At the Paul Dike Multipurpose hall located at the Sam Ethan Air Force base last week, a clear example of a will to make a difference was shown by gospel artiste, Prince Emmanuel Benson. He was launching his second album and also a single that he had recorded.
In an industry where millions of albums are churned out every week from many aspiring wannabes, what makes Prince Emma's story very unique is that this young man was born with cerebral palsy with the doctor advising his parents to drop him at the village as his medical condition was hopeless. But today, not only has he survived against all odds but he is set to make an impact in his generation and he is already accomplishing that. Apart from his double album launch, Man of God as he is fondly called is an author who has written three books and composed over 100 songs; all these he accomplished from the wheelchair.
Discovering his Strength.
Born 29 years ago to the family of Engr. Benson Okungae, Prince Emma showed a great resilience in being able to be independent as he believed there was some ability in his disability. He soon discovered his passion for writing and never looked back.
"I discovered my strength in writing, and I have written 3 books, namely You Are Born to Be Great in Life, The Greatest Mistake That Can Never Be Corrected and The expectation," he said.
Also to his credit and accomplishment is composing over 100 songs with three albums to his credit
The symbol of love, My Destiny, and the recent album,†Christ in me, the hope of glory that friends and well wishers came to launch with him.
Contrary to the report the doctor gave that he had no chance of being useful to himself and the society, the reverse is the case," he said.
But getting to the height he has reached now did not come on a platter of gold; it came with so many challenges especially in his music career. Being one that does not believe in looking back at his misfortunes, Prince Emma said he learns to forge ahead. He recounted one of the challenges he faced when he wanted to record his latest album.
"The money I wanted to use in producing the album was stolen by my erstwhile Personal Assistant. It was N100, 000 and I gave it to him to pay into the bank for me as I always had problems getting into the banks to pay in money since many banks don't allow wheels chairs into the banking hall. I discovered that he never paid the money and I cried on discovering this. Also, I spent a lot of money on mobility; I had to pay N6,000 every week for six weeks to be able to come from Alagbado to OPebi in Ikeja where I was recording," he explained.
It would have been easy for someone in his condition to just give up in the music industry but not for Emma; he believes he was created for a special purpose and he has his fans to thank for that.
"Each time I check my mailbox, I see one or two comments about my music and these my fans just believe in me; they are people that have listened to my first album. They just kept me thinking, if someone can believe so much in me this way, I don't have to disappoint them. Yes, it is stressful, frustrating and annoying, I kept on. I want to make an impact in my generation and I will be celebrated.
Inspirations for songs.
Listening to some of his songs, the lyrics are compelling and hit you with lines that you will take some time to think about. Emma reveals that he is inspired by gospel messages especially the themes from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) annual conventions.
"When I have an inspiration to write a song, I will keep singing it to myself for four days before I write it down and then arrange them. I will then pick up my recorder and record the songs before typing in my computer before going to the studio."
He explains that his songs sends out messages of hope to the hopeless, encouragement and makes people appreciate God.
Symbol of Love.
Among his three albums, he picks Symbol of Love as the one he cherishes most because it has a romantic story attached; Emma had a crush on a girl for 10 years and could not express his feeling to the girl so he had to impress it into a song and presented it to the girl. He was disappointed by the girl but then, he had achieved an album.
"I knew her for a long time while we were growing up and her family was close to mine. For 10 years I could not express my love to her so I did it in a song. The experience showed me that so many girls are not ready to go out with anybody that does not have money but I am not discouraged as I know one day I will find true love," a shy Emma said.†The qualities he looks out for in a lady are unique; someone that is caring, respectful and has inner beauty. Probing him to explain what he means by inner beauty made him smile shyly before saying, "you know what I mean."
Appeal to Pastor E.A Adeboye.
Having ministered in so many churches like RCCG Amazing Grace, RCCG Glory Tabernacle and others outside Lagos, his greatest passion is to see people's lives transformed under his ministration. But he has an appeal and a dream yet to be realized in the RCCG; it may be a tall request but he believes that with God, everything is possible.
"My dream and request to the General Overseer of RCCG is this; I have always attended the annual conventions of the RCCG and I have always dreamed of performing on that stage. I am appealing to Daddy G.O to help me realize this dream to sing some of my songs during the convention and minister to people as well. I am very confident this will happen," he said confidently.