Cambridge Analytica UK firm's parent company reportedly manipulated Nigeria's 2007 elections for PDP

The company claims that it organised rallies in Nigeria to weaken support for the opposition in 2007.

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Cambridge Analytica-linked firm 'manipulated' Nigeria's 2007 polls play

Late Umar Yar'Adua

(Royal Expressions)
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A UK-based public relations firm, SCL Elections, which later became Cambridge Analytica reportedly manipulated Nigeria's 2007 election that was won by the late Umar Yar'Adua.

According to a BBC report on Sunday, March 25, 2018, the company organised "anti-election rallies" to demoralise opposition supporters from voting in the elections.

BBC said it saw a brochure published by SCL Elections before 2014 in which the firm boasted about interfering in foreign elections.

One of the elections mentioned in the document was Nigeria's 2007 polls, which observers at the time described as a "charade".

The company claims that it organised rallies in Nigeria to weaken support for the opposition in 2007.

Even Yar'Adua, who died in office in 2010, admitted that the election process was flawed and convened a government of national unity.

Muhammadu Buhari, who is Nigeria's current President came second in that election while Atiku Abubakar and Orji Kalu came third and fourth respectively.

In the document, SCL Elections claimed potential clients could contact the company through "any British High Commission or Embassy".

play Late Umar Yar'Adua and former president Goodluck Jonathan (Daily Post)

 

But the UK Foreign Office, which awarded the company British government contracts in 2008, distanced itself from the scandal.

ALSO READ: Law-enforcement officers raid Cambridge Analytica's headquarters in London

The Office says it was unaware of this alleged activity before the firm was awarded the contracts.

"It is not now nor ever has been the case that enquiries for SCL 'can be directed through any British High Commission or Embassy. Our understanding is that, at the time of the signing of the contract for project work in 2008/9, the FCO was not aware of SCL's reported activity during the 2006 Latvian election or 2007 Nigerian election", a spokesperson for the Foreign Office told BBC.

The UK Guardian had earlier in the week reported that Cambridge Analytica also interfered in Nigeria's 2015 elections by hiring hackers believed to be Israeli to dig up dirt on Buhari, candidate of the then-opposition All Progressives Congress.

A Nigerian businessman was said to have paid the company $2 million for it services. The person was not named but he wanted to ensure the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the report said.

Other countries where SCL Elections tried to manipulate elections in the last decade included Latvia in Eastern Europe.

Cambridge Analytica reacts

BBC also reported that the acting CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Tayler, said Cambridge Analytica was formed in 2013, out of a much older company called SCL Elections.

"We take the disturbing recent allegations of unethical practices in our non-US political business very seriously. The board has launched a full and independent investigation into SCL Elections' past practices, and its findings will be made available in due course," Tayler said.

In the document, SCL also claims that ahead of the elections in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, it orchestrated an "ambitious campaign of political graffiti" that "ostensibly came from the youth" so the client party could "claim credit for listening to a 'united youth'".

Most of the examples detailed in the brochure took place before the British government entered into at least six contracts with SCL.

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