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If we must remain as a corporate entity, presidency in 2023 must zone to the south – Northern Youth

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If we must remain as a corporate entity, Presidency in 2023 must zone to the South -Northern Youth

Comrade Elliot M. Afiyo is the National Chairman of the unarguably most popular and influential Northern Youth Organization called Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) the umbrella body of 42 Northern Youth Groups formed by the Northern Political, Religious, Traditional and Military Elites in 1990. NYLF is unarguably the most powerful and influential Youth Organisation in the North in particular and the Nation in general. This Forum has been engineering the processes of determining who the President of Nigeria becomes since 1999. Comrade Afiyo is the third National Chairman of the Forum after Prof. Musa Danladi Musawa and Prof. Sadiq Usman Abubakar. He is also the Secretary –General of the Association of West African Monarchs and a Senior Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

Question
Comrade, good evening sir. In your last interview that you granted last month, you clearly stated that APC must respect the agreement of shifting the presidency to the South – West in 2023. Do you still believe that it is justifiable?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
I have said it and I will continue to say it that the presidency must not only be shifted to the south but to the South-West because that was how the agreement was signed. I have not seen the agreement but somebody read it on phone to my hearing. If that was what was signed, so be it. If at all we must remain as a corporate entity called Nigeria. Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done.

Question
In PDP too, you were quoted as saying that the ticket for 2023 presidency should be zoned to the North – East?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Yes of course and of course yes. As a determined youth leader, I must say No if No is expected and Yes if Yes is clearly defined because my future and indeed those of the Northern youth are at stake. The North-East zone was denied that opportunity in 2015 by the former President Goodluck Jonathan. By justice, common sense and fairness, the North-West wasn’t supposed to produce another President after Yar’adua. But because the North-East was denied that privilege in PDP, the APC took advantage of it to present President Buhari and the North generally embraced the idea.
When we were shouting and drawing the attention of the PDP on the long term consequences of this action on the political scene, people from the south especially the south-east were mocking us. They went as far as calling us political Almajiris. I remember vividly, the president of the Igbo Youth Movement, Mr. Elliot held a press conference on the 16th of October, 2014 in Enugu and called us retrogressive elements. This is our time to laugh and he who laugh last, laughs the best. PDP has no option than to zone its presidency to the north-east zone if at all it must bounce back to power.

Question
In your interview last month, you claimed that your members from the north-west supported the idea of zoning the presidency in 2023 to north-east (PDP) and south-west (APC). But a group called northern youth forum issued a statement signed by one Alh. Goronyo that you were bought over. What do you say about this allegation?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Bought over by who? All through my life, I have been propagating and defending social, political, religious and ethnic justices. No government or an individual would buy my conscience. Check the Punch Newspaper of 17th September, 1997. I was then the National President, Arewa Youth Congress of Nigeria (AYOCON), I held a press conference warning the South against targeting Northern Sole Administrators. I was called and termed a sell out by some of my brothers. My Pastor who is a Southerner, called me and threatened to suspend me. I was part of the organizers of SAP riots during Babangida’s regime despite the fact that two of my Cousins were occupying sensitive positions in that government. My Mentor Prof. Jubril Aminu was the Minister for Education, yet I personally sponsored the riots as a Student. I don’t believe in sentiments. Peace can only be guaranteed if there is justice and fairness.
Of course, we expected reactions from people like Goronyo. In every house, there must be different vessels. The NYLF does not collect money from anybody but gives money to people. You are free to check our accounts from 1990 till date. The decision was taken by NYLF NEC during our meeting in Gombe not by me and I stand by that decision.

Question
There is this argument that the South-West may not have a generally acceptable candidate for APC because of the rift between the gladiators such as Tinubu and Fayemi. Don’t you think that it would affect the chances of the APC?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
You should know that I am not a card carrying member of any political party and will never be in any way.
I am not supporting any candidate. Let me tell you the truth. This political rift is being engineered and sponsored by forces outside the South-West because of their personal political interests. You can’t imagine the APC lobbying the former president Jonathan to contest. Where are the Lai Mohammed who told us that Jonathan’s administration was the worst government ever produced in this country in terms of corruption. They keep blaming such government throughout the first four years. You are now lobbying the head of that government to come and lead you in 2023. This is simply political ineptitude and madness.
As I said earlier, I am not campaigning for any candidate but I can tell that Bola Tinubu would make a good candidate of the APC because of his boldness, courage and political doggedness. He has demonstrated it under Obasanjo. If Lagos could survive without federal allocation under Tinubu, I think the APC needs to consider him. Besides, he has paid the price than any other person.
Mind you it is my personal opinion not that of the NYLF and I am not endorsing him. The decision of the NEC of NYLF supersedes and overrides any other personal interest.

Question
People especially from the South are saying that Nigeria should be restructured before 2023 elections. What is your Forum’s opinion?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Nigeria needs restructuring from the ward level to federal level no doubt. But what are we restructuring and how? No one tells us how and what. Some are saying that the powers are concentrated at the Centre, so there is need for devolution of power. What of the states? The state Governors are more like Emperors in their States. The truth is there is no genuine intention to ensure justice or correct the injustices in Nigeria.
Obasanjo came up with a constitutional conference that has a hidden agenda of third term. A new constitution written by three persons was smuggled into the venue even before the start of the business. How do you expect the outcome of such conference to receive general and wide acceptability? That was why I declined or rejected my nomination as a Delegate because I knew the reason why it was conceived.
In 2014, Jonathan came up with another one whose outcome has been written even before the announcement. To perfect the predetermined result, Delegates were carefully handpicked and selected. That was why I deliberately held a press conference in Yenagoa and said that the conference is already dead on arrival because the North was not genuinely and fairly represented.
You cannot restructure the country without first tackling the fundamental problems of political development and management. The corruption and nepotism is more clearly carried out in the states and local governments. Let’s first of all, address these issues bottom-up before talking about restructuring.

Question
Recently the Governor of Ondo State issued a quit notice to the Fulanis to vacate the State. What is your Forum’s stand on the quit notice?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
First of all I need to correct that error of a quit notice to the Fulanis. Governor Akeredolu did not not ask the Fulanis to vacate the State. The Governor asked the bandits to vacate a particular forest which has become a den of criminals.
It’s very unfortunate that the Fulani nation is being erroneously represented by the Miyetti Allah whose leaders are local herders. The only Fulani leader who is the Sultan of Sokoto has spoken. That supposed to be the position of the Fulani nation. Unfortunately, some of the Fulanis who heads some trivial Fulani Associations do not respect the opinion of the Sultan.

Question.
You talked about the Northern political supremacy in your last interview. What do you mean by that statement?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
Let me take you back to 1956 conference. When the Northern Delegates opposed Nigeria’s independence because of the fact that the North was not ready, the Southern Delegates organized Agberos before the closing of the conference to mocking the Northern Delegates. Even Joseph Tarka, Ibrahim Waziri and Aminu Kano were also mocked.
This singular incident made Ahmadu Bello to summon a meeting of all the Northern politicians to discussing the political interest of the North and it was resolved that the Northern collective political interest must be protected, secured and sustained by all means irrespective of our political, ethnic or religious differences.
To demonstrate his commitment to this course, Ahmadu Bello dropped the prefix Alhaji and replaced it with Sir. He appointed Chief Sunday Awoniyi as his Secretary, Kassim Imam was made Governor and he also embraced, sponsored and trained Northerners irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political differences. Many indigenous minority tribes such as Gowon, Pam, Maimalari, Danjuma, Jalo, Dan Suleiman and many others were enrolled into the Military to give sense of belonging. Hausa language was deliberately popularized as a weapon of unity. Since then, the Northern supremacy was established both in the political and military scenes.
This is why every genuine or concerned Northerner must be worried with what is happening in the North now. If we failed to address this security and political issues, our generations will become political slaves in no distant future.
This political supremacy is being passed to generations. If in doubt ask former President Obasanjo who thwarted his third term agenda. Ask Jonathan why he failed to implement the 2014 Constitutional Conference Report who chased him out his massive infrastructural developmental projects and Almajiri schools in the North.

Question
Are you saying that the North would not support Jonathan in 2023 if he decides to contest?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
Dr. Jonathan will surely get the support of the APC to get the ticket but he will never get the votes of the Northerners in the election proper and you know what it means. My advice to him is to remain in PDP and be a kingmaker like IBB so as to retain his respect and integrity.

Question
You are a Christian and a Minority from Bachama tribe. People especially from the middle belt are yearning for the presidency. Don’t you think it’s time to think in that direction?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
I would like to state here very clearly that I don’t succumb to sentiments of any kind because I believe and strongly too, that I will give account on the judgment day. There is nothing wrong in identifying yourself as Middle belters. But it is totally wrong, misleading and unacceptable for middle belters to identify with PANDEF, Ohaneze and Afenifere against ACF. The truth is that whether you are a Middle Belter or not, as far as you are a Northerner, the Igbos will call or refer to you as Onye Hausa. Yorubas will call you or refer to you as Mallam.
Senators David Mark and Jonah Jang contested for PDP’s presidential primaries at the prompting of the middle Belters. Ask them how many votes they got from Benue and Plateau States?
As you rightly said. I am a Bwatiye man from Adamawa. Ask the Bwatiye politicians who contested for political offices in Bwatiye land to tell their experiences in the hands of fellow Bwatiye men and women.
The Bwatiye from the Central Zone of Adamawa State are perpetually and systematically being marginalized, dominated and frustrated politically. That is why we have resolved this time around to produce a Governor from the Central Zone irrespective of religious or ethnic background. We must team up with our Fulani, Kilba, Vere, Yungur and our Lala brothers to produce a Governor under any political party come 2023. I am very sorry for descending to the level of state politics but I can’t be securing the interest of the North while my people are being denied of their rights and inheritances because of ethnic and religious considerations.
Question
But sir, you don’t sound as a Pastor putting into consideration that majority of RCCG Members are Southerners?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
I am a Pastor and a true Oracle of God that is why I am saying the truth no matter whose ox is got. John 10;32 says you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. James 4:18 says anyone that knows how to do good and failed to do it is a sin. I can’t know the truth and keep quite because of fear. I cant go to hell because of somebody’s sin.
In our Church the RCCG, we are fortunate to have a Father Pastor E. A. Adeboye and our Regional Pastor E. A. Adeyemi who don’t use the pulpit nor allow the pulpit to be used by any Pastor for political issues and I am not a bastard nor a disobedient child. I relate with my Members purely on spiritual and other issues definitely not on political issues.

Thank you sir
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
You are most welcome.

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Opinion

Mai Mala Buni: Independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder

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Mai Mala Buni: independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder

By Sadiya Shelleng Hussaini

Change presents humanity with a confounding paradox. Whereas change is constant and inevitable it forebodes a vague sense of unease. Fear of the unknown taunts the nerves of even the valorous of men. Men of destiny however prepare for change, meeting it at the doorstep with secure pace .June 25,2020 was Nigeria’s governing party –APC’s date with fate, a day of a dramatic change of baton and democratic transition of powers from the ruling Oshiomole led national working committee to Mai Mala Buni caretaker/convention planning committee.The date may have caught some clay footed but quite a handful had no illusion as their mandate was terminated through “doctrine of necessity ” to curtail the crisis that bedeviled the party.

The hype and political intrigues that have characterised the tenure of Adam Oshiomole led National Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would not come as a surprise to political pundits. Being the governing party and one which prides itself as the largest growing political party in Africa, the successful transition of the party to a new leadership portends a lot for the polity and the 2023 permutations.

Following the leadership tussle, that consumed the immediate past leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, leading to the constitution of a caretaker/convention planning committee under the leadership of Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni, as part of move ahead the party requires everyone amongst its members and supporters to reflects on what should be the best for the future of the party.

Taking cognizance of the renewed support for our great party from the ordinary citizens of Nigeria as evidenced in the recently conducted elections , massive membership registrations across the country and ward congresses with leaders of the party largely emerging through consensus. It has shown clearly that even Nigerians believe that our party, APC remains the only party that can restore the country to the path of sustainable peace, progress, national unity and economic prosperity.

Therefore, the party now more than any other time, requires a courageous, fearless, thoroughbred politician, committed party man and patriotic personality who understand the political history of the country as well as dynamics of the APC, its antecedents since its creation.

Yobe State governor ,Mai Mala Buni has put the party on sound foundation as demonstrated by his political pedigree and diplomatic approach in managing the party affairs. The history of Buni’s political struggle has proved his extraordinary tenacity in Nigerian politics.

Based on the foregoing, Mai Mala Buni standout based on his 14 months score card as the Caretaker Commitee Chairman of the party. Opinions across the country among party leaders and stakeholders indicate a thunderous applause on the APC CECPC for resetting the party back to glory days.

Depicting the sound attributes of a great leader, the two -time APC scribe a highly detribalized, humble, focused, amiable and thoroughbred personality with good sense of direction. These are the qualities he is applying now to take the APC out of the doldrums.

He is man that is naturally loved and admired by the people; a democrat and pivot of mass mobilization; a man who achieves greatness through assiduousness, self -will and sheer determination; a good listener; a man that remains unruffled even at the height of unwarranted intimidation and provocation; a man with critical thinking-skills. He is a strong advocate of unity, peace and progress of our great country, Nigeria. He believes in mega- changes in the social, economic and political sectors and theses must be driven by the current generation of Nigerians.

Within his 14 month on the saddle of the party, Hon Buni has clearly demonstrated to Nigerians that APC will certainly form the next government and entrench party supremacy, internal democracy, party cohesion and internal harmony among elected officials and the party.

There is no doubt that his legacies shall remain eternal source of inspiration for many generations to come. APC on his assumption as the Caretaker Chairman had 64 senators then now has over 70. He has also made three PDP governors throw away the umbrella and his broom. This is not the end on his yeomen duties he is working hard to bring in more serving and former governors, legislators and top party chieftains from the opposition.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been revived, energized and repositioned for its national convention and future elections, while commending the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor of Yobe State, Malam Mai Mala Buni.

Speaking at the APC CECPC meeting at the State House, the President said the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.’’

“I have listened with great interest the remarkable job you have done so far,’’ he said. “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’

One cannot but wonder from which source he drives his rare aggressive energetic zeal and tenacity, in solving party matters within a snap of a finger. To borrow the words of the classical Greek writer Homer, he is both a speaker of words and doer of deeds. Despite the monumental achievement of Hon Mai Mala some forces are bent on dragging his name twist to a supreme court judgment to rubbish the achievement,let me warn them that the Yobe State Governor Hon Mai Mala Buni who doubles as Chairman National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will have the last laugh and would hand over party affairs after a successful national convention .

Shelleng wrote in from Yola .

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Opinion

Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?

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Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?

Fatai Olagunju

For very obvious reasons, the successes recorded by the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress in repositioning the party and massive defection of prominent figures into the party mean different things to different people.

There are those who celebrated the party bouncing back to life, others didn’t like the giant strides of the committee, while others who feel threatened by the reconciliation and coming of new members also felt bad.

For the opposition party, it was its most trying moment  after loosing three serving governors to APC and still counting.  The Caretaker committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni, has remained PDP’s most terrible nightmare.

The interpretation of the Supreme Court Judgement on the Ondo state governorship election by the Hon. Minister of state for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo, generated some arguments. However, Keyamo’s postulation now in public court, has attracted a lot of arguments in support and against.

The provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution as amended which forms Keyamo’s arguments, has been defined by other learned gentlemen clearing ambiguities.

Deputy Senate President, Keyamo’s kinsman and legal colleague, Senator Omo Agege, took time to define the said section 183 of the Constitution, making it clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and in explicit terms.

According to Omo-Agege, “From the explicit provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 bars a Governor from being a Chairman or member of a Caretaker Committee set up by his or her political party. More so, the position of the Chairman of a Caretaker Committee cannot by any sense of imagination, logic or simple common sense be classified as a being a salaried Executive office.

“There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on-behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.

“In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in anyway, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses” he argued.

Chief Adeniyi Akintola, Counsel to APC in a press conference opined “let me make this clear: this isn’t the first time we would be having minority judgements. A minority judgement has no value. You can’t cite it as the authority. It has no effect”

He cited “In 2008, Abubakar Atiku versus Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, there was minority judgements given by Justice George Oguntade, Justice Walter Onoghen and one other justice while Justice Niki Tobi delivered the majority judgement. So, there has always been precedence.

“There is no value attributed to minority judgement. So, what happened yesterday isn’t strange. So we are worried that some lawyers are attaching value to it”.

It is pertinent to note that, the APC constitution is very conscious of such critical circumstances and it made a clear declaration in  article 17 (iv) which states
“No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Therefore the party couldn’t have been careless in handling this matter.

However, in a very politicised country like Nigeria, other factors came in to define section 183 of the constitution.

MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION AND REVALIDATION EXERCISE

The membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party which has accommodated new and more members seem to have threatened others who are not comfortable with the new converts and returnees. They feel their positions would be taken over by the new converts. They opposed the registration, attempted sabotaging the process and now fighting the party leadership. The membership registration and revalidation exercise opened the party to many members who were hitherto refused membership. Prominent members who claimed ownership of the party lost the acclaimed ownership of the party.

PERSONALITY SUPREMACY 

Local politics between stakeholders of who controls the party in the state came into play. The conflict of  personalities between Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and other stakeholders had also manifested in who controls the party in the state. Unfortunately those who lost out are blaming Governor Buni for their trivial and now fighting back. They also define Section 183 to mean “Buni must go”.

 For instance, the personality clash between Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege and the Minister of state Labour Barr Festus Keyamo in Delta, Sen. Ngige and Sen. Andy Uba in Anambra, Zamfara state Governor Bello Mutawalli and former Governor Abdul Azeez Yari.

ALLIAMCE WITH PDP

Recent discoveries by the party revealed that some desperate party members seeking to contest positions are liaising with the opposition to discredit the leadership, the party structure and all other processes.

It is also worrisome if all the barrage of legal luminaries now interpretering the Supreme court judgement, could not realize any lacuna in the constitution of the Caretaker committee this all the while except now, 13 months after, then, something must be fundamentally wrong with their patriotism and commitment to serve the government rand the party, honestly and creditably.

PDP CRYING MORE THAN THE BEREAVED

PDP is crying more than the bereaved. The party seem to have developed more interest than APC members. They have temporarily forgotten their problems to fight on behalf of other members of APC. The reason for this poke nosing into the affairs of others, is not far fetched. The Buni led Caretaker committee in the last 13 months had deflated the PDP, subtracting three governors along with hundreds of thousands of their supporters from PDP. The Buni committee has no doubt made PDP very jittery and vulnerable.

 

 Who is afraid of Governor Buni?

folagunju24@gmail.com

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Opinion

Tunji Disu: The Making of a New Super Cop

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Tunji Disu: The making of a new Super Cop

By: James Bwala

Yesterday I posted a story from the Press Release issued by the Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. As I go through the story this morning, I said to myself indeed a chapter has closed never again would Abba Kyari come back to this position even if at the end of the matters that matter at this moment of his life and career defines him innocent of the allegations as indicated by the US agency – The FBI.

Kyari was a super cop who receives acculiat and praises from men who loves and hates him on the line of duty even as truth about their friendship is being exposed by the predicament he found himself whether guilty or not guilty. The Kyari saga has further plunge the unity of this country in questions with regional inclinations and expressions from the current situation butterfilling both the traditional and social media.

Nigerians massively are hypocrites. But there are still few ones who a still holding the truth as would a pastor and his Bible even if their position was a negative one. For the first time I came to agree 100 % with a senior colleague, Malam Yakubu Ahmed BK over his write up on DCP Abba Kyari. I mean without reservations – religious, regional, ethnic or when he falls on the political side. I had had reservations on most of his piece base on either of these but not this one.

Kyari has guffed. That is the right words but we are not bringing him into judgement knowing that to err is human and to forgive is devine as we said always in Nigeria. However, we do not know how the Americans defines this in their terms. Hushpuppi is caged and he is already vomiting. If he had been caged here in Nigeria, we have herbs that can stop him from vomiting but the white man has his laboratory to test, experiment and bring out result. So is the case with Kyari our one time super cop.

Whether as Nigerians we like what is happening or not the FBI has spoken. Our IGP has responded and Kyari is waiting for fate. If the gods have mercy on him, he may yet have some years to wear the uniform and redeemed himself in another capacity serving the nation, else a chapter on his career as a Police Officer is close and we salute him.

As I was going through my Facebook page, I come across a piece of writing where the writer was so exposing the sentiment of the southwest region over the suspension of Kyari and appointment of Tunji Disu. The write up reads in part:

“Patriotic Oduduwa blooded TUNJI DISU, takes over as head of IRT from Super cop Abba Kyari who was suspended for proper investigation.”

Patriotic was Abba Kyari when he was holding sway as every hand was clapping while he leads his team. These are the kind of songs Nigerians like to sing for occupants of dreaded and fearful position to do and to undo. If I were Disu, I will begin to count my enemies from this point because these same songs were sang by people like these ones to Abba Kyari and the same people are mostly behind the songs he is now hearing on his way to sit before the investigation panel.

It continuous: “Disu was respected/real national asset Jagaban’s ADC when he was Lagos state governor as such the blood that flaws from his professional veins is that of nationalism & patriotism.”

That is it! I now see the political game in play. Indeed as the writer says we shall
collectively, effectually and fervently offers prayers for Tunji Disu to succeed. But the questions is that, would Disu be Pariotic and Nationalistic in his dealings with Nigerians as head of Police Intelligence Team knowing the hand that has pushed his rising? would he be apolitical coming from the political strings? Indeed he needs much prayers but his first move will determine our prayers either to pray more lifting or cry to the Almighty to deliver Nigerians from the Pharaoh who place their moles in places as monitoring spirits over Nigeria.

  • James Bwala is a Nigerian Journalist and writes from Maiduguri

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