By Sunny Igboanugo
It should be obvious by now even to the dumbest that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Asiwaju of Lagos, and the Jagaban Borgu, has conquered Nigeria. The country is virtually in his vice grip and there is very little anyone could do about it.
Like the conquered soldier at the mercy of a superior force, the only thing left is to beg him to take it easy and pity the people. Don’t even bother to contest the fact or contemplate how he did it. Not that Nigerians did not fight, but the forces were just too much – dark forces, some might add. So, what to do? Just flow with the fact that he won the battle, if not the war – his own way.
In the run-up to the 2023 presidential election, his footsoldiers on many platforms, never minced words in telling naysayers to get prepared for the inevitability of his presidency. “Tinubu will be your President for the next eight years, you better get used to it,” they chorused as their usual mantra always. They never provided any lead as to how, but they were sure – dead sure.
Today, that declaration, or is it prophesy, has come to pass. Tinubu is President. And if it is further stretched, he would not only be for four years, but eight, as predicted by his people. Incidentally, it did not only happen, but in the most dramatic and audacious way that forcefully put a stamp of finality on it.
It is needless to state the trajectory that led to this outcome, except to emphasise the fact that the somewhat strange outcome is a reflection an African phenomenon or third world sickness – the reason countries like Zimbabwe contended with Robert Mugabe for donkey years and Cameroon is dealing with Paul Biya, Togo, the Eyedemas, and Uganda, Yuweri Musaveni.
In fact, was it not a notorious fact that out of the three major candidates, Tinubu was the only one who neither granted media interviews, addressed media conferences nor even participated in the public debates organised by different media houses and other groups. Such were either declared unnecessary or enemy territories, but yet, prevailed?
Even at rallies organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party, which he served as National Leader alongside then President, Muhammadu Buhari, or other forums his campaign organisation put up for him, his performances were more or less underwhelming – punctuated or decked in incoherenct expressions that provided a source of entertainment for many Nigerians and weapons of attack by his opponents rather than outlining any meaningful roadmap.
Again, Tinubu was the only one among the leading candidates that his persona was steeped in controversy. From his personal data to academic records, everything about him was all questioned both in Nigeria and even elsewhere including the United States. Yet, he seemed unperturbed. Yet, he still won the election at the end of the day, or more appropriately, declared the winner of the February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner.
How did he win? Many people, especially his opponents and their supporters, believe his victory was man-made. To them, if INEC had kept its words to conduct the election by substantial electronic means, he would not have had any chance at all. In fact they believe he would have been struggling in the third position if that had happened.
Instead, on the day of the election, a certain glitch a la INEC became the hand of the devil that put paid to the entire show. INEC server simply went caput, surprisingly for the presidential result alone as both the House of Representatives and the Senate that represented the National Assembly polls, were seamlessly uploaded into the server.
The election process over, matters were referred to the courts, where the opponents had hoped to upturn the entire show of shame, as some people labelled it. But that was a no-go area also. Strangely, the courts, either the Court of Appeal, Abuja, acting as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), or the Supreme Court, rather than delve into the issues raised, resolved all of them in favour of Tinubu and INEC.
Even the question of the deposition at the US District Court in Illinois, Chicago, with which Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sure he would finally nail the President, was discountenanced. The Supreme Court simply threw everything into the dustbin on the ground of technicality.
With all the obstacles, daunting as they appeared initially giving way, it is now all clear for the President. Nigeria is firmly in his hand. Whether he got it through the hands of men or everything was ordained by God, nothing seems to matter at this point. The Tinubu Presidency would be there for the next four years at least and ceteris paribus – all things being equal – till 2031, as it is not likely that he would allow himself to suffer the fate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the only one alive that did not complete his term.
Who even knows? He might even be another Paul Biya. If all the obstacles that piled up against him, a fraction which would have ended the career of even the most powerful nations of the world with the littlest adherence to the democratic decency failed to stop him, who says he could not beat the records of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, said to have attempted a third term to prevail and even become a life-President, if he wished.
Now, what does this suggest? It simply points to the fact that whatever Tinubu sets his mind on, that he gets. Is it not evident that he neither needs the opinions of Nigerians, particularly those speaking up against his current moves to get by? Besides, it is unlikely, if not impossible for any of his admirers in the APC or elsewhere to oppose his deeds or complain about them.
So, having been handed a fait accompli, of what use would be the complaint about how he decides to share the booty of his capture of power? Is it not obvious from his conducts that he feels no obligations to Nigerians in general but to those on whose back he rode to power? Do his appointments not speak to his mindset? Do they reflect a mindset of a leader inured to public sentiments or reflect any recourse to national ethos, character or constitutionality that forbids any form of nepotism? Who are the people at the Presidential Villa today?
If Tinubu could look Nigerians in the face and continue with the one-sided appointments he has been making since he came into office, despite the grumbles around the country, what then is the use of the continued outcries, about his supposed profligacy? Yes! Even the likes of Asari Dokubo, who had been threatening thunder, brimstone and blood-flow against anyone opposing him has joined in the complaints about the uneven appointments. Before him, were elements from the South West, who believe that everything is being concentrated in the hands of the now ubiquitous Lagos Boys. But of what use?
Like Louis Xiv, king of France, who was quoted as declaring, I’m the state, when would it occur to Nigerians that this is exactly what they are dealing with now? Nigerian President is Nigeria. The only President, Goodluck Jonathan that tried to deviate from the norm, paid dearly for it. So, what is the hullaballoo about the President gifting his empire N6billion or making available N1.6billion for cars for his dear wife or the so-called N5billion yacht?
Tinubu: Will S’Court insist on pound of flesh without drop of blood
In the drama at the court in Venice, Shylock, the Jewish merchant had insisted on cutting a pound of flesh from the heart. This was despite the passionate pleas from Portia, the lawyer representing Antonio, the man that was in his debt.
The story: Antonio, had actually borrowed from him with an agreement strictly stipulating that in the case of default, Shylock would be at liberty to cut a pound of flesh from him. Because he was sure of his credit worthiness, Antonio, a rich merchant himself was not afraid to enter into the treaty with the Jewish money lender, who had been baying for his blood, despite the inherent threat.
But fate, playing its ugly part, dealt him a heavy hand to the effect that the shipload of goods he was expecting, sank at sea during a wreck and he could not repay back. That was how both landed in court where Shylock insisted that the law must be applied in its strictest sense. That was the only way of achieving his lifelong dream of killing Antonio, his long time enemy, whose only sin was being a humane businessman as opposed to the repressive model Shylock preferred.
Due to the strict nature of the agreement, written in black and white, the court could only resort to pleading with the Jew to have mercy and accept his money. But he insisted on the letters of the agreement, even when Antonio was now ready to pay him, even tenfold. Reason? The date stated in the agreement had passed and the default had already been registered.
So, with its hand officially tied, Shylock was given the nod by the judge presiding to execute the terms of agreement, to wit – cut a pound of flesh from the Antonio’s breast, a sure way for him to die. Glad and triumphant, with a telltale glint in his eyes to underscore his sentiment, he had moved to satisfy his heart’s desire.
But at that moment, Portia reminded him of another part of the agreement that was not expressive, but all the same quite relevant – the fact that it only mentioned a pound of flesh, but did not include a drop of blood. “You can cut a pound of flesh but you must not spill a drop of blood,” the Jew was told, a development that stopped him in his track.
By the time the reality dawned on him, he was now begging to take his money. This was the man, who had insisted on the full implementation of the letters of the law – a pound of flesh or nothing. It did not even stop there. As the table turned further, he was reminded of other implications of the agreement, such that at full realisation, he was now pleading for his own life.
This scenario captured in The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most enthralling epics, underscores what is going on in Nigerian courts in recent times. Particularly in deciding cases arising from the 2023 general elections, the verdicts of the justices handling different panels seems to have reflected the type of judgement Shylock could have gotten were he in a Nigerian court.
Most of the pronouncements are completely outlandish to say the least and to put it mildly. They are judgements without justice. They are judgements based on the application of the law without the soul. This is tragic. And there is no other way to put it. Funny enough and regrettably so, the only excuse for this is that law is law and not public opinion.
A fortnight ago, Olukayode Ariwola, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), seemed to have added an extra verve to the trending argument in certain quarters that nothing else counts in law outside the constitution, when he told judges that public opinion, must be discounted in dealing with matters before them. Ordinarily, that ought to be the case.
But that is only in a situation of ceteris paribus – when all things are equal – when the Constitution itself is not cheated by some smart alecs. Else both the Constitution and public opinion must be countenanced in making pronouncements for the balance and stability of the polity. Anything else is public display asininity in the name of law.
Any Constitution that gives the people a bad society or enables the festering and growth of impunity is not worth more the paper it is written on. Nothing could be stupider than a law that allows the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tell Nigerians that the result of elections would uploaded real time and turn around to do the complete opposite on election day.
It cannot be the intention of the framers of the Nigerian constitution to allow the same INEC the leeway that makes it possible to be so lax and indolent such that till date its Independent Result Viewing Portal (IRev) still displays the pictures of ladies in the bathrooms or a hunting eagle or snakes swallowing a prey or completely left blank.
Any law or its application that shifts the burden of proof to a complainant rather than INEC in such an open display of brazen disobedience to its own rules, regarding the election, is protective of bad behaviour and therefore, like that biblical tree that refuses to bear fruits, that must be cut down and used as firewood, must discarded.
There were so many of examples to cite around the conduct of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which virtually demanded from petitioners before them to bring receipts of the grave of their grandfathers to prove that the 2023 presidential election was rigged, when those IRev portals were not opened to determine their contents or the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), called to assist in authenticating the claims of INEC, examined, on the clearly impossible demand that the petitioners must lead evidence to them one after the other within the few days allocated to them.
Was that the application of the Constitution the CJN talked about? Were the framers of the Constitution or the Electoral Act aiming to petitioners providing the scrotums of the ant or for the camel to pass through the eyes of the needle in proving electoral fraud? If yes, then, such a constitution cannot be of the people or helpful to the society and therefore, must be set on fire. Such would be akin to cutting a pound of flesh without a drop of blood.
That reality is even more apposite now that the matter has moved to the Supreme Court. As the last arbiter, the apex court has the powers to go into the merit of the case rather than rely on technicalities, which at the lower court, only helped to deny the country the opportunity of knowing who really won the February 25 presidential election.
It might well be that when opened and scrutinised, the IRev and BEVAS results would authenticate Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the true winner, and by so doing, put to rest the claims of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi, his Labour Party (LP) counterpart to rest. That’s the only way the Constitution will make meaning.
Even more critical is the outcome of the Chicago State University (CSU). Will the apex court enable an incorrigible liar, certificate forger, drug baron, identity thief – a complete fraud to become or remain the President, simply because he has the money to hire the best lawyers in the land to manipulate the law and spring him out? That the issue behind the certificate forgery allegation now standing against the President.
Of course, Atiku and other accusers of the President, may well be lying against him. But the only way to be sure who is telling the truth is for the seven wise men that constitute the Supreme Court panel to pass all the details before them through the fine comb of judicial integrity scrutiny. They cannot do that if they do not go into the case proper.
The popular belief is that it is impossible to remove a sitting President in Nigeria or indeed Africa. But that is not because of the absence of enough reason to do so, but the absence men of courage imbued with the right spirit to sacrifice short term gains for long term benefits. For the mere gift of a Prado Jeep, fat pecuniary lure, religious, tribal and even membership of same cult, all which are ephemeral, among other primordial reasons, decisions are taken that could result in negative consequences capable of affecting generations of children, centuries after.
Luckily as their lordships file out to pass their verdicts in the next few hours, they will not be hampered by any form of handicap in terms of knowledge either of the past or present. They are fully aware of their environments and are seized of the full consequences of every word they utter. They need not be told that if this house called Nigeria collapses, nobody will be spared. It will collapse on everybody.
Soyinka, Obi, Tinubu: When repayment of mafia debt is inescapable
By Sunny Igboanugo
Amerigo Bonasera was a longtime friend to Vito Corleone, otherwise known as Don Corleone the alter ego of The Godfather – that Mario Puzo epic novel depicting the mafia influence of the American society. However, unlike many who had pitted their tents with the godfather, in the Italian neighbourhood, he would rather avoid him and his syndicate, because he felt the consequential backlash could rub off on his well-laid business and reputation as a law-abiding, straight American citizen. On many occasions, the godfather courted his loyalty, but he rebuffed it, feeling safe inside the protective cocoon of the American system.
But that same system failed him when his prized daughter was attacked and assaulted by his boyfriend and his friend. Maria Bonasera was not only his only daughter, but the only child and despite his fears, was the goddaughter of Carmela Corleone, the wife of Don Corleone. Kelvin Moonan, her new American boyfriend had tried to rape her after she rebuffed his sexual advances, but after succeeding in fending him off, the young man, aided by his friend, Jerry Wegner, beat her so badly and damaged her beautiful face.
Completely gutted, Bonasera, a successful owner of Funeral Parlour, did the right thing, or what he thought the right thing in America. He went to court to seek justice for his daughter. But instead of putting the rapists away, at the most for their clearly heinous crime, after finding them guilty, the judge did the unthinkable – he handed them – suspended sentence. So, the two young men walked out free from the same court leering and practically mocking him – no thanks to the powerful influence of their parents, who pulled the strings from behind.
Suspended sentence?! Bonasere had exclaimed before the godfather in whose presence he ran to seek the real justice. After chiding him for rebuffing his earlier offer of protection in preference for trust in the American system, Don Corleone accepted his request to give him justice. However, he would not accede to Bonasera’s extreme demands. He had wanted the godfather to kill the two young men. But he declined. Bonesera’s daughter was still alive. Let her attackers suffer the same way she suffered, was his own option.
Pressed further to the option of murder, offering to pay for it, he again reprimanded his kinsman for trying to lure him to commit murder, particularly on the wedding day of his daughter. “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, this scum who ruined your daughter would have been suffering this very day. And if by some chance, an honest man like yourself made enemies, they would be my enemies. And then, they would fear you,” he had emphasised?
Having agreed to help him in his own way in return for his “friendship” he had given the job to his executor to conclude. At the end of the day, the two young men were so beaten with so much damage to their faces that their parents could not recognise them. So, that was how Bonasera, who had earlier pledged his everlasting loyalty by kissing the shoes of the godfather, got justice. Nothing could have given him more excitement and satisfaction than the disfigured faces of the two boys, splashed in the newspapers the next day.
But did Bonasera not pay eventually? Of course he did. But he did in a different way, different from monetary payment. Don Corleone, had visited him at the funeral parlour, three years after. His irascible son, Sonny had been heavily disfigured by the bullets of the competitors and enemies of his mafia organisation. He wanted his Italian brother and friend to fix him to look normal and fit for presentation for an open-casket funeral. Bonasera, who was the best in the land, ought not to have touched such a job, coming from Vito Corleone, a criminal to be avoided. But he was in debt, so high a debt. Backing out was out of the question. Either by way of gratitude and conscience or by knowing the grave consequences of saying no to the godfather, he was in debt.
How apt this story to the new reality in Nigeria of today. For years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had played the same role of Vito Corleone, though at a different level – politics. Countless Nigerians who were hurt one way or the other, found succour in him and through him.
When Muhammadu Buhari, before the end of his disastrous outing as President between 2015 and 2023, tried, or so it seemed, to shirk this obligation of playing ball after Tinubu single-handed made him President, either due to patriotism, knowing that Tinubu would probably be a worse calamity or out of mischief to hand over to another Northerner, knowing his proclivity for nepotism, he was stopped in his track. Tinubu simply reminded him where he was coming from.
He was not only quickly reminded of his debt – remember Tinubu’s Abeokuta declaration and his infamous Emilokan speech – but the enforcers moved in. They were the ones who completed the first stage of the project at the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja, beginning with the Northern governors, who took the initiative to rally around him. Now, you might be wondering why the North with their touted unquenchable taste for power could become so amenable. Well, mafia debts are paid to the full.
Asari Dokubo, currently has a standing army ready to go to war against naysayers on his behalf. His reason: Tinubu was his patron when as the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), he was arrested and detained by the Federal Government. Tinubu fully provided for his family including a home in Victoria Garden City (VGC), one of the most glamorous areas of Lagos. Debt!
If, perhaps, you are wondering what debt Yakoub Mahmood, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who virtually threw caution out of the window by practically killing the 2023 presidential election owed, listen to Chibuike Amaechi. The former Governor of Rivers State and former Minister of Transportation, provided the answer when he told the world how his appointment came via the Tinubu camp.
So, why then would anyone be surprised about our own dear Prof. Wole Soyinka? He provided the answer to his current wacky undertaking long today before now. To every ear, he had told the story of how Tinubu and his family provided for him when he was down and out on return from exile imposed on him by former Nigerian despot, the late General Sani Abacha who went after the necks of leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), of which he was one during his iron-fist reign.
He himself narrated how Remi Tinubu, the supportive wife of the former Governor of Lagos State, now President, provided him with pots and pans and other household utensils to start life anew. He also told the world how Tinubu it was that got him a letter of recommendation with which he then approached the government of Taiwan for the rice contract that supplied his daily bread. Nobody knows whether that source and the stream of income thereof has closed yet. Kongi did not tell us.
So, what would you not do for someone who fed you when you were hungry and probably saved you from the frustration of starvation and even death? Today, South Africa, despite all the threats from Europe and the US, has remained the major ally of Russia in Africa for the simple reason that the country was its bastion of struggle and hope to extricate itself from the vice grip of white man’s rule during the struggle for apartheid.
Obi: Still going about doing good
By Sunny Igboanugo
It is not unusual to hear some people in obvious overdrive of satiation, heckling and mocking – Peter Obi will never be President of Nigeria in his lifetime. Of course, it is coming from divergent quarters – the purveyors and patrons of the current state capture that are currently tightening their vice grip on Nigeria, their various supporters blinded by primordial sentiments – mostly pecuniary and ethnic.
Take Reno Omokri for example. Hours after the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election, he went all and about with this same mantra. Of course, only a few of the spectators of his current monologue and lone dance in the street like an inebriated village drunkard, would fail to understand where he is coming from.
Many, who are now quite conversant with his ways, would easily decipher that his constant solo attacks on Obi, is his own pitch to break into the camp of President Tinubu for what he could get, after successfully doing so with Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Tinubu’s opponent.
Just as he had tried the same trick with Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor and met a brickwall, owing substantially to the aloofness of the former President to stimuli around him no matter how virulent, he might be thinking that a more amenable Tinubu, would be different and would be the next meal ticket, now he seems to have realised that Atiku might not be offering very much, as could be seen in his less than passing interest in that camp.
So, the issue is not about the likes of Reno, his likes who are pitching for a job. It is also not about those already at the table where he wants to break into, currently devouring the sumptuous meal that the Nigerian commonwealth offers. It is rather about the outsiders who, though, are not in the two categories are imbued with either partisan or ethnic interests, even as they are as hard hit as the rest of the suffering mass with the realities of the crises of today’s Nigeria.
They are the ones to be pitied. If only they knew the truth. If only they knew that Obi has since moved on to where he came from – the higher plane of serving humanity. If only they knew that for Obi, the battle is quite different – different from the quest of power for its sake – rather than power to do good. If only they knew that for Obi, it is not about the acquisition of wealth, obscene, garish, insatiable wealth, mostly stolen from the common purse, but that earned from the sweat of the brow and using same to pull the society up by its booths strap. Then, they would know to whom they would direct their spikes.
Yes, Peter Gregory Obi, has moved on. He had always told those, who cared to listen that the 2023 presidency, where he was the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was not really for or about him but for Nigerians – that he had actually come to help. His idea was that since he had used his personal resources to try and better the lives of those around him, the presidency would offer him the greater opportunity of a wider spectrum – to use the enormous resources available in Nigeria to create a country that would be brimming hot with goodies. That had always been the intention.
Indeed, as he exhorted his followers, a few days ago not to give up, he would also not drop the gauntlet in achieving that aim. But in the event that the forces of darkness, with help from within and without, succeed in their evil plot to capture the country, he would simply return to basis – going about doing good with the little at his disposal.
That was exactly what he proved last week when he presented a cheque for N10 million at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Department of Midwifery and Public Health Nursing of the Millennium College of Nursing Sciences of the Awka Anglican Communion, Anambra State, a project he promised he would be part of till fruition, after donating N40 million to Faith Specialist Hospital, where the College is domiciled, all aimed at enhancing the Diocese’s overall initiatives in strengthening its healthcare facilities.
Hear him: “My motivation for this gesture stems from my belief that healthcare is one of the critical developmental needs of any society. I encourage support of institutions like the Church in their ongoing efforts to develop these vital areas. I want you to understand that these facilities do not solely benefit the bishop and his priests but rather the entire populace of the state. I therefore pledge my commitment to the project. I’ll also leverage my connections to secure funding from my friends for this purpose.”
Alexander Ibezim, Anglican Bishop of Awka and the Archbishop of Niger Province, while commending the former Governor of Anambra State, for consistently demonstrating his commitment to the welfare of the masses, cited his past accomplishments in the state, such as the return of schools to churches and massive financial support to the schools as well as substantial financial support for healthcare, as exemplary actions that other leaders should emulate when genuinely dedicated to serving the people.
“You’re a builder of both individuals and institutions. Your investments in education and healthcare dramatically transformed the landscape of these vital sectors within the state,” the obviously elated cleric, added.
Stella Chinwe Okunna, who was not only Obi’s Chief of Staff as governor, but his ears and eyes in many of his undertakings, thereafter was neither less enthusiastic nor short of words in praising her former boss, while praising the church as well for its dedication to initiatives that improve society, recalling how his vision during his tenure as governor, aligned with global developmental goals.
“Under his leadership, the healthcare sector was completely revitalised. Before his tenure, Anambra had no accredited health institutions, but during his time, the state gained many, including two accredited hospitals. Through Obi’s partnership with the Church, institutions like Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi, Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha, St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha and St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu now have accredited Schools of Nursing, School of Midwifery, and Schools of Health Technology,” she said.
Recalling his significant support for the establishment of the School of Nursing at the Diocesan Hospital of Amichi Anglican Diocese, and efforts to the elevation of Iyi-Enu Hospital to a University Teaching Hospital, she added: “It was Obi’s government that initiated the construction of Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital from the scratch, equipped it, and secured accreditation.
“His administration also built 10 new maternity and child care facilities in remote areas of the state, and purchased close to 100 ambulances for selected Anambra hospitals. Rehabilitation of 15 General Hospitals in the 3 Senatorial Zones of the state, building of over 120 Primary Health Centres across various communities in the state. His achievements were so outstanding that he won first prize in the Bill and Melinda Gates prize for Polio immunization.”
Presently, Obi has moved to the Supreme Court to try and retrieve the mandate Nigerians gave him on February 25, after the September 6 PEPT verdict. It is going to be another attempt in the struggle to save the polity and gift the people the New Nigeria, he has always promised. No doubt, the forces with evil agenda would continue trying to stop him.
But, win or lose, ranting of Omokri and his gang or no, be it known that he has since moved on. Unlike his contemporaries, whose paths are clogged with the numerous barriers of dirty wealth or its vulgar display, he has since won the battle long ago by shedding the weight in more accumulation and the gnawing hunger for more and more and settled for giving and more giving. That’s why, he’s going about doing good!
Igboanugo, is the publisher of WhirlwindNews
December 6, 2023 8:58 pm
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