The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity says its ultimate objective is to promote good values, discipline and justice in the society.
The leader of the fraternity, Chief Francis Meshioye, said this at a news conference in Lagos on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the news conference was to flag off the Founder’s Day celebration of the fraternity.
Meshioye expressed regrets that the fraternity had been misunderstood by some members of the public as a secret society.
He pointed out that there was nothing secret or negative about the fraternity, saying the group was set up for the good of society.
Meshioye added that the group was actually founded in 1914 by a Christian, Deacon Jacobson Ogunbiyi, to promote Christianity and the fear of God among people.
He said the group was later expanded to accommodate people of different faiths, explaining that this was responsible for the change in name from Ogboni Fraternity to Reformed Ogboni Fraternity.
Meshioye emphasised that the fraternity was strictly for positive values, saying some respected Nigerians were members of the fraternity.
He said: “The objective of Ogbonism is to elevate the whole man by inculcating in all members the constant practice of virtue and the Golden Rule to do unto others (members or non-members) as one would wish them to do unto him.
“This provision invokes the intellectual, moral and physical capabilities of members. It is the summary of the teachings of the greatest commandment that Jesus Christ gave his apostles.
“Strictly adhered to, we would not have the evils that plague our society today. On the other hand, there would have been peace, harmony, love and unity among the nations of the world.
“If a good Ogboni is not sober, honest, industrious, benevolent, charitable, a good husband, a good housewife, a kind father, a kind mother, a loyal and virtuous citizen, it is because he has not understood the principles inculcated through various stages of his or her elevation processes.
“The many other positive impacts of ROF on the generality of society include good citizenship, moral discipline and personal discipline.
“The fraternity teaches its members to practise universal brotherhood of man because the ROF dissociates itself from tribalism and nepotism.
“The ROF embraces all its members as uterine brothers who are faithful, honest and sincere to one another.”
Meshioye, who said it was important for people to truly understand what the group stood for, called on Nigerians to embrace the fraternity’s virtues.
The group leader also urged Nigerians to join the fraternity and be part of the movement to make the society better for all.
Meshioye said the celebration of ROF’s Founder’s Day was to promote the ideals of the group and to show the world the “right light’’.