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Monthly Archives: July 2012

CLOUDED (A POEM) – by Femi Olabisi

It is a generational maxim

that life is a mystery unknown;

a journey beset with dreadful forebodings;

a variegated landmark of discordant terrains

 

I was born and bred

I was cultured to reason

that life is a nutty riddle

indefinitely clouded to discern

and beyond mortals dissecting

 

My heyday was a nurturing

a platitude of facts of life

a catechism of what lies ahead

a baptism into realities

 

But my libertinage to adulthood

my transformation to real realities

pictures a world of banalities;

where sacrifice is never measured

and sycophancy ever treasured

 

My ontology is totally fogged

my being lethargic to things around

because the world is clouded

and forever a mystery unknown.

 

© Femi Olabisi (April 2010)

 

Twitter: @ Femiolas

https://femiolas.wordpress.com

http://femiolabisi.blogspot.com

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Poetry

 

MOVING NIGERIA FORWARD (III): Back To The ‘70s – by Faith Abiodun

In an ever-evolving world, it is not entirely strange to look to the past to garner inspiration for moving forward, but it is quite unsettling to persistently agitate for the glory days in history. This exactly is what Nigeria has grown to personify at the moment.

Very little in the present gives satisfaction to the older generation or the new breeds; we have expertly documented the several challenges that cripple our country’s economic and social fibre and concluded that we were much better off in the past than we are now and that the most prosperous era in our history were the 1970s. Actually, many Nigerians would much rather live again in the 1970s if telecommunications and internet access could be guaranteed. But what is it about the ‘70s?

The four years that preceded the ‘70s were perhaps the darkest years in our history. The loss of 200,000 military and civilian lives in Nigeria and the loss of about 3,000,000 military and civilian lives in the Republic of Biafra left both regions of the country extremely weak and dependent on each other for survival. In spite of the relative victory of the Nigerian army over Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu’s troops, the nation was wounded almost beyond repair and desperately needed the words of Gen. Yakubu Gowon on January 16, 1967: “The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. My dear compatriots, we must pay homage to the fallen, to the heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice that we may be able to build a nation, great in justice, fair trade, and industry.” Whether or not the nation heeded the justice and reconciliation call specifically, fair trade and industry seemed to thrive in Nigeria in spite of the instabilities in government.

Between 1970 and 1979, Nigeria witnessed perhaps her best extended period of social and economic growth; characterized by a massive explosion of revenues courtesy of the oil boom. So great was our wealth that General Yakubu Gowon famously declared that “the only problem Nigeria has is how to spend the money she has”. When his government was overthrown in 1975 on account of corruption, his successor General Murtala Muhammed instantly demonstrated his resolve to build an equitable and prosperous country by using the words “Fellow Nigerians” for the first time. Murtala is reputed in the country, not only for his forthrightness, but more importantly, his courage.

His tenure saw the mass retrenchment without benefits and trials of over 10,000 public officials on accounts of age, health, incompetence and malpractice. He ensured that his reforms cut across the diplomatic service, the judiciary, the academia, the military and the civil service; pruning government and diversifying public offices between the military and civilians. Within the seven months of his presidency, Murtala Muhammed faced inflation in the Nigerian economy and attempted to reduce the amount of cash flow in government, promoted private sector expansion, and adopted a ‘Nigeria First’ foreign policy. Unfortunately, good things never thrive in Nigeria and Murtala Muhammed was brutally assassinated on February 13, 1976, but not before laying the foundations for a successful economy managed by his successor, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obasanjo’s military rule was much shaped by the oil boom which saw Nigeria gain a 350 percent increase in oil revenues. Several sectors of the Nigerian economy were boosted both by this unexpected windfall and the dedication of public servants to national development. Infrastructural projects were multiplied across the country; long-lasting roads were built, hospitals were constructed, steel factories were established, and manufacturing was greatly promoted.

During Obasanjo’s tenure, the Nigerian manufacturing industry witnessed so much growth that vehicle assemblies sprung up in the country, most prominent of which was Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN); the five existing Nigerian universities were equipped and eight more established; universal primary education was instituted in the country and the northerners who had hitherto lacked much investment in education began to derive some benefits from increased schooling opportunities; and the green revolution was sparked with massive distribution of seeds and fertilizers to farmers all across the country leading to increased productivity in the nation’s agricultural sector.

The ‘70s were such blessed years for Nigeria that the country’s currency had a much better exchange rate than the US dollar, durable commodities were produced and sold at cheap prices, food was available in abundance, and oil flowed endlessly through the nation’s refineries. It was also during this period that several easterners and westerners earned foreign scholarships to study Medicine and Law in the United Kingdom, several others secured employment in the federal civil service, health facilities were less crowded and more effective in treatment, solid structures were constructed across the Western Region under Chief Obafemi Awolowo, smooth roads which have defied wear till this day were built, leaving the country with fewer road accidents and making the country much more peaceful and stable.

The ‘70s are the years that our parents can never stop speaking about; they were the years when every single parent purchased those mathematical sets which they still brandish before their children; they were the years when two kobo purchased a good meal of ‘amala and goat meat’; they were the years when every one of our parents were top of their classes, even when there were 40 students in a class; they were the years when Government College, Ibadan, Government College, Umuahia, Government College, Ughelli, Government College, Zaria, Wesley School of Science and Kings College, Lagos, were the pride of the Nigerian education system; they were the years when ‘National’ brand fans and radio sets were purchased at ridiculously cheap prices, and on the foreign scene, they were the years when Nigeria had almost zero external debts.

There was something about the ‘70s that made Nigeria very prosperous, and it was not just about the oil boom; there were visionaries in government who made the decision to administer the country with a clear purpose and to invest the country’s resources into lasting projects. There were no thieving legislators who took bribes from successful businessmen to cover up corrupt practices and subvert national interest, there were no governors who embarked on 22 foreign trips in 24 months to ‘attract foreign investors’ to their states, there were no anti-corruption agencies which seconded the prosecution of big name politicians to the British government; there were no senators who served as covert sponsors of northern terrorist groups and there was no president who claimed to be ‘saddened’ by the wanton loss of lives all across the country while maintaining a disposition that displayed extreme comfort in crisis.

The ‘70s were the years when Nigeria was governed by democrats who put the interest of the country above theirs; the ‘70s were the years when military subordinates kept a very close check on their superiors and made it clear that they could be ejected at a moment’s notice for non-performance, and more importantly, the ‘70s were the years when Nigeria conducted a peaceful election and made a smooth transition from military rule to democracy for the first time.

There is an urgent need to revisit the practices of the ‘70s as we forge a path forward for Nigeria. National interest was at its peak during those years; the efforts of General Murtala Muhammed and General Olusegun Obasanjo on the local and international scene were tremendously great influences on local administration and regional integration. The ‘70s were the years when Nigeria truly earned the toga of ‘the giant of Africa’, and we demonstrated across the continent that we had a system that worked.

The ‘70s were the years when Ghanaians flooded the country because of the widespread economic development which we offered not only our citizens, but all citizens of Africa. We need the ‘70s again, but more importantly, we can make this decade and future ones more successful and more prosperous than our past. The same values that guided our leaders then can be revisited and we can collectively build a nation that we can be proud of. If Ghana could rise from the ashes of economic desolation, reclaim her citizens from Nigeria, attract Nigerians en masse to her markets and then flush out illegal Nigerian marketers within a span of thirty years, it will be a massive shame for Nigeria to stand aside and allow ethnic, religious, political and other roadblocks to hamper our development. We would be haunted forever by the memories of the ‘70s if we fail to act. The time is now; let’s rebuild Nigeria.

 

NOTE:  The writer Faith Abiodun is on Twitter @FaithAbiodun

 

Twitter: @ Femiolas

https://femiolas.wordpress.com

http://femiolabisi.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Is The Black Race Cursed? – by Ayobami Oyalowo

When you look around us today, you will witness a lot of inertia around the Negro Race or what we generally call the black people. The black people can be found all over the world but are primarily located on the African Continent, from where they migrated to other parts of the world, mostly due to nomadic trading, search for a better life or land and the ills of Slave trading.

Delineating the African race can be cumbersome as they can be found in Africa, the Americas, including (but not limited) to Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, the Netherlands and several Island countries etc. to make our study easier, we shall concentrate on Nigeria, a home to about 160million black people. Which suggests that out of every 3 black men, 1 of them is a Nigerian. A burdensome statistic? Follow me…

Too many stereotypes have been ascribed to the black race, most of it unfairly. But even when you look to debunk these unfounded allegations, we have a knack for bungling every opportunity to the point where one can almost conclude that the African race is cursed. But before we agree or disagree on the fact that we are a cursed race, what is actually a curse? The concise oxford English dictionary defines a curse as: “a solemn appeal to a supernatural power to inflict harm on someone or something”. So who could have cursed the black race?

The bible also teaches in Proverbs 26:2
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come”. So it means something must trigger a curse, otherwise even if pronounced, it may not come into effect.

Let us do a little analysis of what I garner from people’s conversations. In Genesis 9:24 and 25 we read: “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”. People over the years have claimed that Canaan was the progenitor of the black race, hence the reason we appear to be gliding backwards at every turn, despite abundant mineral and human resources available to us as Africans. But is this true? Are we the generation of Canaan?

In Genesis chapter 9 which we just read, the 22nd verse goes thus: ‘’And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without’’. Let us first establish the name of the individual who sinned. His name was Ham. The offence was committed by Ham. Shem and Japheth were those who covered up Noah, their father. So why wasn’t he cursed? Simple, Ham had already been blessed by the Almighty God in Genesis chapter 9 verse 1, and Noah understood the spiritual implication – he could not undo what God had done, so he made Canaan the scapegoat for the offence of his father.

In Genesis 10:6 we read: ‘’And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizrain, and Phut and Canaan….’’ Please note that Cush the firstborn of Ham was NOT CURSED. Furthermore note that Cush also means Ethiopia, who was the father of the black race of the world, and he was never cursed.

From the bible, we can deduce that God had plans for the Cushites or the black race. Moses’ father in law, Jethro the Midianite was black and we see how it was his wisdom and advise that enabled Moses to set up a sensible system of government that enabled him to administer the children of Israel after they left Egypt. You can read more in Exodus.

But what gave Jethro such wisdom in governance? There must have been precedence and a system. Let us quickly go back to the children of Ham again and see if we can get some answers. In Genesis 10:7 we read: ‘’And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan’’… Here we see Sheba and Dedan are described as being from the Cushite lineage.

Abraham in Genesis 25 married a woman named Keturah after the death of his wife Sarah and in verse 2 of the same chapter we read: ‘’And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.’’ The last son ‘Shua’, means to submit. it is also refereed to as Sheba in some versions of the scriptures. In verse 3 we read: ‘’ And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.’’ Jokshan was the second child of Keturah, so Sheba and Dedan were grandchildren of Abraham and Keturah.

Therefore the black race was also a partaker of the Abrahamic blessing and patrimony. These two names clearly belong to Cushites. So we can deduce that Keturah was also a black or Ethiopian woman.

Now to establish the dominance, wisdom and organizational skills of the black race, let us read Genesis 10 7-11: ‘’ And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah.” Nimrod was described as a mighty hunter and he started the Kingdom called Babel and I can prove from the Bible that civilization did begin from Africa.

Also the study of Palaeontology teaches that the first hominids evolved from Africa. According to paleontology, the early hominids’ skull anatomy was similar to that of the gorilla and chimpanzee; great apes that also evolved from Africa. But the hominids had adopted a bipedal locomotion and freed their hands. About 3 million years ago, several australopithecine hominid species had developed throughout southern, eastern and central Africa. They were tool users, not makers of tools. They scavenged for meat and were omnivores. Recent history also teaches us about the Nok culture, the Arabic Numerals and science etc

So with our rich heritage and history, both from the bible and secular history, why are we so backwards? Although Walter Rodney in his classic: ‘’How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’’ opined that much of our backwardness can be attributed to colonial and imperialistic Europeans and America, yet more than fifty decades after collective independence, why is Africa still the only continent where most of the countries are still disparagingly referred to as the ‘third world countries’ ? Could we say the colonialists are responsible for devilish men like Mobutu Seseko, idi Amin Dada, Robert Mugabe, Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo, etc – Men who at one time or the other superintended over monumental stealing and plundering of the commonwealth of their various countries?

In Nigeria today, there is a government headed by a man who sheepishly watches on (oh,how I hate that sheepish grin of his!) as the wealth of the country is being frittered away. The entire euro zone seem ready to go burst any moment from now, yet we have had years of plenty before the current financial crises. In the bible, Egypt, an African nation sustained the world for seven years during a devastating crisis of famine and economic turmoil. Today Angola is bailing our former colonial master, Portugal, while Nigeria with her enormous oil wealth can hardly pay civil servants’ salary.

Not so long ago, we had stupendous foreign reserves and we were debt free, but since the advent of the current regime, our economy has been in a steady decline and the debt profile is at an alarming rate. While price of crude steadily ascended, Nigeria, the former 6th largest producer of crude, continues to wallow in abject poverty in a land where over 70% of the population,(that is about 112million people) are living well below the poverty line.

I submit therefore that the black race is not cursed, but that rather, we have been accursed by selfish and greedy men and women in leadership positions from our ranks; without conscience or fear of God. Last year, the Nigerian budget for the aviation ministry was N18bn while N20bn was spent in servicing aircrafts in the presidential fleet. As we speak, over N3trillion is yet to be accounted for in the petroleum ministry. Not one soul has been fired or arrested.

In a country full of intellectuals, the Federal Executive council wasted tax payers’ time, money and energy, deliberating on a nauseating ‘cassava bread policy’ as the main agenda of governance in an entire week. And you expect prosperity? The black race will only be emancipated the day true leaders, not accidental and unprepared political misfits, finally assume positions of leadership– men who will be accountable and prepared for the positions of leadership. I have shown that God has no problem with us as Africans or Nigerians; we are our own problems. Whoever must lead Nigeria must have a track record of performance in his personal life. At the moment, Nigeria is one super highway of corruption, with the president himself conducting the orchestra. If corruption persists in Government, and still holds as an acceptable way of life, not only shall we remain downtrodden, but I assure you, the agents of imperialism will re-colonize us again, albeit this time, economically.

An interesting account is recorded in 2 Samuel 18: 19-32. David was in the middle of a mutiny, led by his own beloved son Absalom. Despite the mutinous action of Absalom, David left very clear instructions that the young man must not be harmed. But Joab the army chief in defiance to his boss killed Absalom. With a messenger with tact, guile and wisdom needed to break the news to David, and knowing that people who had borne similar negative messages to David in the past had been the worse for it, (the man who claimed to have killed Saul, had paid with his life), Cushi(the black/ethiopian) was chosen by Joab to deliver the delicate message.

In verse 19, Ahimaaz, also forced Joab to send him too and he in fact outran Cushi. And in verse 28, he got to David first but he had no message. Look at verse 31& 32: “And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said: “Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee”.

“And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, “The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is”.
Cushi the Blackman gave David the message, and although it was good, yet because of the death of Absalom, it turned out a negative message, but he lived.

It is time for our generation to arise. Others may have outrun us in the past, but the source always remains the hope. The black man holds the key to the physical, spiritual and economic emancipation of the world. It is no coincidence then, that Angola which used to be a war-torn country, has now become a major source of economic emancipation to Portugal, its former colonial master. Nigeria, nay Africa, has a major role to play in the emancipation and bailing out of the entire human race. Egypt did the same during the time of Joseph. History has uniquely placed us on the cusp of a major cataclysmic event in history. Are we willing to rise to the occasion? Ahimaaz outrun Cushi but had no message, but when Cushi arrived, even though the circumstances were not palatable, he handled it with maturity and tact. Are we ready to take up the gauntlet?

I rise.

 

NOTE: The writer Ayobami Oyalowo is on Twitter @Ayourb

 

Twitter: @ Femiolas

https://femiolas.wordpress.com

http://femiolabisi.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Thoughts

 

THE REASONS WHY YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL (A POEM) by Blessing Ukamaka

To the girl whose beauty is present

In all seasons.  

I tell you why you are beautiful.

 

Your beauty extends into the heavens

It goes on forever and never lessens.

Even when the cloud heightens

You are here and the world brightens.

You are like a fruit that constantly ripens

Your beauty grows and widens

 

My fondness for you constantly deepens

Every time I see you my heart weakens

You make everything else appear hollow

Wherever you are, my heart is sure to follow

You shine so bright; you cast your own shadow.

 

A beauty that others would love to borrow

For them to have you to follow

Your being they never can catch

Something like you they could never match.

Your beauty increases without a limit

Every breath reaches the zenith.

 

My imagination can stretch

It makes me question if what I am seeing is real.

I only know it is true by the way I feel

Your beauty is so vast it can’t be concealed.

There is no hiding it; your beauty is always revealed.

 

The power of your beauty is world’s greatest gift

The heaviest boulder it could easily lift.

A girl this perfect I never knew, all that

Changed the moment we met.

Heaven on earth I was not aware

Until I met a girl that was crafted with such a care

 

You would be the answer to a prayer

If someone asked for something rare

With beauty to spare.

If I had a choice I would choose,

Your love over the air I breathe

For air can’t compare to a girl

Not found elsewhere

 

© Blessing Ukamaka  (January 2012)

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Poetry

 

Nigeria: Our Ethnic Identity

Aiyeloja...

Ethnic and national identity in Nigeria have attracted wide-ranging debates and driven in several contexts to suit either individual or collective interest; it is a bond that is stronger than religion and the basis for affirmative actions in the country. Nigeria is a country with an estimated population of 170 million, and it is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups. The most populous and influential ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%. English is the official language as there are over 500 indigenous languages.

Following the 1970’s civil war, there have been several policies and actions at integrating the several ethnic groups with a one Nigerian state identity. In pre-modern Nigeria, the ethnic groups believed they existed as nations and after the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914; they exist as nations within a nation. Ethnicity is…

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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Thoughts

 

7 common habits of unhappy people

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Opinion

 

How to worship the Nigerian god – by Elnathan John

The Nigerian god is one. It may have many different manifestations, but it is essentially different sides of the same coin. Sometimes, adherents of the different sides may fight and kill each other. But Nigerians essentially follow the Nigerian god.

This article is for all those who want to become better worshipers. If you are a new or prospective convert, God will bless you for choosing the Nigerian god. This is just how you must worship him.

First, you must understand that being a worshipper has nothing to do with character, good works or righteousness. So the fact that you choose to open every meeting with multiple prayers does not mean that you intend to do what is right. The opening prayer is important. Nothing can work without it. If you are gathered to discuss how to inflate contracts, begin with an opening prayer or two. If you are gathered to discuss how to rig elections, begin with a prayer. The Nigerian god appreciates communication.

When you sneak away from your wife to call your girlfriend in the bathroom, and she asks if you will come this weekend, you must say—in addition to “Yes”—“By God’s grace” or “God willing”. It doesn’t matter the language you use. Just add it. The Nigerian god likes to be consulted before you do anything, including a trip to Obudu to see your lover.

When worshipping the Nigerian god, be loud. No, the Nigerian god is not hard of hearing. It is just that he appreciates your loud fervour, like he appreciates loud raucous music. The Nigerian god doesn’t care if you have neighbours and neither should you. When you are worshipping in your house, make sure the neighbours can’t sleep. Use loud speakers even if you are only two in the building. Anyone who complains must be evil. God will judge such a person.

Attribute everything to the Nigerian god. So, if you diverted funds from public projects and are able to afford that Phantom, when people say you have a nice car, say, “Na God”. If someone asks what the secret of all your wealth is, say, “God has been good to me”. By this you mean the Nigerian god who gave you the uncommon wisdom to re-appropriate public funds.

Consult the Nigerian god when you don’t feel like working. The Nigerian god understands that we live in a harsh climate where it is hard to do any real work. So, if you have no clue how to be in charge and things start collapsing, ask people to pray to God and ask for his intervention.

The Nigerian god loves elections and politics. When you have bribed people to get the Party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, lied about everything from your assets to your age, and you eventually, (through God’s grace), win the elections, you must begin by declaring that your success is the wish of God and that the other candidate should accept this will of God. It is not your fault whom the Nigerian god chooses to reward with political success. How can mere mortals complain?

The Nigerian god does not tolerate disrespect. If someone insults your religion, you must look for anyone like them and kill them. Doesn’t matter what you use—sticks, machetes, grenade launchers, IED’s, AK47’s.

The Nigerian god performs signs and wonders. He does everything from cure HIV to High BP. And the Nigerian god is creative: he can teach a person who was born blind the difference between blue and green when the man of god asks, and he can teach a person born deaf instant English. As a worshipper you must let him deliver you because every case of sickness is caused by evil demons and not infections. Every case of barrenness is caused by witches and has no scientific explanation. So instead of hospital, visit agents of the Nigerian god. But the Nigerian god does not cure corruption. Do not attempt to mock him.

If you worship the Nigerian god, you are under no obligation to be nice or kind to people who are not worshippers. They deserve no courtesy.

The Nigerian god is also online. As a worshipper, you are not obliged to be good or decent on Facebook or twitter all week except on Friday and Sunday, both of which the Nigerian god marks as holy. So you may forward obscene photos, insult people, forward lewd jokes on all days except the holy days. On those holy days, whichever applies to you, put up statuses saying how much you are crazy about God.

These days, the Nigerian god also permits tweets and Facebook updates like: “Now in Church” or “This guy in front of me needs to stop dozing” when performing acts of worship.

In all, the Nigerian god is very kind and accommodating. He gives glory and riches and private jets. And if you worship him well, he will immensely bless your hustle.

 

NOTE: This piece was written by Elnathan John, courtesy of Daily Times online: http://dailytimes.com.ng/opinion/how-worship-nigerian-god

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Comic

 
 
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