In Mario Puzo’s classic, The Godfather, when it was decided by the Corleone’s war council that the Police Chief McCluskey had to be killed alongside Sollozzo; the Corleone family did not consult with the other families for consent neither did they second guess themselves. Michael Corleone made the hit, skipped town and left Santino, Tessio and Clemenza to take the heat.
How did they fare? Not too badly from the authorities. They used their men in the press to influence public opinion by writing editorials on how corrupt McCluskey was and how he got what was coming to him. Questions were posed on why a Police Captain would be meeting a known felon, Sollozzo, personally and soon the Police lost the will and vigour to close the case, especially as the suspect was at large.
Mario Puzo borrowed from his plot in subsequent works such as Omerta and The Family. They exemplified templates of distraction by which negative actions are excused or rationalized afterwards by the mass media to influence the thoughts, and actions, of the masses.
Good stories never go out of circulation and that is why 50 years after the first publication of The Godfather, we are living through one of its plots again as a people. A President and his council of war unilaterally decided that they needed to swear in their loyalists to the tribunal, Onnoghen would be in the way and the Senate, as the other Families, will definitely not give consent. So they do what has never been done before, they kill McCluskey- a Police Chief (I hope you can relate).
Onnoghen, like McCluskey, was not the main target. He was just in the way of the council reaching their main objective and had to be taken out. Nothing personal, just business (in Tom Hagen’s voice). Other Families, indeed other countries and the Senate, have been told to mind their business; we will go to the mattresses if need be- risking sanctions, business will just have to suffer.
Understanding that there will be serious backlash, they use their men in the press to begin to rationalize why Onnoghen had to go. The news making the round becomes that of over N1bn stolen by Onnoghen being in his undeclared, soon the public outcry begins to die down and once again tyranny trumps democracy.
However, we as a people have refused to ask ourselves some salient questions like when undeclared graduated from being suspicious to being stolen? Like why due process was not followed in the removal of Onnoghen? Why the urgency, would he have “stolen” more if he had been left there for 3more weeks, did Babachir steal more when left for months afterwards? Like why the best man to replace Onnoghen is suddenly a man whose wife is an aspirant under the ruling party, don’t we understand conflict of interest?
Sadly, we have become a people who do not know what questions to ask, hence an over reliance on the corporate media to direct our thinking by asking the questions they and their sponsors have guiding answers to. We all seem to be well informed but never about the things that matter, and eventually our misinformation shows through in the type of leaders we have- those to whom upholding the constitution is a secondary commitment.
I admire brilliance wherever I see it, and I must say this is a brilliant move by the man his adversaries underestimate as being lifeless. That was Sollozzo’s mortal mistake, he thought Michael Corleone was the family “sisi”. Michael later became THE GODFATHER.