adulterated meanings: Oma – Ahia , “ market-square’’ or Umu-ahia, “ market –children.’’
Umuahia has been well known as an agricultural produce market center since 1916. It has also been a railway collecting point for palm oil and kernels; and such other crops as yams, cassava, maize, citrus fruits, etc. Far from being just another market town, Umuahia is also reckoned with as a produce town as Palm, coca and rubber produce merchants thrived in Umuahia.
Umuahia was an Administrative Center and a big one for that matter, especially during the Regional government era of the 1960. It was the administrative HQ for old Bende Division, which comprised of the southern Igbos of Umuahia and its environs and northeast Igbos of Umunnato, ohafia, Abam, Uzuakoli, Abiriba, Isu – Ukwuato, Ohafia, Ozuitem, Arochukwu, etc.
In Umuahia you find the famous ‘’ Ojukwu Bunker “used during the Biafra / Nigeria civil war. In Umuahia you will also find the first Ceramic industry within West African and beyond into other countries, located in Umuobia Olokoro, the Golden Guinea Brewery in Afrara, the first Teachers training College ran by the missionaries and the Catholic Church seminary in Ndume Ibeku. Ishi Eke Ibeku in Umuahia was the first landing place of the missionaries in Umuahia on their way heading west from Calabar till they ended up at ONU ICHA [present day Onitsha]
It was also in Umuahia that the white Church Missionaries encountered the Villagers of Ibeku people and it was this encounter, the famous Okonko versus the Faith Tabenacle church at Ohokobe Afara village, Village, which left many dead and on the run.
Umuahia was the HQ of both the Anglican Methodist churches of Nigeria and they still have the training collage for their priests called TRINITY COLLAGE in Afara Ibeku. The HQ of the Assemblies of God mission and their seminary is located at Old Umuahia. Also located in Umuahia are the Nation Root Crops Research Institute, in Amakama Olokoro, the Federal Girls Secondary school in Old Umuahia, the Federal School of Agriculture at Umudike, Government Collage at Umudike – Umuahia and the Micheal Opkara University at Umudike.
Presently, Umuahia is comprised of two local government areas: Umuahia North and Umuahia South. These local governments are also composed of clans such as the Umuokpara, Ibeku, Olokoro, Ubakala and Ohuhu communities. Umuahia town is traditionally owned by the Ibeku.
Notable people from Umuahia
Some of its citizens were Michael Iheonukara Okpara, the former premier of Eastern Region of Nigeria, Major-General Johnson Aguiyi- Ironsi, the first Nigerian GOC and military Head of state, John Abraham Godson, the first black member of the Polish parliament, HRH Eze Gabriel Chianakwalam Akomas (Ogurube II), the first black man to become a manager in UACN, former deputy mayor of Port Harcourt and the first Eze of Ibeku, to mention but a few.
PROPOSED UMUAHIA LODGE
Despite the fact that Old Bende Division with headquarters at Umuahia had colonial administration as far back as 1916, a railway station ran managed by colonial administration, Anglican and Methodist churches and schools ran and managed by colonial administration, Umuahia had no Freemasons lodge until October 1982 when Lodge Meridian 1742 SC was consecrated with W.Bro.Chief Bob Ogbuagu, PDDGM of English constitution as the Charter Master. May be he could not muster enough English masons to form a lodge, hence a Scottish lodge was the only option as Scottish constitution has lodge within Abia and Imo State area.
Lodge Meridian is the only Freemasons lodge in existence in Umuahia and the absence of an English Lodge in Umuahia and indeed Old Bende Division has resulted in some of our English masons of Umuahia origin and environs, upon retirement and /or return to their homes, to either affiliate with the Scottish to be able to pursue their Masonic career or discontinue their Masonic career.
Aba Lodge the only English Lodge in Abia state is about 75Km away from Umuahia, and there is no English Lodge in the adjoining states of Imo, Ebonyi and Akwa-Ibom to cater for the Masonic career of our brethren who are returning from cities of Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, etc.
In view of the above, we the petitioners are anxious and desirous of forming a new Lodge to be named Umuahia Lodge, the capital of the historic Old Bende Division and modern Abia state. And this desire has been reflected in the number of petitioners who have signed the petition form.
Lodge Venue and Meeting Days
Second Saturday in February, April, August and October. Installation in April.
Time: 12 noon
Meets at Lodge Meridian Masonic Hall, Uzo-Oba, Umada Isingwu Umuhia, Abia State.
Mail: P.O. Box 31 Aba, Abia State.
ST. JOHN’S LODGE ONITSHA – 3780
SIR ADEYEMO ALAKIJA LODGE – 9870
DISTRICT GRAND STEWARDS LODGE – 9889
NIGERIA CENTENARY LODGE – 9913
KEY STONE CENTENARY LODGE – 9923