The Guardian UK exposes how a Nigerian billionaire hired Cambridge Analytica to help Jonathan Goodluck win the 2015 elections which he eventually lost.
Cambridge Analytica has been in the news following revelations that it used data it got from Facebook users to sway election results in America.
AFP says Facebook and the data firm are being accused of using the data they gleaned to help Donald Trump win the US election.
Seven individuals who had insider knowledge about the campaign in Nigeria have revealed how computer hackers from Israel worked with Cambridge Analytica a few weeks to the historic 2015 election.
According to Guardian UK, a former employee of the firm said “It was the kind of campaign that was our bread and butter.We’re employed by a billionaire who’s panicking at the idea of a change of government and who wants to spend big to make sure that doesn’t happen" in reference to the 2015 elections in Nigeria.
The ex-employee also alleged that their team were connected to Israeli hackers who were mandated to get dirt on Muhammadu Buhari, who was the APC presidential candidate.
It was also revealed that the hackers had offered the Analytica team, access to Buhari’s medical records and email correspondence.
At the heart of the operation was Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at Cambridge Analytica. In December 2014, she would be introduced to an undisclosed Nigerian billionaire who wanted Goodluck Jonathan to win the 2015 elections. The billionaire wanted the operation to be top secret.
Speaking further, the ex-employee said “[Kaiser] got a phone call. It was just before Christmas and she flew out to meet them in Washington DC. It was all a bit ridiculous. It was only six to eight weeks before the election and they were looking to spend nearly $2m.”
Guardian UK further writes “There were a lot of scared millionaires worried that Buhari would get in. It was all very last-minute. A team flew out to Abuja and put together a communications campaign. It was a straightforward, normal comms campaign in most respects.
“The election was a big deal. At stake, the future of the most populous country in Africa, and potential access to its lucrative oil reserves. The sitting president was favourite to win, though Buhari was doing unexpectedly well.
“Not least because his team had hired AKPD, once the firm of former Barack Obama strategist David Axelrod, which was pushing a slick, social media heavy Obama-esque message of hope."
The ex-employee said that a video was put together to portray Buhari as somebody who will promote Sharia in Nigeria.
The script for the video: “Coming to Nigeria on February 15th, 2015.”
“Dark. Scary. And very uncertain. Sharia for all.”
“What would Nigeria look like if sharia were imposed by Buhari?”
Also, a former contractor of the company revealed that another set of video footage was created to scare Buhari’s supporters from voting.
He said “It was voter suppression of the most crude and basic kind. It was targeted at Buhari voters in Buhari regions to basically scare the shit out of them and stop them from voting.”
The script: "If Buhari wins, the film warns: women would wear the veil. Sharia law would be introduced. And the inference is, you may be macheted to death.
The Cambridge Analytica team was in Nigeria during this period which was a tense moment not only for the nation but them as well. "It felt risky, being there. There were various points when we were told we were in danger" says one of the team members.
Guardian UK also said that suspected Israeli intelligence operatives held meetings with Cambridge Analytica to ensure that Buhari does not win.
“There was a two-hour meeting that took place in the hotel lobby between two senior campaign members and Israeli intelligence. After which they swept our hotel rooms for listening devices and said they would switch out our phones. The story we were told was that there were intelligence agents from a number of different countries, including Israel and France, who were supporting Goodluck Jonathan and helping the campaigns,” an employee said.
"Basically the Israelis didn’t want [Buhari] to win" he further said.
Things got worse for the Cambridge Analytica teams in Nigeria. A few weeks before the election they had to leave the country after they found out from their London office that their safety had been compromised by the Israeli operatives. They believed the operatives had personal emails and information on Buhari which they did not want access to.
In 2013, there were reports that Jonathan Goodluck awarded a $40m contract to an Israeli company to allegedly monitor the Internet communication by Nigerians. The name of the company was called Elbit Systems.
In its article, Guardian UK noted that Jonathan Goodluck was not aware of the voter manipulation done on his behalf.
The exposé by Channel 4 News has brought to light damning revelations of how British Data Company, Cambridge Analytica, influenced the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 2017 General Election.
In an undercover investigation titled: Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks, the firm’s top bosses admit to being the key drivers of Mr. Kenyatta’s campaigns.
Alex Taylor, Cambridge’s Chief Data Officer and Managing Director Mark Turnbull were caught on tape detailing the role they played in Kenya’s elections.
Mr. Turnbull disclosed that they entered into a contract with President Kenyatta party in 2013 and continued during 2017 election when he vied for a second term.
Facebook and data-analytics company Cambridge Analytica are in hot water after a whistleblower revealed that Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.
The revelations have since led to British, EU, and US authorities to launch investigations into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica harvested information from 50 million Facebook users through an external app in 2015, according to Wylie, who worked there at the time.
The data came from a personality quiz, which around 270,000 people were paid to take. The quiz — "thisisyourdigitallife" — in turn, pulled data from their friends' profiles as well, ending in the enormous data stash.
This kind of information was later deployed in political campaigns.