Cambridge Analytica How Nigerian billionaire paid £2m to data firm to help GEJ in 2015 elections

The Guardian UK exposes how a Nigerian billionaire hired Cambridge Analytica to help Jonathan Goodluck win the 2015 elections which he eventually lost.

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I will make sure PDP returns to power in 2019 – GEJ play

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd as he leaves the office during the inauguration of President Mohammadu Buhari at the Eagles Square in Abuja, on May 29, 2015

(AFP/File)
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An ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica has revealed that an unnamed Nigerian billionaire paid the data analytics company £2M to help Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election.

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.

Alexander Nix is chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, which has denied misusing Facebook data for its work on Trump's 2016 campaign play

Alexander Nix is chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, which has denied misusing Facebook data for its work on Trump's 2016 campaign

(AFP/File)

ALSO READ: Cambridge Analytica has set up a new data company

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.

Cambridge Analytica and the 2015 elections

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.

Cambridge Analytica operation was Oyinbo colonizing us again play

Mohammadu Buhari (R) defeated Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan in March 28 elections -- the first time in Nigeria's history that an opposition candidate had beaten a sitting president

(AFP/File)

 

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.

The APC Change poster during the 2015 elections play

The APC Change poster during the 2015 elections

(Africa Check)

 

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.

2015 campaign posters of Muhammadu Buhari and  Goodluck Jonathan play

2015 campaign posters of Muhammadu Buhari and  Goodluck Jonathan

(BBC)

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.

Buhari ran a very inspiring political campaign in 2015 play

Buhari ran a very inspiring political campaign in 2015

(oblongmediadotcom)

 

“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."

ALSO READ: #DeleteFacebook becomes a movement after Cambridge Analytica expose

Propaganda message

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.

Israel did not want Buhari to win

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 role of Cambridge Analytica in the 2017 Kenyan general election

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.

The then Cord presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) and Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta wave to the crowd during the national fasting and peace prayers at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on February 24, 2013. Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie has revealed that his predecessor Dan Mureşan, died while working for the 2013 Kenyan Presidential campaigns. play

The then Cord presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) and Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta wave to the crowd during the national fasting and peace prayers at Uhuru Park, Nairobi on February 24, 2013. Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie has revealed that his predecessor Dan Mureşan, died while working for the 2013 Kenyan Presidential campaigns.

(Nation Media Group)

 

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.

Cambridge Analytica executives described their techniques multiple times to an undercover reporter between November 2017 and January 2018. play

Cambridge Analytica executives described their techniques multiple times to an undercover reporter between November 2017 and January 2018.

(Channel 4 News)

 

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.

A man watches a hard-hitting online campaign ad just weeks before national elections, in Nairobi on July 13, 2017 play

A man watches a hard-hitting online campaign ad just weeks before national elections, in Nairobi on July 13, 2017

(AFP)

 

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.

How does Facebook come into all of this?

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.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his first public statement on the scandal engulfing the company, says the social network must "step up" and do more to protect user data play

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his first public statement on the scandal engulfing the company, says the social network must "step up" and do more to protect user data

(GETTY/AFP/File)

 

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.

Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information on where users lived and what pages they liked, which helped build psychological profiles that analysed characteristics and personality traits.

This kind of information was later deployed in political campaigns.

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