Long long time ago when integrity resides among men;
A greedy baker was jealous of his cheerful neighbor. He grumbled, “How can he have so little and yet be so happy?”
Every morning, the smell of sweet baked drifted out of the bakery. The wind carried the wonderful aroma toward the neighbor’s house. As the poor neighbor sat on his porch eating stale bread, the sweet smell filled the air. He took a deep breath and sighed with happiness.
As the baker watched, he thought, “The smell from my baked goods makes his stale bread taste delicious. That’s not fair. He should have to pay for such pleasure.” After seeing this happen, again and again, the baker went to his neighbor’s house and handed him a bill. “You want me to pay you? For what? I don’t have enough money to buy anything in your store,” said the kind neighbor.
“That’s right! You pay nothing and yet every day you steal the smell of my baked goods,” yelled the baker. “You mean you want me to pay ten coins as a smelling fee?” laughed the neighbor. “Yes! From now on, I will not be cheated and if you don’t pay, I will take you to the court,” replied the baker. When word of the baker’s demand spread around the city, everyone laughed at the idea of a stolen smell.
At last, the baker was so angry that he took the case to a respected judge. Everyone was sure that the judge would dismiss the case. After all, how could anyone steal a smell? But to their surprise, the judge said, “It’s my duty to listen to what the baker has to say. I order both the baker and his neighbor to come to court tomorrow.”
The judge sent word to the neighbor that he should bring five gold coins with him. When the kind man heard this, he worried that he would have to hand over the little money he had to the greedy baker. The baker was delighted with the news. He grinned as he thought of his pockets full of his neighbor’s gold coins.
The next day, the baker and the neighbor arrived at the crowded court. Many townspeople were puzzled by the judge’s actions and came to see what the judge would do. They could not believe that he might make the kind man paying for a smell.
When the judge walked in, the courtroom fell silent. First, he listened to the baker’s complaint. Then, he turned to the neighbor and asked, “Is it true that you have enjoyed the smell of this man’s baked goods every day for many years?” “Yes, your honour! I must confess that is true,” admitted the neighbor.
Finally, he declared, “A smell has been stolen. Since stealing is a crime, the neighbor must be punished!” The kind man protested, “But your honour…” “Order in the court,” shouted the judge. He then turned to the neighbor and demanded, “Take the five gold pieces from your pocket!” After the neighbor did so, the judge ordered, “Now, drop the coins from one hand to the other!” The neighbor passed the gold coins back and forth between his hands.
The judge turned to the baker and asked, “Did you hear the jingle of the gold coins?” “Yes, I did!” said the baker with a greedy grin. “Did you like the sound?” asked the judge. “Yes, it is a wonderful sound. It is the payment I believe I deserve,” cried the baker. The baker began to move toward his neighbor to grab the money.
“Wait!” cried the judge. “You already have a fair payment. Your neighbor was guilty of stealing the smell of your baked goods. You have been paid by hearing the sound of his money. This case is dismissed,” said the judge.
Laughter filled the courtroom as the people marveled at the judge’s cleverness. The baker hung his head, realising how foolish and greedy he had been. From then on, the judge was known as the wisest of all, treating people with fairness and honesty.
The Southern Nigeria want to be in control of VAT, this may be a welcome development if it will force the North to utilise it’s human and land resources for the purpose of wealth creation and prosperity.
However, if the agitation is built on greed, sentiment and tribalism, what happens if the North also agitate for the inclusion of VAT on agricultural produce?
Will that not mean more money for the North and more poverty for Nigeria?
Think, let’s think.
Omoniyi Olawale Michael
CEO Amazing Grace Bakery.
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