Olorogun Moses Taiga is the District Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Freemasonry, Nigeria. He speaks on the activities of the organisation at its 300 years anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England.
WHAT is the significance of this celebration?
The significance is that many years ago, there were many private Lodges functioning under a Grand Lodge in London which later narrowed down to two rival Lodges.
However, after a protracted debate and reconciliation of ceremonies, the two rival Grand Lodges merged to form a United Grand Lodge of England.
This year marks the three hundred years since the foregoing Lodges united to form a Grand Lodge. In fact, it is a celebration of the spread of Freemasonry under the United Grand Lodge throughout the World.
Where does Freemasonry fall in, a religion or an association?
Freemasonry is a worldwide organisation, an association that teaches people the spirit of brotherliness, being kind to one another, teaches the truth, teaches faith, and teaches hope and charity. It is the oldest and largest fraternal organisation in the world and also a social and educational group well known for promoting the values of honesty.
We believe in a supreme being, we admit brethren or people of all faith provided you believe in a supreme being just like any organisation. We start every of our meeting with an opening prayer.
When closing, we do it with a closing prayer but it is not a religion although it recognises that the universe is composed of both spiritual and material dimensions, not a secret society for it promotes justice, relief, love, truth and fair play or political organisation; for indeed Masons are taught to avoid all topics of political discussions when convened.
Political issues of right and wrong like religious inclination are likely to occasion dimensions which invariable introduce disharmony even in the most serene environments. A Freemason is, however, taught to pay due obedience to the laws of any state where he is domiciled, while mindful of the allegiance due to the sovereign of his native land.
It advocates that self-development is enhanced by a person’s improved knowledge and understanding of himself and his environment.
The association emphasises the extension of comfort, relief, and consolation to those who are in distress and teaches universal brotherhood while recognising that respect and reverence for God is the beginning and epitome of wisdom and understanding which bring about peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient.
What is the Freemasonry social responsibility?
As a social and educational group for promoting the values and importance of education, skill acquisition and development of the youth, the organisation has in one of its lodges a foundation for secondary and university education called Olu Holloway Memorial Scholarship Fund, the society for the blind, motherless babies homes and charities as part of its own social responsibility or rather giving back to the society.
The Olu Holloway Memorial Scholarship Fund is meant for the children of departed Masons who may need assistance with school, the recipients today include two sets of twins. The society for the blind, we are going to give them some money. The motherless babies home in Lekki, we are going to give them some money and also the widows, we invited about 10 of them so that they will be given a N100,000 each.
What charity project has Freemasonry embarked so far?
In life, it is said that of the three great virtues – faith, hope and charity – the greatest is charity. Humans are enjoined to follow charity. So Freemasonry as a benevolent, social and charitable organisation, we carry out a lot of charities and individual charities. For example, in one of our Lodges there is one called St. George Charity Foundation.This foundation is a philanthropic organisation dedicated to improving our communities in Nigeria.
The foundation seeks to bring free medical aids to the less fortunate. Through its various events, the Lodge was able to secure about N47 Million to be used for the erection of a fully functional Medical Clinic to be operated by Development Africa. It is hoped that this will meet the primary healthcare needs of Nigerians,who have no access to proper medical facilities.
Currently, we are focusing on building a Medical Centre at Elegushi, Lekki, in Lagos State, which will provide free medical care to the less privileged including maternity, vaccination, and treatment of tropical diseases.
One of our Lodges also donated a brand new 14-seater bus to Beth Torrey Home, a charity home in Lagos for physically and mentally challenged people.
Nigeria lodge has since 2007 been supporting the Beth Torrey Home financially and materially, has also helped the home to relocate to Amuwo-Odofin from the squalid Ajegunle apartment.
The Lodge also purchased a 24KVA generating set for the home and also ensured its serviceability by regularly providing funds for its fueling and maintenance.
What do your members benefit from the organisation?
A member becomes a better human being by recognising that humans entered this world in state of helplessness and were at the time fully dependent on others and humans should be naturally disposed to supporting each other, especially in distress and trouble, having commenced in a state of dependency.
A member becomes more organised by engaging in self-development and by contemplating the intellectual faculty through the study of nature and science and apply reason to the experiences of life. If the world is ruled the way Mason is run, the world will be a better place. That is the orderliness we create.