Akintunde Oyebode: All the president’s men (YNaija Frontpage)

After all, when a man thinks he is the most handsome one in the room, the best way to dispel that notion is to hand him a mirror.

The Washington Post is acknowledged for running the biggest act of investigative journalism the world has seen, while two of its reporters at the time, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, will remain the barometer for measuring the brilliance of investigative journalists around the world for centuries to come.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were given the task to report the 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate building. What looked like a “third rate” burglary attempt by some amateur crooks resulted in the only resignation of an American President till date when Richard Nixon voluntarily left the Oval Office on August 9, 1974. The two journalists, using the most famous informant in history, a man code-named Deep Throat, traced the burglary to an attempt by the Nixon re-election team to carry out a sting on its opponent’s party. The resultant cover-up from the White House led to the downfall of the President.

I know the official mouthpiece of the Nigerian government has read the reporters’ account of the Watergate scandal; but I will send him a copy. After reading his piece, The Jonathan They Don’t Know, it is obvious that Nigerian journalists don’t need to dig for their Deep Throat.  Our local version, Longa Throat (h/t to Wole Soyinka), does not need clandestine meetings to divulge state secrets; he will do it openly on the pages of the newspapers. Like Deep Throat whose deliberate but noble act ensured his President was deservedly punished, Longa Throat might inadvertently do the same to the underwhelming leader he jealously defends.

It was fascinating to read Longa Throat’s piece on the President.  He told us the President can read and write; in a country where literacy is a privilege, to have a president that can read and write is no mean feat. I wonder why he didn’t put the icing on the cake by sharing the President’s score in his TOEFL examination. He also introduced us to kain-kain, some type of alcohol consumed in many parts of the country, but says the President does not drink such. There is nothing more comforting than the knowledge that the Nigerian President is never inebriated; such achievements are usually recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The most interesting parts of Longa Throat’s article were the things he left unsaid; the flippant comments about the commitment to the anti-corruption crusade, provision of electricity and the upgrade of infrastructure. They were filled with the usual amorphous description used by salesmen saddled with useless products. It was another self-indictment of the government by its laughable spokesman. The only fact in the article was the power generation ‘feat’ achieved by the government, albeit without an acknowledgement of Mother Nature’s generosity with rainfall this year. It is amusing that 14 months after his appointment, Longa Throat still speaks with an aspiring voice, instead of an achieving one.  This is the biggest indictment of the current government.

The 1968 United States Presidential election was one of the closest in history, with Richard Nixon winning 43.4% to Vice-President Hubert Humphrey’s 42.7%. Nixon capitalized on the division in the Democratic Party and the riotous nature of the country to return America to the Republican Party. His reelection in 1972 was much easier, winning 97% of the electoral colleges and 60% of the popular vote, and every state except Massachusetts. A few months later, Richard Nixon became the only President of the United States to resign from office.

I will send Dr. Abati a copy of All the President’s Men to remind him how easily defeat can be snatched from the jaws of victory, and the dangers of having sycophantic aides around a president. After all, when a man thinks he is the most handsome one in the room, the best way to dispel that notion is to hand him a mirror.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (3)

  1. My favorite part of the well written article is longer throat still speaking with an aspiring voice instead of an achieving voice. Well done Akin.

  2. As usual, hitting the nail on the head without spilling blood anywhere else. Your writings are an authoritative blend of the past a lot of us dont know and different angles to our present reality.

  3. Biscuit,

    Great write up! Thanks for the 'response'.

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