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Professor J. U. Asiegbu
University of Port Harcourt
7th June, 2000

Principal officers of the University of Port Harcourt Distinguished Professors and Academic Colleagues of the University Our dear Students, Distinguished invitees The institution of inaugural lectures by university professors is more than a hundred years old within the university system wold-wide. It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to present today’s inaugural lecture, Number 25 in the university of Port Harcourt Inaugural Lecture Series: but Number 02 in the series for this millenium and number 01 from the Department of History in this millennium. And I am very grateful to the Vice Chancellor and to the entire members of the university of Port Harcourt for providing this opportunity and the environment for this lecture to take place today. In the past several months that I have tried to put this lecture together, I have come to realise the impossibility of man’s effort to attain perfection in the field of human endeavour. In this regard the words of the famous English post, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), bear a lot of relevance: Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be. Let this then be my plea for your patience and forgiveness for whatever short-comings this lecture may carry with it in its presentation. History: The “Turbulence” of arguments about its nature, content and modus operandi. In 1981, the History Department led the way to inaugural lectures in this university. That year, we listened to a great discourse entitled: The Python’s Eye: the Past in the Living Present. Today, mine comes as the second inaugural lecture from the same Department; and it is captioned: Clio, Magistra Vitae: History and Nigeria’s Societal Engineering. In the ancient Greek and Roman (or classical) mythology, ‘Clio’ or the Muse, was the collective intellectual foresign, vision or inspiration to the creative talents of the historian, the poet, and other literary or creative artists in the humanities. The goddess of history, Clio or the Muse, was thus believed to represent the best teacher or guide of human beings in the business of living their everyday lives, and being. Clio-informed, guided or influenced in their present action or activities through the lessons of past human experience, whether in politics or other societal, institutional levels. Strangely, history continues to labour under one uniquely terrible irony: the indomitable human spirit for success and achievement, in whatever line of enterprise it may be directed in life, knows perhaps no greater goal, purpose or ambition than to be favourably or well remembered by history; in order to achieve such ambition in life, even the criminals in society, in polities or public life, exert every effort to cover their criminal flanks or footsteps from the prying eyes of history. Yet, and here is the worrisome irony, the discipline of history, perhaps more than any other, suffers the obligation of always having to explain its meaning or purpose; always labouring to justify its existence; and to be convincing about its relevance or usefulness as an academic discipline. Why is this often so? What is the source or nature of this particular problem? And what ought we to understand as of critical importance concerning history, in human life and in society, in any institution, or in the If this discourse is able to clarify some of these issues or make some positive impacts in our minds in respect of these key issues and problems, it would have succeeded in its main objective. We will do our best to meet the outlined primary objectives in this discourse, whilst avoiding as much as possible the problems of a simplistic and boring presentation, or the tedium of pedagogical technicalities. Let me now introduce this lecture more directly, by using the metaphor of an air flight. If you close your eyes for just a split second, and then open them at once, I ask you to now imagine yourself inside an aircraft soon taking off on a trip or journey to some destination. The name of your flight on this trip is scientific history flight, or simply FLIGHT SH2000; your guide and teacher, or chief steward on this flight, will be Clio, the Muse, who will join us in the flight as soon as we are intellectually air borne. It is important to bear in mind that, for all time, Clio remains the best custodian, coordinator and moderator of all the unending arguments and debates, concerning humanity and society. Our proposed destination on this trip is TSNP, Towards a Sustainable Nigerian Polity. The point of our departure on this flight, is TNNT – (i.e The Nigerian Nation Today). The flight will take us, intellectually, to many different places. After exposing us to various intellectual arguments, thoughts or return us to our original point of departure, TNNT – (The Nigerian Nation Today); from which departure and landing point, we will then try to identity and to reach the new point, TSNP – (Towards a Sustainable Nigerian Polity). The primary objective or purpose of our journey, is to discover and obtain a certain Miraculous Something (MS); which, allegedly automatically solves many human problems and conflicts, such as those now existing at the TNNT place; it has been further alleged by many, that the MS also automatically brings with it all human happiness, peace and progress, such as we have all missed or are still missing at TNNT. During the flight, we are bound to meet, at least in spirit or psychically, peoples from other parts of the world, intellectual passengers or travelers from every other nation in the world. These ‘intellectual co-travelers’ are also in search of that (MS) ‘Miraculous Something’, for their own societal engineering or the establishment of a stable, peaceful and progressive society; that is, the development of their own countries, and their own national institutions. Is there, in reality, a ‘miraculous something’, a panacea for all national developmental problems, outside the higgledy-piggledy of the historical process, human actions and To search out this MS (if indeed it exists), and to bring it back home to our TNNT position, that is a primary collective assignment on today’s historic trip. Once again, your flight pilot, chief steward and guide will be Clio, the Muse; please fasten your intellectual belts; no sleeping and no snoring; just sit up right, with all your ears to the THE TYRANNY OF THEODICY AGAINST MAN’S QUEST FOR SELF-

From the biblical times of many by-gone centuries, up to about the last one and a half
centuries, the subject of history had occupied a rather privileged position in comparison to other subjects. Throughout antiquity and the model ages, up to about the late 17th century, human history (man’s actions and experiences), entertained or accommodated primarily one major interpretation: all human actions and experiences, whether of individuals or of families, of communities or nations, were evidences of the ruling hand of God in human affairs. In those by-gone centuries, efforts or attempts to understand or interpret human history, man’s actions and experiences in society in more rational ways outside that of the ineluctable hand or will of divine providence, ran the serious risk of the punitive fire of ex-communication, or even termination of human life, by the authority of the medieval Catholic Church. In every other discipline, the people of old regarded the spirit of wonder as the foundation of all knowledge; this spirit of wonder and curiosity led many minds to wonder about the universe and to ask the crucial questions: about what, how, why and the consequences of whatever But even in the world of nature or the physical universe of matter, for many decades such spirit of scientific inquiry was discouraged. Those scientific minds (Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus etc.) who dared to exercise, on behalf of the rest of making, the investigative talents or spirit of inquiry and experiment, had all made such attempts at grave risks to their own lives. However, today, in every field of human activity, endeavour and enterprise, mankind stands as the proud beneficiary of the miracles of science and technology, thanks to man’s unconquerable spirit of inquiry, and the consequent discovery of the hitherto unknown universal laws which govern and maintain the sequence of the complex planetary motions in a complex universe of unfathomable space. By the beginning of the 19th century, mankind’s unstoppable spirit of wonder and scientific inquiry, had succeeded in equipping humanity with unprecedented, confidence-boosting, factual knowledge about the physical universe and the world of nature, in an empirical manner at once measurable, quantifiable, predictable and verifiable. From this time onwards these scientific attributes of factual and verifiable knowledge, became the measuring-rod for recognition and acceptability of any intellectual discipline in the exalted corridors of knowledge and learning. A great deal of attention was bound to shift away from theodicy, or history based on divine interpretation. Among many philosophers there was increasing belief or imagination concerning the existence of some universal laws, the iron laws of history; if only historians would brace themselves up and work hard to discover the natural principles or general laws of history, (as has been the case in the natural sciences), surely such endeavour would provide more valid and reliable understanding, explanation and interpretation of human society, has continued from about the late 18th century till date. The net result may summarily be explained to be this: Amongst the many different groups of famous historians and scholars, interminable ideological, semantic, conflicts and debates still rage on, concerning the subject matter of history. Such terms as ‘historical truth’ or ‘fact’ ‘understanding and explanation’, ‘cause and causation’, ‘knowledge’ ‘interpretation,’ etc., have continued, (despite their widely accepted, popular, dictionary meanings, see Appendix 1) to generate philosophical debates and more scholarly, erudite publications, on history, or the philosophy of history; all in all, the ways and methods of history still largely differ from those usually adopted by the physical or natural sciences in attaining factual knowledge or empirical truth. By consistently developing and using its own methods of investigation, the science disciplines continued in their paths of unstoppable progress. By the beginning of the 20th century, for example, the world had known some three centuries of continuos, almost infinite, scientific inquiry, marked by astounding discoveries and inventions in every field of scientific effort: in physics, chemistry, medicine, biotechnology, transportation, communications, robotics, information technology, etc. On its own part, the discipline of History still needed to become more convincing or believable about human societal problems and human affairs in general, being explainable by the theological doctrines or theories of divine will, the ineluctable hand of unquestionable Providence; otherwise history must give clear proof, that its ‘iron laws’ or ‘universal laws’ of history, have become like the laws governing the physical sciences, accessible to mankind and useable for the better ordering of society. To the great English poet, Alexender Pope (1688 – 1744), the world owes the very thoughtful poetic advice against any more of such metaphysical, abstract, study of humanity. The best source for an understanding of man, the English poet had advised, lies not in the heavens, nor -in theories of divine providence, but in humanity itself (the actions of men in society): His famous Essay on Man (1733), carried one of the most commonly quoted verses in English Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man…
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth in endless error hurled;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world’

The world of historians, in Europe and elsewhere, did not remain idle or unmindful of the
many criticism leveled against their ideographic discipline; nor were they oblivious of the many new advances in the nomothetic science disciplines, where the discoveries of general scientific laws and principles had continued to unlock nature’s hidden secrets in the fields of physics, chemistry, the biological sciences etc. Eventually, by the mid 19th century, a new approach to history was developed, for the study and writing of history. This ‘scientific’ method is based on a critical, rigorous, examination and analyses of historical sources-documents and artifacts. The credit for this development goes first to the group of German historians, led by Professor Leopold von Ranke at the University of Berlin, the Prussian Historical school. Other groups of European historians, based in France, and in England, soon followed the German example. This ‘scientific’ method was to be equally applied in the handling and scrutinising of non-documentary records of human existence and activity, such as the songs, fables and folklores, the parables and proverbs, the languages or dialects, the old coins and other ancient tools, or inscriptions of whatever description, which may be found especially among preliterate societies or communities through archaeological research. To this new method of studying and writing history, was given the name ‘technical’ or ‘scientific historiography’. The followers of Ranke in Germany called the new historical method Historicism. The development and general adoption of the new method of researching, studying and writing of history {technical or scientific historiography}, made it at least more difficult, if not impossible, for any professional historian with a reputation and integrity to protect, to embark on ‘arm-chair’ historiograph, making any historical judgements or interpretations not strictly verifiable or supportable by the factual, documentary, evidence derived from the historical sources used. However, because this newly developed scientific method in history still differed from the laboratory test-tube kind of scientific investigation, the shafts of criticism, with its hard-nosed doubts about history, have all but ended. Is history a science or not? How can it belong there, possessing no predictive, quantitative, quantifiable, verifiable, empirical facts or practical consecrate Such debates, marked by much bigotry on all sides, have tended to hurt the interests of objectivity in assessing the validity and the proper functions of history. Before the development of modern science and technology of chemistry and physics and their kindred natural science disciplines, history had been in functional existence for the benefit and improvement of human society. The written political constitutions, as well as the unwritten traditional systems by which different countries are governed, all these fully represent, like the legal systems overarching and moderating human activities in such polities, the outcome or result of a nation’s history, its sense of history as recognised by its people. In discharging its unique informative roles functionally history may regularly borrow or benefit from concepts or practices developed in the other sister disciplines, whether in the pure sciences, or However, any insistence that history, to qualify as an autonomous discipline, must wear the toga of factuality, empiricism and predictive qualities comparable with those of the nomothetic disciplines, measurable or acceptable only according to the test-tube standards or model, would be a degeneration to arrogance or a flight of fancy (see, for example, Thomas Buckle at p.58-59, Appendix II); just as it will also become sheer sophistry for scientific history to claim to be already wearing the toga of empiricism in the science laboratory sense. For History’s main purpose remain too diversionary and too unhelpful to be further Outside the societal environment which history and society alone can create, the full development, and functional display of the wonders of modern science and technology cannot usefully or properly take place. Through its varying operational or functional modes (as a national decree or fiat, as a political constitution, and or as the legal system or the law of the land), history alone is able to create either a friendly environment or otherwise a hostile one even to the physical or natural sciences. Human history and experience thus best moderates, legitimises, or otherwise prohibits any form of human activity, including those of the sciences: our practice of the science and technology of ‘child abortion’ of human- cloning’, of ‘nuclear’ bomb production’, etc cannot legally take place for example, outside the social environment which human history, in its legal or its heuristic mode, may decide to permit or prohibit in the interest of society and of humanity. Outside history or a sense of history, the spirit of patriotism, the national spirit a critical factor in a nation’s development, becomes almost impossible to create or grow. A nation’s history or sense of its history, becomes the launching pad for the patriotic national spirit- manifesting as ‘a spirit of national solidarity: as the spirit of national work-ethics’ as the national spirit of achievement’ as the spirit of national consciousness of the proud ‘dos’ and the abominable ‘don’ts’ of a people, whether in the social, the cultural or the scientific- activity sense. Without history or a sense of its history, no nation is able to develop the national-problems-solving spirit, the spirit of national pride, integrity and honour’, the national spirit giving the people a common collective, urge and power to labour and to Let us absorb this most critical fact through a very domestic metaphor: like the hot water can command ordinary, weak, grains of garri to becomes a solid, nourishing, edible ‘Eba Garri’ so also can a people’s proud sense of its history weld together and command the patriotic national spirit as above described, into a potent force in the achievement of targeted national objectives, goals or purposes, for the greater honour and pride of a nation. We will return to this particular issue of history and the national spirit at a later point in this discourse: But we will here try to summarise this section of the lecture thus: for the effective solution of individual or national problems, as for the attainment of true progress and development, there is no ‘Miraculous something’ (MS), outside the spirit of commitment driving our labour and our sacrifice. Greatness is always the child, not just of faith prayer or dreams, but of devotion to labour and productivity as the ancient Romans fully recognised; “Labourare est orare’ (to
become the supra-mundane First Cause?
Mankind is best defined by its destiny of mortality, a historicity bounded by an evanescent corporeality or materiality; it is equally defined by the free-will for creative thought, labour and action along man’s linear trajectory or orbit. But the orbital trajectory of the First Cause, the spirit, causer of all, features a spiritual immateriality best defined by its omnipotence, its omniscience, its omnipresence, and immortality; unbounded by any form of historicity. Pick up one feature within a trajectory or orbit, and you pick up the rest of the conditions within that trajectory or orbit, without the possibility of across-the-border choices. What actually does mankind now want for solving its problems of historicity? Will mankind, currently operating in its linear trajectory, ultimately be able with the almost infinite wonders of modern science, to appropriate for itself attributes belonging exclusively to the orbital trajectory of the spirit First Cause? In order words, is mankind, emboldened by the miracles of modern science, now eyeing the place and position of the First Cause? If we believe in the existence of a divine or supreme intelligence, we are obliged to reflect sometimes on why man is denied immortality, omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. Could man have safely possessed all these four critical attributes, in addition to the fifth one, his free will? Would there still be ‘spiritual obedience’, religious worship of an Almighty Supreme Being, concept of God the Supreme Being, if mankind were possessed of all the five critical attributes of freewill, immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence? Is mankind’s lack of the four, out of the five attributes merely accidental? Or the cause of our human problems and those of society? Would our society still have been of humankind, or of the gods if man were in full possession of all these attributes? And would mankind have been much happier, or otherwise more troubled, by the possession of all these trans-orbital or trans-trajectory, attributes together? In this metaphysical realm of speculation, mankind remains hopelessly at a loss for an empirical, quantifiable, satisfactory, factual scientific Obliged therefore to manage himself and his society by using the practical historical experience available to him, it would be supreme folly for man and for society not to cultivate a pragmatic sense of history, utilising the knowledge, and the researched rational wisdom obtained therefrom albeit imperfect for tackling the problems of humanity and of society, in like manner, it would be folly to deny or ignore the crucial factor of national spirit or patriotism in nation building, just because each of these is very largely a product of history and like history with its mutable human emotion, moods, and intentions, cannot properly be subjected to the science laboratory kind of empirical evaluation or measurement, as since confirmed by Fustel de Coulanges (see Appendix iii, with Notes, pages 100-102). Thomas Henry Buchle (1821 – 1862) probably best represents those with strong convictions about the existence of some hidden, but discoverable, universal laws (the ‘iron laws’ of history) governing the movements or activities of man in society. If only historians would wake up from intellectual slumber, according to Buchkle, these general, ‘iron laws’ of history would be discovered; and the history of mankind, the movement of man in society, perhaps human destiny in general, would become easily predictable in the same manner the laws of science already treat all natural phenomena: … the (empirical scientific) study of the movements of man is still in its infancy, as compared with the advanced state of the (empirical scientific) study of the movements of Nature… it is graduation to assert that there is something mysterious and providential in the affairs of men which makes them impervious to our investigation and which will always hide from us their future course… one vast question… indeed lies at the root of the whole subject, and is simply this; are the action of men and therefore of societies governed by fixed laws, or are they the result either of chance or of supernatural interference? Not only are the crimes of men in society marked by a uniformity of sequence (reducible to some natural laws of science); even the number of marriages contracted is determined not by the temper and wishes of individuals, but by large general facts (scientific laws), over which (see appendices with Notes II & III together at pages 98 – 100 also Fritz Stern (ed.) The Perhaps, the future holds good prospects for the ultimate arrival of the omniscience men of history or of science, omniscient and omnipotent people able to pronounce on human life, predicting with mathematical accuracy every facet of human life and destiny in Nostradamic futurities; people with a panaceas, or painless solutions, for all human problems. For such new wonders, however, no sane people or nations are in idle waiting. The proper search for social peace and harmony for human progress for solutions to human and societal problems, thus makes imperative our careful and consistent study of man, his actions, his intentions and The integrity of history must therefore remain inviolate by the dogma of the physical sciences and by the vested interests of philosophers and metaphysical theorists. Like the mythological mermaid, which wears a majestic human face on a gorgeous body of fish, scientific history must strenuously labour to obtain the best possible answers through its critical, rational, logical analyses of the why, the wherefore, and the consequences of human actions; it must then present such scientific, logical, analytical, results in a medium of literature and language lucid in diction, and elegant in style, documentary or evidentially valid and verifiable; and equally very important, relevant and useable for the benefit of society. In the absence of the omniscient human being, the all pains-and-problems-solving power, many nations of the world are demonstrating a measure of wisdom already, by profiting from human history and experience. The legal systems and controls by which nations plan influence the character, behaviour and conduct, the welfare and the ordered well-being of their societies, and of their citizens cannot be fully or properly understood outside. Human experience in the past to the extent that this is the case, history, applied history or a sense of history, is thus best defined by the legal systems and political constitutions of any What valid claims or positive statements can we make about Nigeria, in relation to its sense of history or its profitable use of it for its own societal engineering national progress and development? In our country’s present circumstances, perhaps it was high time Clio, the goddess of history, paid a special visit to Nigeria and its peoples. To invite Clio home was, infact one important purpose of our flight SH2000. Is there a panaceas, an all-problems- solving, miraculous something: a political viagra special for Nigeria to regain national strength, vigour and revival? Let us now welcome Clio to Nigeria!
Clio, as august visitor/prospective foreign investor lands in Nigeria and gains first hand
knowledge of the country and its people
Somehow, just as our flight SH2000 entered into the Nigerian airspace in preparation for landing at the airport TNNT, Clio suddenly made some puzzling observations and comments; depending on your state of mind or alertness you may or may not have heard or noticed the august visitor’s very pithy comments, about the flourishing profitable business enterprise of religiously in the country. Such comments could have been made by any new visitor or prospective investor, naturally eager and keen to meet understand and assess the ways of the As one of the goddesses, as a servant of God himself, I, Clio know that the Almighty God is good always and all the time, so praise Him! But He is never deceived by the theatrical displays of too many preachers; nor by too many superficial church-goers or worshippers. Any society which can becomes so over-crowded with so many churches, and so many mosques occupying almost every available open space even warehouses, dilapidated old buildings, lecture rooms and classrooms and football fields, must truly be suffering from too many man made problems driving the citizens into the multiple dangers of pseudo- prophecies, laced with the deceitful promises of a utopia, or other-wordily escapisms. How is it that a county so uniquely over-served by churches and mosques has become, at the same time comatose with crimes of fraud and dishonesty and evils of every description across Clio, our ‘august visitor’ could have been a prospective foreign investor on a first time visit to the country. Such comment by an ‘august visitor’ or a prospective foreign investor, ought certainly to be puzzling and worrisome to any true Nigerian citizen or patriot. Another incident affecting this ‘august visitor’ (Clio, the Muse), right there at the Nigerian airport, TNNT’, would also have embarrassed any true Nigerian patriot or citizen, as the passengers, including the ‘august visitor’ waited at the Baggage Hall, to clear their traveling bags, some local staff walked up to make some apology: Oga, Madam Clio, we don look everywhere for your own bag, but we no kuku
see am; ibi like say edon loss! We just say make we tell you sorry, Madam!
Outside the baggage hall, as the new ‘august visitor’ waited to pick up a taxi, some ‘area boys’ walked up to madam, and snatched both her eye glasses and her wristwatch. Soon after boarding what passed for a typical Nigerian taxi cab (whose collapsing scrappy body was held together by some ropes and wires!), a piece of nail or metal in the car, tore open a part of Clio’s dress, and bruised a part of her leg as well, not quite ten minutes after Clio had boarded the taxi cab to take her to a hotel, one of the tyres of the taxi got burst, and grounded the taxi. The taxi driver apologised to Clio the august visitor. I sorry very bad madam. For this kind wahala, but I want make you pay me the
money so I go able repair the tyre quick quick and drop you for your hotel
Clio, the madam or august visitor already very disgusted was obliged to pay the fare to the driver. But in actual fact, and as the ‘august visitor’ found out the driver needed no money to fix his tyres; for as soon as he had received the money in advance from the ‘august visitor, he quickly took out the spare tyre from the car booth, fixed the car, and then continue the journey to the hotel with his passenger. Midway to the hotel where Clio was to spend the night, some gendarmes stopped the rickety taxi, which totally lacked road worthiness. Hey you, driver, stop there quick!. This na taxi car or na firewood which you call
motor? Why you dey keep dis kind ting for road? Ibi like say you wan kill person?
One of the gendarmes queried the driver.
Oyaa, make you pack dis ting off the road, and comot outside, another gendarme
commanded the taxi driver.
Oga, sir, I beg sir, the driver pleaded.
Ok, if you no want comot for the road, make you know what to do quick quick, the
third gendarme advised.
Of course the driver knew what to do, and quickly ‘resolved the palaver’. But who be dat you de carry inside? One of the more inquisitive gendarmes now

Na one big madam Clio from abroad, the driver replied, ‘She look like a thick

madam’, you no see how she de look? The driver futher remarked.
The gendarmes quickly took the hint, and turned to the passenger. Hello, Oga, Madam, welcome for Nigeria; ibi like say this na your first visit to our
country, wetin you bring for we? You no say we de watch the road for you fine,
Clio must have ‘dropped’ something for the gendarmes; for they warmly wished her ‘a happy stay in Nigeria’ just as some struggle immediately ensured amongst them over the sharing of Finally, the august visitor (already tired, shocked and disappointed) arrived at one of the Nigerian hotels, and checked in for the night. The vulgarity of manners with which the august visit had to put up at the hotel, was slightly less acute than what she had experienced all the way from the national airport or entry point into the country; but there was all told, nothing to reduce the visitor’s rude shock and utter disappointment since Flight SH2000 landed at the ‘TNNT airport’ or entry point into the country. At the hotel, the ‘august visitor was asked to deposit 200% of the actual tariff for a room for one night, which she did, but the hotel room lacked proper equipment or furnishing commensurate with the cost of the room accommodation, and what was worse, there was no running water, hot or cold, in the tap; there was no NEPA; there was no telephone service! As the ‘august visitor’ sat on the chair in her room full of fatigue, frustration and disappointment, one of the hotel stewards came up to her: Oga madam, Clio, ibi like you tire too much and you go wan some water for baf;
but as water no dey for inside the hotel, you fit give me small money, like 20 dollar,
make I kuku go buy water for baf for you.
Though sick at heart with all that she had passed through since her arrival in the country, Clio politely replied but with some note of derisive sarcasm to the steward. That’s very kind and thoughtful of you young man, what a true Nigerian, honest
and sincere, you really are, but don’t worry, I know what to do.
In the middle of the night, the hotel was invaded by armed robbers, who harassed everybody from room to room, seizing whatever they could grab from the clients, and beating up those from whom they could seize nothing of reasonable value. Early the next morning, Clio quickly got out of the hotel, bought some copies of every available newspaper and magazine in order to learn more about the country: The sheer number of on-going, high powered, panel of inquiries, and of other reports of official crime, fraud and embezzlement, greatly puzzled Clio. The incidence of already confirmed cases of armed robbery, of massive stealing and embezzlement of public funds by political officers and other top government functionaries, their wives, children, friends and other relatives, all these dumbfounded the ‘august visitor’. The rate of juvenile delinquency appalled Clio. Equally so appalling were other chilling crimes; of rape and violence by youths in educational institutions, of cultism and examination malpractice’s, aided and abetted by some of the teachers themselves, including other corrupt adult parents in positions of power and authority within the various segments of the nation’s public services. From the same media and other sources, Clio realised the grave danger facing the country, on account of the endemic nature of tribal and ethnic clashed and the bloody conflicts.
Clio puzzles over how Nigeria, like other countries could benefit through her influence
on the minds of the people and in the life of the nation; Further reflections on the
Historical Mores of the ‘National Spirit’ for Societal Development and Progress, and
Engineering through human control, etc.

What must be done for the country? What must the country do for itself, if it wishes to
survive? And in the first place, does Nigeria really wish or need, to survive as one country? So deeply sorrowful and angered was Clio; that a nation so richly and generously blessed with every imaginable natural resources by the Creator, should be so utterly ruined by the generality of the citizens themselves reveling for so long in a saturnalia of universal greed, dishonesty, unbridled lawlessness, violence and the gross indiscipline of all and sundry, in every sphere of the national life of the people: From the media papers, Clio understood how even the ordinary citizens, the so called ordinary people, had equally contributed in ruining the society, the economy, the ordinary market prices of goods and services, and of articles whose market prices are manipulated by each trading association; through every business group forming itself into a monopoly cartel, against all others; the Crayfish Sellers’ Union versus the Groundnut sellers’ Association, versus the Banana Sellers’ Association versus the Pepper Sellers’ Union versus the Salt Sellers’ cartel versus the Vegetable and the Tomatoes Sellers’ cartels versus the Yam and the Palm Oil Business Organisations, versus the Garri Market Union; versus the Coco-yam Market Women’s Society etc, all these retail market sellers unions and associations versus the rest of us, etc. If we sometimes resent the description of Nigeria as the best definition of fraud and dishonesty, we must also remember that here, fraudulent profit drives virtually every human activity, even at the cost of human life; the petroleum dealer for instance, falsifies the petrol meter, he adulterates the petrol itself with kerosene or ordinary oil all for the purpose of profit; the cement dealer or trader fraudulently repackages the original cement bags (50kg) make three bags out of it, each one selling at the original price. And the medicine dealer who specialises in the repackaging and sale of expired, dangerous, drugs to the public. Truly the dimension of crime has become The rampant secret cults, and such other anti-social youth organisations, operating within and outside our educational institutions, cannot be properly understood, let alone resolved, without a proper understanding of them as largely the out-growths of the evil, criminal adult examples in Nigerian public life as well as in the private enterprises. Thus the adult Nigerian rogue and murderer, well known by all to have grown rich without honest effort, can easily be knighted by the Church; he can be made a traditional chief or Eze, the royal majesty of his local community, through the political partly established and funded with his ill-gotten wealth, he can during elections easily be rigged into the legislative assembly, to answer Mr. Honourable legislator’ or honourable senator so so and so! So why must anyone puzzle or wonder that, as secrete cultists most of our children insist on gaining admission into our universities by hook or by crook, and on passing out as university graduates, without working for it having seen for themselves what evils are committed with impunity by adults themselves and by other heavy weight members of the elite within the Nigerian society? In almost every Nigerian educational institution today, from the primary to secondary schools, up to the university level, many academic and administrative staff, (from school principals, university registrars to professors, to faculty deans, including some Vice-Chancellors, and of course not excluded even junior staff in the academic and the administration areas) have been implicated in this saturnalia of universal greed, fraud and dishonesty. In many cases today, poor students cannot obtain any work assignments in their subjects of study, unless they show their receipts as proof that they have paid for a copy of what the lecturer may call his ‘book or handout’ or unless the student can ‘sort out’ their lecturers very well! NIGERIAN EDUCATION TODAY”

How ‘Toronto’ school teachers in primary and secondary schools produce ‘Toronto’

lecturers, ‘Toronto’ graduates in Nigerian universities nationwide.

In his very first policy statement to the Senate on 12th January 2000, (ref. Sp99 – 2000/001)
the Acting Vice-Chancellor made my day when he touched on a most troubling issue for which, among other problems of the university, he announced his immediate inauguration of a committee, a ‘Think-tank’, under the chairmanship of Prof. Chi. U. Ikoku. This ‘Think- Tank’ was to consider and offer suggestions on a most topical issue among other problems: How can we reduce corruption in our university system: stealing university’s
funds, cheating, sale of grades to students and other well-known vices?
In every bushel of falsehood says William Shakespears, there is always a grain of truth. Now let me present you ‘a bushel of truth with some grains of falsehood’ or a scenario of how ‘illiterate graduates’ are made in virtually very Nigerian University today. Imagine that you are now eavesdropping on some kind of dialogue or negotiation, between a ‘Toronto’ university lecturer, and his ‘Toronto’ undergraduate students, prospective ‘Toronto’
Toronto university lecturer
‘You know we are very poorly paid in the university system, and most of us are really starving because of poor salary and conditions of service’
Prospective ‘Toronto’ undergraduate
‘We know so, sir, that’s why we feel very sorry for you, and actively support all ASUU national strikes on this matter.’
Toronto Lecturer:
Now, I have a book and a handout for the course I am teaching. I have appointed
some agents from whom you will buy your own copy, and obtain a receipt. You must show, or attach a copy of the receipt each time you are submitting your class assignment. Those who refuse or fail to purchase a copy, will not be given any class assignment whatsoever in this course; and if they do any assignment for me, it will neither be accepted nor marked by me. In fact, if you don’t purchase a copy of my book or handout, you should regard yourself as a carry-over or a failure in the course’.
Jubilant ‘Toronto undergraduates:
‘We thank you too much, sir, how much will the book/handout costing for us to
A very small group of serious minded undergraduate students:
(Aside these yeye lecturers and their worthless trade tricks again! A good material normally sells itself without force, intimidation or victimisation!) ‘Sir can I ask a question: Since your book or handout is a very scholarly one, and this course is also taught in virtually all the universities today, why is the sale of this your book restricted to this class, and pushed by intimidation and threat direct and indirect? Furthermore, when are you likely to start teaching us to be worthy in learning and in
Toronto Lecturer (angry)

‘I say, you sit down and don’t ask me a foolish question

The unavoidable implication of this kind of ‘blackmail and persecution’ of the good ones among the students, by some lecturers and their agents, is this: to buy the lecturer’s book’ or ‘handout’ is to gain at least a pass in the course. If I can buy a copy through his/her class agents, I am assured of a pass mark at least, so why do I go into the ‘wahala of too much reading, or working too hard’? Many students believe and respond in this frame of logic. Those who fail the course, or who are absent from lectures for 95% of the semester classes, still show up for the examination: assured of the availability of an alternative way of passing the lecturer’s course – the alternative of ‘sorting’ the lecturer out, in order to still obtain a ‘pass mark’ and of ‘sorting’ him/her out really very well, in order to obtain better grades, etc. Nigerian university lecturers, the poorest remunerated academics in Africa (let us not mention or compare with the facts outside our African continent), have already become badly exposed by their penurious conditions to situations which severely tempt both their moral and professional ethics; and they have become further weakened by the solicitude of many ignorant, indolent, timid and unfit students ever ready for any ‘deals’ which will eventually confer on them the status of university graduates, a socio-intellectual status for which they had neither the intellectual ability, nor the mind, to labour. This group of degree certificates hunting misfits, will do everything possible to uphold the ‘hand outs’ and the ‘sorting out’ system. Here is a symbiosis of two evils: the indigent lecturer is caught by his students’ poverty alleviation bait, the intellectually indolent and ill equipped student, is caught by the lecturer’s cash-and-carry auctions of academic grades that couldn’t be made by unfit students otherwise than by such symbiotic fraud. Ours today is perhaps the only educational system, where the word mercenary, ordinarily pejorative in every decent society, has unfortunately been elevated to an accepted, common modus operandi by students and their parents, in every Nigerian public examination and institution, from the primary school to JAMB, to WAEC, to If., in the end, we find that most post-graduate degree holders are today regularly at war with the simplest forms of the English grammar, the tenses and the rules of syntax, at least we now know how this has come about. In highlighting all these issues, Ladies and Gentlemen, I most heartedly assure you that, what I want to achieve is, to get all of us aware of the nature of a very serious, tragic, national problem in our educational system; and for us to feel very concerned, thoughtfully and remedially so. Therefore, please believe me, that unless we change, and change very quickly both our value system and our present style of doing things, we must realise that any ‘effort to forward forwardness’ (see Tell Magazine of January 10, 2000 p 16) can never work in this millennium of greater international competitions and I doesn’t means to be offended anybody, because I doesn’t use to talk nonsense talk
when a seriously maters is discuss…

On a very serious note, let Nigeria get this point clear: In the present decadent state of our
educational institutions, the country’s future in this new millenium is already confronted by the worst and greatest tragedy any nation can ever face in human history! For as a famous “The future greatness of any nation lies in the character of its youths”.
Let us put it very mildly so: the character of our national youth must now remain a subject of In the public and the private institutions of other nations, all human actions that are traditionally unacceptable, those things naturally frowned upon by humanity in general as abominations or a desecration of the land, have remained so since the beginning of time in our country, on the other hand, everything now goes. Within our educational and other public institutions, there is no such thing as: “NO, THIS KIND OF THING IS NEVER DONE’: NO, THIS QUALITY OF

Rather, everything is now quite possible and doable, ‘as man know man’ just as every crime,
no matter how very grave, is supposed to be regularly forgiven, in the supposed interest of national peace, brotherhood and national political unity! Let good moral values return! Let our earlier notions and practices of ethics, good standards, merit, quality, return in the conduct of our lives as a nation, as happens in other modern, civilised nations of the world today. The future could become even more bleak for Nigeria and its peoples in this new millennium, if the principle of ethnicity becomes entrenched as the principle determinant of our production of university administrators, professors and senior academics; our medical doctors, our airplane pilots, our civil engineers, administrative technocrats, etc. Of one very important fact, Nigeria ought to be clear and certain: the rest of the 21st century world, in its consistent, well measured-steps of total, all round progress, is not waiting and will never wait, for any offensively noisy, national group.
Clio reminisces about her positive role in the crisis of other nations

However, Clio still remembers that, throughout human life she, (as the goddess of history and
representative of the Creative Force in many human affairs), has always had the last word in the matter of turning humanity around, from the brink of chaos, confusion and unbridled fraud and dishonesty, to the sanity of good order and social harmony. The rule of law, a social justice system that is no respecter of persons or of ethnic hegemonism, remains her veritable instrument for successful societal engineering. Clio remembered the socio-political case in the Philippines during the 1980s, where her influence on the human mind, finally moved the people, unarmed, to tear down the tyranny of Ferdinard Marcos in favour of a popular, true and genuine democracy, with a market-ruled, not cartel-controlled, market economy. And exactly a decade ago, the goddess of history had filled all Germans with a powerful sense of history, moving the people to pull down the ‘iron curtain’ of the Berlin Wall, the physical symbol of over three decades of oppression and un- freedom of the people. Clio remembered all these and many more wonders of her influences on the lives of nations in times gone bye, not excluding the other popular movements which in recent times, defeated the oppressive dictatorships in Suharto’s indonesia, in East Timor, Clio particularly remembered her most recent successful exploits in America. There the nation’s strong sense of history had led directly to the unprecedented assemblage of Clio’s local agents. 400 American processional historians, and 400 American legal experts, to brainstorm and to offer the American nation (represented by highly qualified congress members), well informed advice and professional opinion on a matter of great national urgency and critical importance. The American nation was consequently ultimately saved and restored to political sanity, away from the very brink of a frightful political crisis, generated by the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the impeachment of a morally erring, otherwise wonderful, American president with a high rating in political performance. Upon a very careful consideration of Nigeria’s own multiple self-made problems, and hoping that Nigeria, like all other nations of the world, will ultimately bring its knowledge of history to bear fruitfully upon the quandaries of the Nigerian polity today, Clio decided to lend some sense of history to the different classes of groups of Nigerians. She decided to address and speak at length to the different classes and levels of the Nigerian nation, in a stiff language Clio’s self-introduction of herself to the ignorant within and outside Nigeria

I am Clio the Muse, the goddess or spirit force of history, the friend of humanity, the store
keeper of its intellectual foresight, of its socio-political vision, the director of its inspiration, of its creativity and productivity in all fields of human enterprise. I am the custodian of the truths about the actions, and the complex interests, which drive the real intentions or ambitions of all human beings in society. Simply called ‘history’ by most humans, I am most often brushed off, unfortunately, as a mere story teller engaged in the boring business of remembering and narrating all sorts of childish stories, the most ill informed sections of humanity still foolishly regard me in this wrong sense. But I am, in fact the keeper of the collective memories, the experiences and the social wisdom of the world of humanity since the beginning of time. Societies and institutions which regularly consult with me for my record of human actions and experiences, and for the social wisdoms that derive therefrom throughout the ages, usually surmount, or at any rate find workable solutions to their human
Clio’s message to the elite and the leaders of the Nigerian nation:

You are classifiable roughly into four groups: the super power elite, the middle elite, the
upstart elite and the professional elite, depending mostly on the volume of public money in your direct control. One, vice which many of you share in common throughout the country, is licentious lawlessness and gross indiscipline, or living above the laws of the land. The 53 suit cases palaver, of the late General Tunde Idiagbon’s time (1984) during the Nigeria currency windfall; and the twelve billion dollars oil money windfall during the US-Iraqi war in 1991, which is still unaccounted for till date, these few illustrations represent but a minor tip of the iceberg of the innumerable methods and ways by which many of the self-styled elite have ruined Nigeria. Largely through your elitist crimes and other evil exploits, the country had acquired the shameful, ugly image of a colossus with the feet of clay, a giant with the legs of a mosquito! The most destructive of Nigeria’s development and progress, and of the peoples’ democratic yearnings, has been the criminal elitist practice of massive election rigging at every party election since independence! When, in a ‘Democracy,’ election has come to mean, the ‘allocation and sharing of votes’_ amongst the political contestants, (on the basic of the amount of naira, or hard currency, each political contestant can offer to electoral officials and the security agents), the subversion of the popular will, the power of the people, becomes most dangerously total. In actual fact, in this kind of situation, the representatives lack the peoples’ mandate, but only impose themselves, and their misrule, on the people. The Nigeria elite and the political leaders must bear responsibility for the perennial confusion and chaos, which, since independence, have remained the shameful definition of Nigeria. The closest identification which some of you, the elite, have made with the nation’s educational institutions, interest and aspirations, probably occurred during your shopping sprees to acquire fake degree certificates, to serve your political ambitions. The one and only ‘Miraculous Something’ (MS), which will move Nigeria forward, can only happen, when more and more of the criminals and enemies of national progress among the political elite, are unmasked and jailed or properly punished. Nigeria under its present leadership, must increase its current positive actions, it must not only contemplate, but must do its utmost visibly to acualise the letter and spirit of the wisdom of Cicero, the ancient Roman jurist; because the validity of Cicero’s warnings to the world some two thousand years ago, bears timeless eternal, relevance to humanity and society in general and to Nigeria in particular. ‘Extremely few people will refrain from committing crimes for living above the law!, if they know they will not be caught, or that, if found out, they will still go The very last portion of Clio’s address to the national elite, appeared directed specifically to the honourable members of the nation’s supreme legislative body on the burning issue of political restructuring, and despite the on-going assignment of the constitutional reviewing Given the dangerous complexity of Nigeria’s current socio-political problems, an urgent political restructuring of the polity into six, or even twelve, autonomous federating regions, may well be seen today as Nigeria’s deux ex machina. Which will save it from what could in future degenerate into an inescapable bloody violence,or National Assemblies all the world over, usually function not as a ‘national cake’ sharing committee or congress, but primarily as the political nursery of national policies aimed at enhancing the quality of human life and Welfare, qualitative education, job employment and security, the self-actualisation of the average citizen. The National Assembly is not an arena for gladiatorial, villainous intrigues, plots and counter plots to further distress an already frustrated national citizenry. No group of Nigerian citizens, other than those in the country’s National Assembly today, is better placed to appreciate the magnitude o f Nigeria’s current political problems, and to initiate the legislative process of political restructuring, as now desired by a vast majority of the people, in order to avoid a worse disaster, political disintegration. The National Assembly’s failure up till date in addressing its mind to this national crisis without further prevarication’s or stop-gap measures, has become a very sad commentary on the serious short-comings and inadequacies of the national The public feeling of disenchantment and disappointment with the overall ‘mediocre’, ‘very selfish’ performances of the Federal National Assembly, including the State Houses of Assembly, is so widespread across the country, and could be regularly picked up in most However, the National Assembly is to be fully commended for boldly and unanimously condemning and aborting the recent satanic impeachment plot, made against a President whose performance in the past eleven months has been rated, nationally and internationally, as well above average, especially considering the terrifying complexity of the national problems he has to battle, the notoriety or past disreputable records of many of those politicians with whom he has to work at different levels nationally. This general approval rating of the presidential performance in the past one year, is regardless of the still existing grey areas of inexcusable marginalisation of certain ethnic groups in the national scheme of Our honourable legislators must begin to feel seriously concerned about this general public unhappiness with their performance and other activities this past one year. One of the recent critics has advised every Nigerian citizen who cherishes his or her sanity or peace of mind, to cultivate the habit of thinking less about Nigeria. (see “Want to stay sane? Think less Nigeria” Sunday Tribune, May 7, 2000 page 3). The author of this article, Festus Adedayo, has many valid reasons for so advising his fellow Nigerians: “When a group of lawmakers deliberately inflated the budget of a nation like Nigeria, infusing into it some irrelevances, you begin to wonder at their motive, why, for instance, would the National Assembly infuse absurd budgetary allocations of N200 million to fight snake bites (in Abuja), introduce a rather vague project called presidential communication, to cost N883,200 million, build primary schools for legislators for N30 million, etc.? Isn’t it all madness ‘ I won’t allow anyone to run me The views of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) under its present fiery and energetic, Adams Oshimhole leadership, are most noteworthy on the issue of the latest source of conflict and face-off between the Obasanjo presidency and the National Assembly. For the benefit of Nigerians, some of the major ingredients of conflict, bear quoting here in the language of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). “The Congress” view is better appreciated when we examine the grounds of some quarrel between the executive and the legislature. Congress objects to a situation in which members of the National Assembly collectively engage in self-appropriation to the detriment of national economy and public welfare. Currently, each legislator collects as much as N250, 000 per month; while they are making frantic efforts to increase their monthly pay to N480, 000 in the current controversial appropriation bill if the additional cost of six legislative aids is added, at least each legislator will earn N1 million monthly in a country whose professors, medical doctors and high court judges earn so little that they cannot afford to own private cars. Also, they appropriate as much as N2.5 million for each of them to build boys quarters in their official quarters. Already, each assemblyman or woman has cars and police orderlies to (himself or herself). Another N9 billion is voted to build an exclusive school for the children of the legislators. The legislators have clearly abused their offices. If the legislators are not stopped in this business of self-aggrandizement, they will definitely plunge the economy into bankruptcy to the detriment of the mass of Nigerians. Congress has, therefore, resolved to join well-meaning Nigerians, students under the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, human rights organisations and patriots to stop the legislators from despicable run on national wealth precisely because such legislative pillage is not part of the mandate given to them by the mass of Nigerian people. It is time Nigerians demanded (that) their representatives represent them in eradicating poverty rather than worsening their poverty through private aggrandizement. (see ‘THE DANGERS ARE NOT OVER by Adams Oshimhole, President Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Tell Magazine Legislative Assemblies throughout the world, are designed and meant to function as the most effective instrument for a sustainable societal engineering and for fighting those eight deadly crimes, which afflict, debilitate and ultimately kill the productive potentials and capacities of all human societies, cultures and civilisations. The great Indian sage, Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948), had identified for the rest of the world those eight deadly monsters (the offsprings of executive indiscipline and lawlessness, dishonesty and irresponsibility), which always multiply and spread and eventually always lie at the roots of all human agony, the decay and the ruin of nations; Developmentally still a toddler some forty years after its birth, is Nigeria, whether under military dictatorship, or under our new kind of ‘civilian democracy’ terminally or inexorably afflicted by these eight deadly monsters? In our times, man’s insatiable quest for knowledge has brought to mankind the awesome miracles, wonders and pleasures of science and technology; admixed, unfortunately, with a mortal dose of bestiality and unprecedented, widespread, wickedness throughout the world. Mohandas Gandhi was not alone in preaching the importance of History and the humanities for a more balanced, more enduring, human happiness. Some three thousand years before the Indian sage, some of the greatest philosophers of ancient Greece, in particular Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, had preached much the same sermon for the benefit of mankind. ‘Man know thy self! For the unexamined life is not worth living’
Some of the greatest thinkers within out own generation have continued to stress the importance of the study of history, especially for politicians and statesmen, public officers and administrators; for such men and women in public life. Prof. Judge Learned Hand, (see The Modern Researcher, 1957, page 52) had described history as: The cornerstone of a liberal education and the begetter of social wisdom’. As a veritable institutional instrument of our modern societal engineering, the legislative Assemblies of our land need to provide, through their actions and performances, an urgent and credible answer to this critical national question; otherwise, it may be mere wishful thinking for us to believe, that Nigerians years of toil and tears of suffering and disenchantment, of frustration and disappointment, had all ended with the exit of the oppressive military and its mindless misrule of the country. Those members of the Nigerian elite, who stole public funds and robbed Nigeria blind, oblivious of the peoples’ human right to their national wealth, to life above penury, ought not to be permitted undeserved relief through recourse to human rights sophistry. If these elite thieves were not, many of them, still living here with us in the country, the current pleas to the foreign governments for the recovery of the loot, could have made a lot of sense to many people. Our full knowledge, that a good number of these doubtful characters are now either ‘honourable senators or honourable legislators’ for the country they had economically ruined, only increases our frustration and impatience; Do you engage an enemy who narrowly missed shooting you dead, to extract the bullet lodged in your body? (Onye gbara madu egbe, onawaya ngbo?) If Nigeria is to succeed in its present and its future efforts at national revival, those who had caused, or mainly contributed, to her shameful failure in the past, must
Clio’s meassage to all Nigerians;

A people will always get the leaders they deserve; the day ordinary Nigerians in general
decide against being further misruled with impunity by corrupt mediocrity, the country will advance effectively and proudly into the 21st century along with the rest of the world: Nigerian schools and universities will be educational institutions, not just in name. But in truth and subsistence; the country will no more be short changed by road contractors, nor by NEPA, not by NITEL, not by the Nigerian Airways, the Railway Corporation, the Water Board or the other public utilities, all of whose criminal incompetence have together helped in reducing Nigerian to a mighty, offensively noisy, colossus with feet of clay. The 1963 Nigerian Constitution shares with the Aburi Accord during the Nigerian Civil war, a common denominator of an admirable socio-political realism, a demonstration of the capacity of Nigerian for effective societal engineering given adequate political autonomy, with social justice, to the various ethnic components or zonal geographical units of the country. But it was, we ought to remember this clearly, the excessive greed, and the political myopism of groups of Nigerians, and the total absence of a patriotic national spirit, which killed both the 1963 constitution and the Aburi Accord; throwing the country many generations backwards in developmental decay. What can any nation ever achieve in the absence of the motivating force of the patriotic national spirit? The full and effective, non violent, use of dialogue and/or referendum, an application of the peoples power, is my generous gift to Nigeria for the 21st century. As youths or as elders, most Nigerians have already singled themselves out as the most ignoble, the most despicable people in the world, by readily renting themselves out as praise-singers, or as political jobbers, to criminals within and outside government, once there is a promise of money or political appointment! Where else, but in Nigeria, would the five fingers of a leprous, murderous hand of tyranny, suddenly reposition itself at the best nurse of the democracy it was already determine to strangulate to death, but a timely providential intervention? In Nigeria, how very tragically true has been Shakespeare’s statement and warning to humanity centuries ago. ‘Paint crime with gold, and the swift lance of justice, hurtles, falls’! No nation ever survives when the twin influences of criminal wealth, and social injustice is allowed such impunity and such free reign as in Nigeria. A nation where executive privilege, or parliamentary immunity, always successfully parades itself against the will of the people, or regularly pleads the cause of crime, and of criminals, is a nation in a state of terminal


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