Cut down in his prime, Prophet Ekene Godwin Emmanuel Nwokolo, popularly referred to as Prophet Speed has been described by many as a man divinely blessed with the gift of foresight, who was widely known for his dedication to the things of God and philanthropy. Banji Aluko reports the many sides of the cleric, who is survived by a family of prophets.
If Prophet Godwin Ekene Emmanuel of the Miraculously Soft Church, Benin City, Edo State, had not been gunned down by yet-to-be identified gunmen last Sunday night in Benin, he would have continued with his church’s 90-day fasting. Along with the fasting, the founder of the church, popularly known as Love Fire Ministry, would have continued with the church’s ongoing 12-week soul-winning evangelical programme. This much was obtained from a member of the church, who simply identified himself as Ejiro. The church member added that Prophet Emmanuel would have also used last week to continue his door-to-door food distribution for his church members.
All these are now wishes, following the killing of the Anambra State-born Prophet Ekene Godwin Emmanuel Nwokolo, by men of the underworld last Sunday. The deceased, also known as Prophet Speed, was attacked at Oko Central Road, off Airport Road, Benin City, on his way to distribute food items to some members of his church. The assassins, according to the head of media of the church, Festus Edema, pretended to be pushing their car that developed a fault, before killing Prophet Emmanuel.
“He stopped for them to pass. He never knew that they were there to attack him. They shot him in the chest and the stomach. Being a strong man, he still tried to put the car in reverse and as he was reversing the car, he hit the fence and they came raining bullets on him at a close range, which eventually silenced him,” Edema explained.
Members of the church, who spoke with TribuneChurch, paid glowing tributes to the cleric, describing him as an epitome of love. One of them said: “He was a free man, humble, liberal, charitable and caring. He was a teacher, father and inventor. He was a down-to-earth person. He was a personification of love and did not worship or idolise money. He was also humble and said that people always assumed he was 10 years older because of how he looked. He was born in Sapele and grew up in Warri. His wife, Mrs Esther Nwokolo, is a teacher in a private school in Benin. He left behind a wife and a four-year-old daughter.”
From the picture painted of Prophet Emmanuel, his career was on the rise before he was cut down in his prime. They spoke about a 2,000-capacity permanent church building located off Sapele Road in Benin that was billed for completion next month. The building was said to have been funded by just one person, who was touched by the ministry and prophecy of the now deceased cleric.
They also stated that Prophet Emmanuel was a true man of God, who transformed the lives of many people. They explained that he was referred to as Prophet Speed because “things happened fast with his prophecies, and he was a man of faith.”
A church member, who worked closely with him, noted that the cleric came from a strong Christian family with his late father being a devoted Anglican and his mother a deaconess. He added that many members of Prophet Emmanuel’s family, including his brothers and sisters, were prophet and prophetesses.
He said: “They are a family of prophets and prophetesses; it’s a gift in their family. The father is late but the mother is alive. They are all based in Benin.”
They also spoke about how the present location of the church at 3, Ugiagbe Street, off Country Home Motel Road in Benin, came into being. The location, they pointed out, was leased to the church, hence the use of detachable roof at the 200-seater hall. They noted that church service did not start at the 200-seater hall when Prophet Emmanuel established the church in March 2016. They showed TribuneChurch a small space at the back of the present church hall that was first used for services. Weeks later, the church was able to put up the present detachable-roof structure that is currently in use.
Before the 33-year-old prophet established his church, he was with the Sapele Road, Benin, branch of the Winners Church, where he acted as the head of the Evangelical Unit for about two years. He was also made a pastor in the church and moved to a community in Orhiomwon Local Government Area of the state, where he assisted to establish a branch of the Winners Church and stayed for about two years. After leaving Winners Church, Emmanuel served under his younger brother, Apostle Light Chidera, at his Angel City Ministry in Benin.
Emmanuel is described as a humble and quiet person, who could not hurt a fly. A church member, who witnessed an event that involved the cleric, recalled how he was tongue-lashed by a motorist one day after he parked by the roadside to buy something.
He said: “The man (motorist) abused him and called him crazy. I was enraged, due to the way the man spoke and expected a strong reaction from Pastor. However, he simply said, ‘Sorry, I’m very sorry’ to the driver. I remember what he used to tell me that soft answers turn away wrath. Such was his personality.”
When asked what becomes of the church after his death, he expressed confidence that the Emmanuel’s “vision moves on.” He noted that the midweek service, led by the deceased’s elder sister, Prophetess NK, was held on Thursday and that there would be service on Sunday. He noted that many members of the church had reported their encounters with the prophet in their dreams since his death and that his presence was being felt in the church.
He said: “There is hierarchy here. We have about five pastors here. He may no longer be here again but everyone knows their place. There are people who strongly believe in his vision and mandates. They will work together to ensure that these things do not die. In fact, the members are more dedicated to the mandate now because they know that if the church goes down, the devil will succeed. The church lives on, irrespective of Prophet’s death.”
Meanwhile, family members of Emmanuel have continued to mourn his loss. Since his demise, his brothers, sisters and mother have continued to gather at their family house to discuss the unfortunate incident. TribuneChurch gathered that his body had been deposited at a mortuary as the date for his burial had not been fixed. They also did not disclose if his remains would be buried in Benin or taken to Anambra State.