Africa’s largest democracy goes to the polls in a few days. This is one of the most important elections on the continent. It is the seventh successive general election in the 23 years that the country has been under uninterrupted democratic rule. In a continent where democracy has always taken a backseat and free and fair elections are still a distant dream for many, the survival of democracy in Nigeria is something of a miracle.
However, we have previously outlined how Nigerian elections were also influenced by non-state actors and we don’t have to go back too far to prove it. A shocking report reveals how Cambridge Analytica meddled in the 2015 Nigerian elections which should alarm Nigerians as they prepare for another election season.
Nigerian elections: ‘Team Jorge” and Cambridge Analytica
Shocking data has thrown light on the role of a US adviser, Sam Patten, Cambridge Analytica, and “Team Jorge” in trying to swing Nigeria’s 2015 elections.
It has been revealed that desperate attempts were made with the sole objective to manipulate elections in Africa’s largest democracy, to be precise, to discredit Muhammadu Buhari and getting Goodluck Jonathan re-elected in 2015.
Only recently, an investigation by an international consortium of media unmasked the role of “Team Jorge” which uses hacking and disinformation tactics to sway elections. Furthermore, it came to light how this global election-subversion industry worked to manipulate elections across the world. Similar attempts were made by similar machinery to manipulate the elections in Nigeria in 2015.
Read More: Democracy in Peril Chapter 1- Dark Side of Israel in Africa’s Election Rigging
How Nigeria’s 2015 elections were influenced
Just before the Presidential election in Nigeria, in late December 2014, a team from Cambridge Analytica flew to Madrid for a meeting. The meeting was attended by a member of the former Libyan royal family referred to as “His Royal Highness”, the son of a US billionaire, a Nigerian businessman, and a private Israeli intelligence operative, whose identity has now been revealed to be Tal Hanan: an Israeli “black ops” mercenary who also claims to have manipulated elections around the world. However, the facts tell a different story.
Moreover, in January 2015, Patten led a last-minute $1.8m “ghost” campaign for SCL (Cambridge Analytica) in support of President Jonathan and against Buhari. Shocking claims made by Hanan in emails revealed that they had entered the country on a “special visa” and the Israeli contractors traveled on Ukrainian passports and that their fee for work in Nigeria was a hefty $500,000 which was transmitted via Switzerland into a Ukrainian bank account.
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This is how the team worked to influence the Nigerian elections in 2015 and tried to discredit Muhammadu Buhari. These reports are particularly concerning as the largest democracy in Africa heads for another poll and many incidents have already suggested that there might be attempts made by outside forces to manipulate voters’ minds. Especially looking at online campaigns and the power over youth it holds, such possibilities can’t be denied. Moving forward, Nigerians have to be alert and keep their eyes and ears open.
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