Let Heaven Bear me Witness

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I sense it is safe to say that Nigeria is a fertile ground where evils of different nature thrive exponentially. Apologies if that sounds harsh but the truth is always a bitter pill, isn’t it? What is even more rankling with the people is the bastardized political system that has always been the avenue and platform for most of these atrocities. Or how else would you describe a system that only convicts and jails petty thieves while the real armed robbers that deprive us of basic infrastructure with brazenly convincing proofs are never convicted, let alone jailed!? ‘Let Heaven Bear me Witness’, a poetry video by Sunsampaul Egwu a.k.a The Philosopher, one of Nigeria’s fast rising spoken word artistes, runs a commentary covering a large chunk of our ‘unique’ social problems, their effects on us and our psyches.

The video has been wonderfully packaged, directed and shot by John Chizoba Vincent of Orange Artistry Republic. I must specifically say that the audio is superb and the background music is really a nice match that sets the perfect tone for such commentary. The simple spice of location, scenes and images depicting every message embedded in the lines of the poetry indeed are capable of inciting one to watch over and over again but the guitar strapped to Sunsampaul’s back really gives an impression of a musical video. So broz, the guitar wey you kari, why you no play am?

Sunsampaul begins with the ascension of our one time dearly beloved Buhari and his change mantra that used to be on everyone’s lips but presently, that has literally fizzled out all because ‘the change we voted is not what we have seen’. Nevertheless, the religious ones still choose to go in the way of their faith, ’they claimed it is our sins. Now tell me, haven’t they asserted Karl Marx’s maxim on religion–that religious gullibility and fallacy of social inequality and acceptance of their fate in the hands of their leaders? Of course, our ineptitude would be trailed further by decadence of all sorts, poor security and untoward scarcity of our basic needs.

If this poetry were devoid of beautifully crafted words, maybe the poet would have woefully failed in sustaining the interest of his audience but hell no, it isn’t! In fact, the repetition of ‘Let heaven bear me witness’ at the beginning of each successive stanza is apt, sonorous and captivating. The viewer is led on with the intention of knowing why heaven should bear him (the author) witness and just when he is close, his attention is drawn to another instance that continually heightens his suspense in the piece all through to the end.

Also, in the penultimate line of the fourth stanza, Sunsampaul beautifully wields his machete like a good swordsman with his coinages, ‘…executhieves in politricks…’. On the surface, the musicality of these words are thrilling but with painstaking consideration, we see that they really encapsulate the qualities of those in power and their activities. Simply put, ‘executhieves’ suggests that those elected to represent the interests of the people have virtually become thieves that have the backing of the law to loot as much as they can while ‘politricks’ implies the game they play with convincing deceit or lies on our intelligence.

At the end of it all, he calls heaven to bear him witness that one day, the table will turn around and ‘…acid rain…’ will fall on these set of humans that have made life extremely miserable for their fellow countrymen. Click to watch the video.

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