The POTENTIAL IV: Staying True
Once upon a time, there lived a poor hunter and his childless wife.
One day, while gathering wood in the forest, the wife built a maiden
out of snow. “If only you were real,” she sighed, “how I would love
and treat you.”
The forest queen heard the wife’s wish. She promised to turn the snow
maiden into a real girl. But with one condition: in place of a heart,
she would have an icicle. With that, the maiden magically came to
life. “If she ever steps outside the snow forest,” the forest queen
warned, “the ice will melt, and she will die.”
For many years, the snow maiden and the wife lived together. Then one
day, the wife died. The snow maiden was sad. She moved through the
forest until she came upon a young boy from the village, lost in the
woods. Taking pity, the snow maiden led him to the edge of the forest.
If she walked any further, she knew her heart of ice would melt.
The snow maiden looked into the boy’s eyes and knew what she must do….
It is no longer news that to survive in the days and weeks and months
to come one must break forth and start his own business, set
boundaries and realise those limits (as) set, and mind one’s own business.
That we must shift gaze from the ambitious, ambiguous, Agenda we are
asked to look unto, and look within. That we must hold our destinies
in our hands and defend our sovereignty, security and sanity. That
hope comest not from the Centre, not from the House, not from the
Court, not even from the Rock- the only water in this wilderness is
Mara and Moses is yet in Sambisa looking for our girls.
Hope comest from within us. It is held in our arms, held by our hands,
close to our hearts. It is not threatened by Boko Haram, it is not
starved by the incredibly high cost of living, it is no longer
disabled by PHCN, or whatever it is now called (even Airtel has
stopped changing names; for by their changing names ye shalt know
them). It is our ingenuity, it is our industry, it is our business;
and we Nigerians are an enterprising lot.
Yet as one breaks forth, he soon realises that running a business is
no easy task; keeping it afloat, much more so. That the journey must
be rough, time must be tough, and to succeed must one cover as much
distance in as little time. That one must be questioned, and oneself
must one question.
For a time comes in business when one’s stance is requested, when
one’s nature must be revealed. When one is confronted by illegitimate
and/or immoral options, when the promise of greater profit seems
premise enough to profit off the burying of one’s true self: You just
discovered a way to hide income and cut taxes; you have just come into
some cheaper (smuggled) goods and the hope of increasing profit; you
have just been taught how administering steroids can fatten your
animals and reduce cost.
To be or not to be?- becomes the question one must answer.
It is proverbial that to discover new lands, must one consent to lose
sight of shore; yet which shore? the shore of one’s conscience? Yes,
at what cost must one succeed in business? at the cost of one’s
Challenges must arise no doubt, failure must scent; but to oneself
must one be true. One must stand by that which he believes in, by that
which he holds as right, as fair, as true, even in the face of
uncertainty, even in the midst of threats and anger, even in spite of
Verdicts and Edicts, Indictments and Inquisitions, Denials and
Betrayals, Early retirements and Forced leaves, and to spite
Presidential silences and hush-shush – or pastoral invectives,
ambitions, and na-me-holy-pass.
It may be that one will be the subject of a bulletin, called arrogant
and dirty, maligned, because his accusers cannot answer him in honesty
and truthfulness, because they cannot look him in the eye and
acknowledge their own lust, their own ambition, because they are too
many, too holy, to be wrong, because they must have God on their side
It may be that one will be lucky, that she will vanish and be no more,
true to herself even to her last breath…
She took the boy to his father and as she watched these two happy
souls, her heart of ice melted. And she died. The snow maiden’s body
turned into a perfect snow flake that rose into the air and danced
with the breeze. And her last vanished in the sunlight.
But it may also be that the gods will that one be fortunate, in which
case he will be rewarded for staying true to self, for not
compromising, for not losing focus, loosing grip and placing integrity
in loos. He will succeed and be renowned. He will succeed his
detractors, and be remembered long after he is no more.
And it is with such high hopes that I share with you this story of
Kreb, the discoverer of the famous citric acid (now also called
Kreb’s) cycle that powers nearly every cell – and cellular organism –
as I leave to prepare the next in this series, The POTENTIAL V:
The manuscript proposing the citric acid cycle was submitted for
publication to Nature but was rejected:
The editor of NATURE presents his compliments to Dr. H. A. Krebs and
regrets that as he has already sufficient letters to fill the
correspondence columns of NATURE for seven or eight weeks, it is
undesirable to accept further letters at the present time on account
of the time delay which must occur in their publication.
If Dr. Krebs does not mind much delay the editor is prepared to keep
the letter until the congestion is relieved in the hope of making use
He returns it now, in case Dr. Krebs prefers to submit it for early
publication in another periodical.”
It was subsequently published in Enzymologia. Dr. Krebs proudly
displayed the rejection letter throughout his career as encouragement
for young scientists.
For this discovery, Sir (Dr.) Hans Adolf Krebs shared the 1953 Nobel
Prize for physiology or medicine.