Africans of yore had a way of instilling Moral and Inculcating virtues on the young ones. The media usually were folk tales, stories, mostly of tortoise, Lion, Leopard, the hunter and his dog, pig, the king and his numerous wives and so on and so forth.
This column is bringing to you at this juncture not the usual panorama, the antecedent of the old begotten, crucified and God damn folk tortoise but THE HARE AND THE SNAIL- A paradox of sort. While we were growing up, we used to sit under our beloved Elder, Diokpa Nwaosika, who of course gave us a lot of thrilling, enterprising and tantalizing lectures through the only medium he knew of , story telling!
Though, it was through him we learnt of the experience of 1947, the year of the Eclipse in Nigeria. Diokpa was on the top of the palm tree doing justice to the thing when suddenly the night overtook the day in a broad day light. How he managed to come down was still beyond our imagination for we never dared to ask. As we matured and went to school, in fact as I embarked on management course, I discovered much to my chagrin that no theory of Management or Economics could beat the story of the hare and the snail. Even the Harvard School of Business and London School of Economics would concur.
THE HARE AND THE SNAIL
Once upon a time, the hare in his boisterous manner challenged the snail to a running contest. Yes, running contest! The hare, a fleet footed animal thought that the snail being a slow and steady animal would say no. The hare was no less surprised when the snail agreed and even told the hare that he would be beaten to his shame. The hare thought that the snail did not understand what was as stake.
“Look snail, I see you haven’t the faintest idea of what is at stake.’’ The snail replied, “Isn’t it race? I understand.” The hare laughed, how dare you, he seemed to be saying to himself. He had searched the deep recesses of his being and probed his soul intently to find out how in the world the snail would beat him in a running contest. But the snail was busy PLANNING AND STRATEGIZING AND WORKING OUT THE BEST FORMULA FOR THE DAY. SOMEHOW, THE SNAIL HIT A BRILLIANT IDEA. “Oh! Oh! Oh! That is it. He said to himself.
He would teach the proud and arrogant hare the lessons of his life.
On the day of the race, all the snails in the animal kingdom appeared and lined up at the track, unknown to the hare.
So the race started. The hare ran and ran. When he thought that he had beaten the snail, he stopped and cried, “Where is the snail now? Have I not beaten him?”
The snail at that point replied. “Me? Beat Who?” The hare was shocked to the marrow; “Snail? In this world? How? When?” The race continued like that, the hare did not know what to make of the situation. As soon as the snail at the back of the door of the king`s house saw the hare approaching, he jumped out and was crowned. “What?” The hare shouted on seeing the snail crowned. “You mean what has no leg has beaten me ?” “ Yes,’’ said the king. That is life for you .To make it at any level, one needs to think and plan. It requires strategic envisioning and planning, as Japanese would say: Good thinking, Good product. The fool relies on his various advantages, the wise strategies. The beautiful girl thinks she has the whole world in her pocket. She toys with all the offers from men until she discovers too late that the offers have stopped coming. The less endowed takes her time, plans and hooks up the very man that suits her fancy. This magazine is a product of many years of strategic thinking and planning. Now, who says our own Diopka cannot be appointed a visiting professor of Ethics by Stanford University?