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Abia 2019: Why Ikpeazu Won with a Landslide

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By Jude Ndukwe

The March 9 governorship poll has come and gone in Abia, and the people have since moved into post-election mood and activities. They have also since resumed their normal businesses after the rigours of what was an intense campaign period for some and simply a test of popularity for others.

The final result as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is as follows: PDP: 261,127; APC: 99,574; APGA: 64,366

The good news about the governorship election in Abia is that while some other States are still at it, grappling with needless violent deaths of not few Nigerians starting from when campaigns were flagged off last year, the conduct in Abia recorded no violence.

The free, fair, transparent, credible and violence-free conduct of the election in Abia State can be attributed to the peaceful and gentlemanly nature of the governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who does not see any election as a Do-or-Die affair but simply the exercise of the people’s rights to freely choose their leaders. Despite all the shenanigans of his opponents, the bitterness of their campaigns, their twisting of facts to suit their warped narratives, their belligerent posturing etc, the governor never replied in kind. He was rather busy telling the people what he had done and the need to reelect him so as to continue to take Abia on the path of irreversible prosperity.

Abians are peace loving people. That is why the State has remained one of the most peaceful States in Nigeria under Ikpeazu, and it showed during the election, so that no matter how good one’s manifesto is, belligerent posturing put them off. After their ugly experiences in the past, there was no way Abians were going to elect anyone of bellicose nature to lead them and cause bitter divisions among them based on party and or tribal lines, entrench crime and criminalities and turn the state to a breeding ground for hoodlums. So, it was only natural that they queued behind Dr Okezie Ikpeazu who has been able to restore Abia to a State of peace which Abians earnestly craved for before the coming of the incumbent.

It is instructive to note at this point that in a report  by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), for election-related killings between November 16, 2018 to March 10, 2019, while neighbouring States like Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, recorded 2, 1, 8, 55, 4 and 2, respectively, Abia recorded no single casualty.

The massive infrastructural development taking place in Abia is another factor that got Ikpeazu an easy reelection. With 74 road projects completed and over 90 others of strategic importance to the people and the State ongoing, Abians knew that they have never had it so good and reelecting Ikpeazu based on this was a no brainer.

Having constructed 4 new Model Schools, 359 new classroom blocks, and renovated about 70 of them across the three senatorial zones of the State, the educational sector of Abia received a massive boost under the governor to the extent that the State sits with pride atop all other States of the federation in WASCE in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and still counting, and could not be dislodged by others no matter their resources.

Abia has remained the only State throughout the federation where all her primary school pupils are fed in school every school day. While the federal government feeds children of Primary 1 – 3 nationwide, Abia feeds her pupils from Primary 4 – 6, despite her lean resources, thereby making her the only State of the federation where all her primary school pupils are fed every school day.

The result of this massive investments keep showing in the result the State posts every year in WASCE and other external exams.

This investment has also seen the State owned university, Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), improve massively in the National Universities Commission (NUC) ranking, from 96th when Ikpeazu assumed office in 2015 to currently being in the first 10.

The revolution in agriculture where over 4 million high yielding tenera palm seedlings have been distributed to farmers is another factor that has endeared the governor to Abians of all status. Government-supported mushroom farming, poultry clusters and local rice production have all empowered many Abians.

The infrastructural development of the state and the peace she is enjoying under Ikpeazu have also given massive boost to the governor’s objective of attracting foreign investors to the state. The Enyimba Economic City, EEC, which is the governor’s prime investment creation and already labeled the “Dubai of Africa” by global investors has already attracted massive foreign direct investment to the extent that the World Bank rated Abia as the third most preferred investment destination for foreign investors after Abuja and Lagos in that order, for the last quarter of 2018.

The deliberate policies put in place by the Ikpeazu administration for Ease of Doing Business have also earned the state a rating as the fifth best state in that area, hence, giving the State the needed edge above others for investors.

Also, Dr Ikpeazu’s commitment to SME development in the State has earned him several awards including one from the federal government even though he is of a different party from the government at the centre. He has been aggressively leading the “Made in Aba” campaign to a huge success to the extent that the military and some paramilitary organisations have ordered for thousands of pairs of booths from Aba entrepreneurs. This is in addition to the fact that the government of Ikpeazu sponsored thirty of the Aba shoe and other leather works manufacturers to China to enhance their skills and acquire the requisite modern technological know-how to improve both quality and quantity of their works. The thirty young entrepreneurs have since returned and are in the process of cascading down their newly acquired knowledge to others back home. This is more so as the governor has acquired the needed advanced shoemaking machines for their use.

There have been revolutions also in the health sector where medical facilities are now easily accessible to all citizens of the State just at the dial of a number in the Dial-a-Doc Telehealth Initiative. This is particularly beneficial to the aged who might not have the strength to visit a health facility and are either attended to via telephone or visited by the mobile medical staff of the state. These are all in addition to 4 new General Hospitals built by the governor and strategically located in different parts of the State in addition to the already existing ones.

There is hardly any sector or population group in Abia State that the governor has not touched directly. It is therefore not surprising that long before the March 9 governorship election, Dr Ikpeazu had received a gale of endorsements from notable groups including political blocs, religious groups, traditional rulers, civil servants, artisans, traders, entrepreneurs, professional bodies, student and youth groups, women groups etc.

Among all the contenders, it was only Dr Okezie Ikpeazu who ran a comprehensive and energy sapping campaign that took him round all the 17 local government areas of the state despite his extremely tight schedule as governor. His wife, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu also took to the streets vigorously campaigning for her husband from one local government to the other. While all these were on, the other candidates locked up and made themselves comfortable within the confines of their air conditioned campaign offices without reaching out to the people even if in, at least, five local governments of the 17 in the State. Throughout the campaign, a majority of Abians could not reach nor interact with them in person. They cordoned themselves off from the people and only made feeble attempts to reach out to the electorate through the media and social media which, most rural people where the bulk of votes come from, do not even have easy access to. While Ikpeazu was busy selling himself, his programmes and projects to the people in person, and even featured several times on all the radio stations in Abia State in no holds barred phone-in programmes, others were relying on “federal might” and “red eyes” for magic! Tragic!

From the foregoing, no objective political observer would be surprised at Ikpeazu’s landslide victory at the last governorship poll.

His case was even made easier by the Charter of Equity as bequeathed by Abia’s founding fathers which stipulates that, for the sake of fairness and peace, the Abia State governorship should be rotated among the three senatorial zones of Abia North, Abia Central and Abia South. Having taken their own turns from 1999 – 2007 (Abia North through Orji Uzor Kalu), and from 2007 – 2015 (Abia Central through Senator T.A. Orji), it was only fair and just that the people of Abia South where Ikpeazu hails from be allowed to complete their own eight years of two tenures as did his predecessors. This is more so given the achievements of the incumbent which have more than justified the Charter.

There was no way Abians were going to jettison the Charter just to satisfy the selfish yearnings of few politicians who hail from the same senatorial zones that had already taken their turn at the governorship in the past. That would have been a recipe for disaster in the State. To avoid such a political catastrophe, Abians overwhelmingly rejected the other contenders and stuck with Ikpeazu in order to preserve the sanctity of the Charter of Equity that has been an effective template for the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the other in the state, hence, Ikpeazu’s landslide victory at the polls had long been foretold by political historians and scientists, and unfolded as expected based on the variables enumerated above and even more!

An attempt by anyone to challenge this people-oriented election in court will court the people’s anger against such a person and will further diminish the little of what is left of the person’s image before the people.

jrndukwe@yaho.co.uk; Twitter: @stjudendukwe

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BARUWA CONFIRMS IYERU AS OGUN NURTW CHAIRMAN

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By Ademola Orunbon

 Baruwa stated this at a peace meeting organized to settle the rifts within the Union in Ogun state against the backdrop of the Union been factionalized, held at National Secretariat of the Union in Abuja.

He emphasized that Mr. Hakeem Bodunrin (Iyeru) was the authentic State Chairman of the NURTW, noting that he has been asked to constitute his members for immediate inauguration.

“Nobody is contesting the Chairmanship position with Iyaru as at today, he is the authentic State Chairman of the Union, and he has been asked to constitute his members for inauguration, and there is no rifts whatsoever in the Union in Ogun state anymore”, Baruwa said

He said further that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s will would his priority, and Iyeru was the Governor’s bonfire candidate for the State Union Chairmanship position, noting that he has no other option than to abide by the good governors’ intention.

He then appreciated the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for chosen Iyeru as the State Chairman of NURTW, saying that he was ready to work hand in glove with the new Chairman of the Union.

In his reactions, the new State Chairman of the Union, Mr. Hakeem Bodunrin, popularly known as Iyeru, hailed the National President of the Union, Baruwa for his vast knowledge in handling the Union’s crisis in the state.

He added that the National President of the Union, Baruwa, had been given them two weeks ultimatum to reconstitute their members for proper inauguration, noting that he would apply all his track records in championing the cause of the Union in the state.

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Ibeto: An Enthralling Story of an Achiever

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By Ingram Osigwe

If you are 13 years old and in your mind’s eye, you were already seeing yourself among vivacious crowd of age mates resplendent in their forget-me-not secondary school uniforms, chattering away heartily in a classroom, and just when that dream was about to berth on the shores of reality, your own biological father rudely abort it, what will you do? Crestfallen and disappointed, will you turn your back on life and bemoan your fate for ever?
Some people with fickle spirit will. But the likes of Dr.Cletus Madubugwu who are made with sterner stuff and blessed with a can do spirit that does not yield to despair will soldier on with life, turn the disappointment into a blessing in disguise and later in life have an inspiring story to tell.
And that was the exactness of what the then young Ibeto did when his dream for secondary education crashed on January 22, 1966.
On that day, the young lad was in high mood. He looked forward to a new and exhilarating life as a fresh student of Crusader Secondary School, Isingwu Amachala, Umuahia.
Gaily dressed in his school uniform and armed with his school box, Ibeto was set to depart for Umuahia to begin a life as secondary school student and then suddenly his father made a shattering proclamation that would leave hot tears cascading the young man’s cheeks, crestfallen, disappointed and embittered: He was to make a detour to trading rather than education.
There and then, Ibeto was parceled, willy nilly, to Onitsha to begin apprenticeship in auto spare part szas a trader under the tutelage of one Akamelu.
And so began his journey through life’s pumpy road which would dramatically signpost his subsequent rise to the top.It will be safe to say that Ibeato’s eventual road to prominence was watered by grit- determination to succeed and excell after a devastating and unsettling dream crash.
Fifty- four years down the lane, Ibeto has not only shrugged off that initial life hiccup but he has also left bold imprints on the sands of time.
His zero to hero story typifies the rise of the proverbial Phoenix.From grand zero, Ibeto has built a multi- billion dollars business conglomerate, the Ibeto Group, spanning real estate, Petro-chemical, cement, Auto parts, hospitality, oil, commodity trading among others.
Naturally blessed with business acumen and fecundity of ideas, Ibeto’s apprenticeship on auto- spare part was abbreviated by the civil war. He was himself a combatant in the war having joined the Biafran Army at the outbreak of hostilities.
Surviving the war by the whiskers, he launched himself back into the world of trading at the end of hostilities. Thus, at the end of the civil war in 1970 Ibeto was already an enterprising young businessman. Ingenious and enterprising, Cletus Ibeto had started his business career in 1970 stepping into what has now become a massive business dream with the establishment of Ibeto Brothers Trading Company as its sole proprietor.
However, his major business break came during the administration of president Shehu Shagari, profiting massively from a policy change during that era. There was a policy that goods could be imported without import licence but as Nigerian’s external reserves began to dry up, the Shagari government had to introduce import licence.
The uncertainty forced many importers to suspend importation in order to monitor the new policy.
But braving the uncertain situation, Ibeto moved quickly to secure the N3 million import licence at a time a dollar sold for 68 kobo. With the licence, he imported 65 containers of vital motor parts. By the time other importers could wake up to get the license, the government had tightened the screws and made it almost impossible for anyone to obtain the license. Almost at the same time, the Shagari’s government was toppled which made matters worse as it resulted in borders being closed.
The Nnewi born business mogul then virtually became a monopolist for motor spare parts. He confessed that the moment was a turning point for his life and business. He was selling at almost 500% mark up and people were buying!
His words: “That was the turning point for me.Come and see the line-up of people who wanted the spare parts. I was packing money with cartons. There was no armed robbery then, no kidnapping. It was a seller’s market. And the mark up was almost 500% but people were buying! In fact, within two days of the arrival of the containers, I made four million pounds”
Diversification was flowery and seamless for Ibeto, swiftly moving from an importer of auto spare parts to automotive lead-acid batteries and plastic accessories merchant. Then in 1988, he delved into manufacturing when he completed his factory in Nnewi and stopped direct importation of lead-acid automotive battery and plastic motor accessories. By 1995, the company had become one of the largest auto spare parts manufacturing outfit in Nigeria.

A year later, Ibeto would further expand his business operations by diversifying into other sectors thus establishing Ibeto Petrochemicals Industries Limited. His petrochemicals industry owns one of the largest liquid facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria.
Subsidiaries under the Ibeto group are legion and they include Union Autoparts manufacturing Co. Ltd which was incorporated on 2nd June 1987.The company is a major player in automotive lead-acid battery manufacturing in Nigeria. The interesting thing is that the company produces locally, from its lead and aluminum smelting plant, all the lead and aluminum required for its operations.
It has the capacity to produce, annually; 300,000units of lead/acid batteries, 120,000 units of sealed maintenance-free batteries, 5,500tonnes of lead, 500 tonnes of accessories and 1,500 tonnes of friction parts.
There is also the Ibeto Petrochemical Industries Ltd. It was established in October 1996 with a blending plant in Nnewi, Anambra State. The company blends oil lubricants and produces various types of petroleum products for local and international markets. The Petro-Chemical company also owns one of the largest liquid storage facilities for petroleum products in Nigeria with a capacity of over 60,000 metric tones located at Apapa Wharf and Ibru Jetty Complex, Lagos.
Ibeto Cement Company Ltd produces bagged cements at its bagging terminal at Bundu Ama, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Ibeto Cement commenced operation in 1997 with the importation of bagged cement from Portland before establishing Ibeto Cement in 2001.
In 2018, Ibeto Cement Company Limited announced a reverse merger with Century Petroleum Corporation, a United States (U.S.) publicly-traded petroleum exploration and production company. This was aimed at taking the global markets by storm and bypass the complex process of listing. The company was to acquire a 70% controlling stake of Century Petroleum and thus Cletus Ibeto was subsequently made the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Ibeto’s foray into cement business saw him establishing Eastern Bulkcem Company Ltd
The company is also engaged in the importation of bulk cement and bagging of same in its factory premises in Rumuolumeni waterfront, Rivers State.
Eastern Bulkcem equally owns 60% of Nigeria Cement Company Plc (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.
NIGERCEM was very important for Ibeto; if he was to remain an importer of cement, he needed to own a cement manufacturing plant as it was the requirement. Owning NIGERCEM did not come easy as the then Ebonyi state governor, Martin Elechi was against the acquisition. Ibeto fought him head-on like a wounded lion until he had NIGERCEM secured. NIGERCEM gave him the initial stability he needed to continue in the cement business.
King’s Palace Hotels Ltd was established in March 1985 and has become synonymous with hospitality. Kings’ Palace is located at the heart of Nnewi and has played a significant role in the economic and tourism development in Anambra State.
Ibeto Energy Development Ltd is Ibeto’s response to the energy need of the country. The company was established in April 2008 in line with federal government’s aspiration to exploit the available natural gas in the Niger Delta Region for economic development.
Palmex Agencies Limited was incorporated in September 1998 and engaged in general merchandising. The company imports and distributes commodity items like rice, sugar and fertilizer.
Ibeto Industries Ltd is the flagship. It was incorporated in 1984 to serve the Nigerian public in their quest for colour print and photographic processing. Ibeto industries have modern printing machines that meet the need of customers and they have branches across Nigeria.
Odoh Holdings Ltd made a debut in March 1985.It is the real estate arm of the Ibeto. The company owns properties in prime areas of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha and Nnewi.
Ibeto Hotel Abuja is a 100-room four-star property which was commissioned early in 2013 and the company has interest in replicating Ibeto Hotel Abuja in other major cities in Nigeria.
Ibeto believes in ethics in business even if its application or observances will cause him money and business opportunities.A veteran journalist, Mike Awoyinfa tells an enchanting story of how Ibeto elected to lose millions of dollars during the gulf war than compromise on business ethics: “Ibeto said that during the Gulf War II, his company received a lot of pressure from Saddam Hussien’s officials who badly wanted Union Recycling Plant to export the lead products refined by his company at very lucrative terms, but the company turned down the tempting offer because Ibeto believed that such leads would go into production of dangerous weapons of war by Saddam. This was far more ethical than a business decision, but Ibeto argued to his astonished management that even though the group desperately needed the fund to inject into the the construction of the cement terminals at Bundu Ama Creek.
Born on November 6, 1952 in his home town, Obiofia Umuenem, Otolo Nnewi in Anambra State, Ibeto is humble, unassuming and focused.Through his philanthropic gestures Ibeto has lifted thousands of people out of poverty. He has also helped other top business persons from Nnewi.
A large hearted and ever kindly disposed community developer and human capacity builder, Cletus Ibeto has to his credit the following notable philanthropic milestones, amongst several others:
The award of over 200 secondary and university scholarships to deserving, indigent Nigerian youths.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in pediatrics at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College Of Medicine, Nnewi, Anambra State.
Instituted and maintains in perpetuity a prize award foundation for the best graduating student in the department of Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.
Extensive Community Support Services in: Rural Electrification projects with donation and installation of transformers, borehole water projects to communities and institutions of learning.
Constructed and maintains a 20km road and a multipurpose hall for Nnewi community.
Constructed the biggest but yet-to-be commissioned N650 Million-worth Medical Diagnostic Center at the University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu Campus (renowned to be the largest in the West African sub region).
Constructed and donated Departmental buildings to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
On the construction of the most modern and contemporary Catholic Youth Village located in Amansea (near Awka) in Anambra State, Dr Ibeto was acknowledged as the single largest donor and developed 250 number self-contained rooms of hostel accommodations within the Village designed to mitigate the accommodation challenges of students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
Constructed and donated a world class church building, chancery and Conference Centre to St. Cletus Catholic Church, Otolo Nnewi, Anambra State.
Sponsors annual comprehensive medical/surgical outreaches to communities that have restored health to thousands of sick and helpless Nigerians and prevented death for many.
Extensive development programme for host communities to his numerous businesses.

Though denied access to formal by his father at 13, that burning desire to see the four walls of a classroom remained aflame. Ibeto for he would later sat for his WASSCE at the age of 48 and got a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka at the age o f 54. He was subsequently honoured with a Doctor of Business Administration degree from the same University.
Over the years, he has had numerous trainings at seminars and conferences within the country, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Japan.
Ibeto had earlier attended St. James Primary school, Owerrinta in the present day Imo state.
Come March 2020, another enchanting feather will be added to Dr.Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto’s crowded crown and another honour done him yet as the Ebonyi state University confers on him Honorary Doctorate Degree on Business Administration.
Before the EBSU honour, Ibeto’s gallery of Honours brimmed with assortment of awards and recognitions, including:
Gold Service Award from the Rotary Club of Enugu, Rotary International District 9140.
Three-Ruby Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation International.
Certificate of Merit from the Government of Anambra State of Nigeria.
Award of Excellence by the Pilgrims Africa Health Foundation.
National Honour, Officer of Order of the Niger, OON.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa, University of Nigeria.
National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.
And friends and business associates who have followed Ibeto’s life trajectory testify that the Honorary award is a fitting, proper, deserving and eloquent recognition and testimony of of his years of entrepreneurship, hard work, tenacity of purpose and service to humanity.

Ingram Osigwe is the MD/CEO of Full page international communications Ltd writes from Lagos.

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Facebook Pulls Down 134 Accounts in Nigeria, Ghana

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Facebook, yesterday, announced that it had pulled down 134 Facebook and Instagram accounts, including 69 pages in Nigeria and Ghana that were linked to Russia.

Head of Security Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a statement issued yesterday that Facebook decided to pull down the accounts and pages for reason of foreign interference regarded as inauthentic behaviour that was coordinated from Russia.

According to the statement, “We removed 49 Facebook accounts, 69 Pages and 85 Instagram accounts for engaging in foreign interference, which is coordinated inauthentic behaviour on behalf of a foreign actor on Facebook, Instagram and other internet platforms. This network was in the early stages of building an audience and was operated by local nationals, some wittingly and some unwittingly in Ghana and Nigeria on behalf of individuals in Russia. It targeted primarily the United States.”

The statement further explained that the people behind the network engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts, some of which had already been disabled by the Facebook automated systems, to manage pages posing as non-government organisations or personal blogs, and post in Groups.

According to Gleicher, “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We are taking down these pages and accounts because this activity was linked to individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of Russia, an entity we had previously banned from Facebook. They also used fake accounts and coordinated with one another and to mislead people about what they were doing. That behaviour was the basis for our action, not the content they posted.”

The statement said: “They frequently posted about US news and attempted to grow their audience by focusing on topics like black history, black excellence and fashion, celebrity gossip, news and events related to famous Americans like historical figures and celebrities, and LGBTQ issues. This activity did not appear to focus on elections, or promote or denigrate political candidates. They also shared content about oppression and injustice, including police brutality.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their purpose and coordination, our investigation found links to EBLA, an NGO in Ghana, and individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).

“We detected this network as a result of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behaviour ahead of US elections. The network was linked to the activity we had previously removed and attributed to the IRA in April 2018, July 2018 and November 2018. Our assessment benefited from our subsequent collaboration with a team of journalists at CNN. We have shared information with our industry peers, policy makers and law enforcement and will continue working with others to find and remove this kind of behaviour from our platform.”

The statement further said about 13,500 accounts followed one or more of these pages and around 265,000 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts, about 65 per cent of which were in the US. It added that less than $5 was spent on ads focused on people in the US, none of which were political or issue ads. Our systems repeatedly rejected attempts by this network to run issue or political ads in the US because the people behind it were not authorised to run political ads in the US. In total, we identified approximately $379 in spending for ads on Facebook and Instagram paid for in US dollars, the majority of which were run before this operation began by people who wittingly or unwittingly joined this network in the second half of 2019.

“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we have said before, it is an ongoing challenge. We are committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies,” the statement further said.

Culled from Thisday Newspaper

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