Thursday, 21 May 2020


Anayo Nwosu
Anayo Nwosu

There was a period in time when turtles made money from transporting smaller animals from Ose Onitsha across the River Niger to Asaba for a fee. Turtle was not the only animal involved in the transportation business. Dogs, docks and crocodiles also engaged in the business.

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On one faithful afternoon, the scorpion approached the turtle complaining that other animals had refused to carry him on their back across the Niger river based on unfounded rumours that he was ungrateful, unreasonable and poisonous. But turtle asked the scorpion if it was true that he, the scorpion stung to death his clients, neighbours and even someone that helps him when he was in need. He denied it.

He then appealed to the turtle to give him a trial which would also help to dispel many rumours about him and help show other transporters that he was innocent of the offence he was being accused of. The turtle looked at sobered scorpion with pity and asked him to mount on his back and charged him nothing. The turtle was emotional. He failed to investigate the hint on the bad reputation or character of his innocent appearing customer. That negated his training.

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Midway inside the river, the turtle shouted at his passenger “bia turtle what did you just do to me? You stung me?” Then the scorpion answered, “I’m so sorry, I felt a little turbulence as we were moving and I couldn’t hold myself. I’m sorry my brother. You know that stinging is in my nature. I’m so sorry”. Being that the poison of the scorpion is paralytic and lethal to small animals, turtle could hardly hear his passenger’s response and apology before he suffered a seizure and started sinking. But the scorpion held on to a floating dry wood in the river. The wood by sheer luck sailed on the river’s waves and got hooked to the shrub on the Asaba end of the River Niger.

What a might God scorpion serves! He called his children and friends for merriment or what humans call survival party. Scorpion used the opportunity to lambast the useless turtle who he accused of inexperience in ferry business and who conspired with some transporters to throw him into the river to go and die. But he never told anyone that he had stung his benefactor that turtle didn’t ask or collect transport fare from him.

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Fortuitously, a fisherman was sailing near the site of the accident. He had cast his net into the water and caught some fish and a turtle. When he got to the Asaba shore, he separated his catch and threw away the turtle. He didn’t need it. He was only interested in the fish. Lying on the sand under the healing sun, the turtle recovered from the blood poisoning caused by the scorpion stings. He quietly swam back to Ose Onitsha to a warm embrace of his wife and children.

Fearing that the truth someday would be told or fearing the backlash, scorpion engaged and paid mosquitoes, houseflies and tsetse flies to tell everyone and everybody of how dangerous a transporter the turtle has been. He even accused the turtle of kidnap; that he never wanted to engage on any Onitsha-Asaba trip.

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Dear young marketing and sales professional, tighten your seatbelt. At one point in your carrier, as a turtle, you will come across many scorpions. Don’t deal with any client that has an acrimonious and wicked reputation. Reputation is the indication of character. Once you suspect or hear that a client is duplicitous, please flee! Don’t even think of mitigating the risk. A perfume doesn’t offer a permanent solution for a putrefying faeces of an indigenous cow. Just flee!

Resist the tempting desire to carry a duplicitous character in your books. They could go to any extent to down you. They have no scruples. They have contacts to purveyors of the axis of evil. When a sales and marketing professional ignores the character defect in seemingly big clients, all he has worked for in his life might be sunk into the river and he might not be as lucky as the turtle.

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By Anayo Nwosu

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