In 1905, the Grand Lodges of Great Britain and Ireland promulgated a concordant, which made it quite clear and unambiguous that in a Masonic district such as ours in Nigeria, in which the three constitutions, England, Ireland and Scotland are firmly established, the three mother Grand Lodges in Great Britain and Ireland will not recognize the formation of any indigenous Grand Lodge unless the three local jurisdictions merge into one. However, this was not to be.
After witnessing the erection, consecration and installation of the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ghana on the 24th of January 2009 at Accra, Ghana, the then immediate Past Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nigeria Rt. Wor. Bro. Alabo T. O. Graham-Douglas and the Rt. Wor. District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria Scottish Constitution Bro. Chief Dr. Adonye Anye Ibiama JP felt the urgent need for the formation of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria. They were motivated by the fact that countries like Togo, Gabon, Burkina-Faso etc had Grand Lodges and their Grand Masters were received accordingly as such ahead of them. Consequently, they caused a meeting to be held with the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland on the following day after the erection and consecration of the Grand Lodge of Ghana in which a request was made for the formation of a Grand Lodge of Nigeria involving the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nigeria, Irish Constitution and District Grand Lodge of Nigeria, Scottish Constitution. The request was approved in principle but with the proviso that both constitutions cleared their indebtedness to these two Grand Lodges. On their return to Nigeria, while the two constitutions set out modalities on how to clear their debts, attempts were also made to bring in the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria, English Constitution to be part of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria. However, the attempt failed because the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria English constitution after a while replied officially to express their unwillingness to join the Grand Lodge of Nigeria but gave their blessing. A Steering Committee chaired by Bro Alabo Walter Obene Amachree Akpana, a Past Provincial Deputy Grand Master IC, Hon Depute District Grand Master SC, was inaugurated on Thursday 19th March,2009 by the Rt. Wor. District Grand Master Bro Chief Dr. Adonye Anye Ibiama JP on behalf of the two constitutions to draft the constitution of the proposed Grand Lodge of Nigeria. Other members of the Steering committee were as follows:
- Bro Chief Ogbuefi Fidel Chiwetalu PPGM IC
- Bro Chief Kofi E. Kartey PDGM IC
- Bro E. D. Andrew Jaja PPDGM IC
- Bro Chukka Ifejika PGS IC
- Bro Olumide Sofowora DDGM SC
- Bro O. C. J. Okocha MFR, SAN PDDGM, SC
- Bro. I. T. Williams PSDGM SC
- Bro S. R. Dapaa-Addo SDGM SC
- Bro Adebayo Fadairo SDGM SC
- Bro Engr. R. O. Abbey-Hart – DGS Secretary
The Provincial Grand Master initially rejected the decision while the District Grand Master accepted. This led to the second impasse which was later resolved by the acceptance of the Provincial Grand Master. Consequently, the Rt Wor. District Grand Master Bro Chief Dr. Adonye Anye Ibiama JP conceded the position of the first Grand Master to the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master Bro Alabo Graham Douglas and he to serve as the Deputy Grand Master.
At the end of the first tenure, the Deputy Grand Master will automatically become the Grand Master. Both thereafter, jointly signed a letter which was sent to the two Grand Lodges requesting for an official date for the erection and consecration of Grand Lodge of Nigeria and the installation of the first Grand Master. Sequel to the request, the Grand Lodges, Ireland and Scotland approved that October 15th, 2011 will be the date for the erection and consecration and installation of the first Grand Master, Hitherto, an implementation committee initially consisting of 20 brethren from each constitution was formed and inaugurated with seven sub-committees to plan for the erection and consecration of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria and installation of the first Grand Master.
After the committees first three meetings, the committee decided to replace all members who have not been attending.
Furthermore, ten very senior brethren of both constitutions were appointed as members of the Registered Trustees of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission. They include: Rt Wor Bro Alabo T. O. Graham- Douglas, Rt Wor Bro Chief Dr. A.A. Ibiama JP, Rt Wor Bro Chief Dr. Isola Abudu, Rt Wor Bro Chief Meppi Alfred Ivon Jarrett, Rt Wor Bro Chief Charles Dina, Rt Wor Chief Dr. S.O. Deinsah, Rt Wor His Majesty Igwe N. A. Achebe Rt Wor Bro His Majesty King Prof. T.J.T. Princewill, Rt Wor Bro Chief Benson Anthony Edegbe, Rt Wor Bro Chief Clement Isok There was a sudden twist in the administration of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nigeria when a new Provincial Grand Master in person of His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, CFR, the Obi of Onitsha was appointed.
It then became impossible to continue with the activities for the erection and consecration of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria and the Installation of the first Grand Master because the new Provincial Grand Master needed to be installed and also required some time to settle down in order to review things for himself. Therefore, it became obvious that the October, 15th 2011 date for the erection and consecration of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria and the Installation of the First Grand Master was no longer feasible. The new Provincial Grand Master was installed on the 27th of August, 2011 but could not open discussion on the formation of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria with the Scottish Constitution because of the ill-health of the Rt. Wor. District Grand Master Bro Chief Dr. Adonye Anye Ibiama. Nevertheless, when it became necessary to do so, both of them discussed and agreed to continue the pursuit for the formation of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria.
The Rt. Wor. District Grand Master of Nigeria during their discussion again conceded the position of the first Grand Master to the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master Bro His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe to ensure that the Irish constitution continue to maintain their interest towards the formation of the Grand Lodge of Nigeria. They sought for a new date for the erection and consecration from both Grand Lodges, hence the 3rd of November 2012 was approved. Even after the approval, there were further challenges which were amicably resolved. It is worthy of note that at the initial formative stage, the Scottish Constitution had 50 Daughter Lodges, while the Irish Constitution had 20 Subordinate Lodges. However, 16 Daughter Lodges of the Lagos and Western Masonic Areas decided to opt out of the formation of the Grand Lodges of Nigeria and two Daughter Lodges from the MidWest North and South Masonic Areas also did the same. Four(4) of those Lodges that opted out (Lodge Lagos Island No. 1717 SC, Lodge Faith No. 1271 SC, Lodge Aworiland No. 1701 SC, and Lodge Trinity No. 1674 SC) rescinded their decisions to remain with the Grand Lodge of Nigeria. That brought the number of Daughter Lodges from the Scottish Constitution to 36 and those from the Irish Constitution were 20 in number. In conclusion, 56 Lodges formed the Grand Lodge of Nigeria. With the exit of several Lodges from the Lagos and Western Masonic Areas, Bro Eze Felix N. Atako, JP was appointed Chairman of the Implementation Committee to replace Bro Chief Charles Dina. The members of the Implementation Committee worked so assiduously and with the support of the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master, the Rt. Wor. District Grand Master and all the brethren of both constitutions to make 3rd November 2012 a reality. It was indeed a dream come true.
We are indeed very grateful to the TGAOTU for successes so far. LONG LIVE THE GRAND LODGE OF NIGERIA!!!
Freemasonry is founded on the immutable laws of Truth and Justice and its grand object is to promote the happiness of the human race.