Jonathan unaware of use of Cambridge Analytica in 2015 election, spokesman claims
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan “wasn’t aware” of any use of Cambridge Analytica by individuals in the country’s elections, his spokesman said Thursday.
The Nigerian government is probing claims that Cambridge Analytica, a British-based political consultancy, illegally used Facebook data in past election campaigns for the People’s Democratic Party.
In a press statement released Sunday, the government said it was probing whether the firm broke the law to wage “a campaign to perpetuate discord and hack into personal records of the then leading opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.”
The campaign also included “anti-election rallies” and a gory video depicting Buhari as an Islamic fundamentalist on a quest to enforce Sharia law in Nigeria, said the statement.
“He wasn’t aware of it,” spokesman Ikechukwu Eze said on Thursday, referring to former president Jonathan.
When asked about the probe, Eze replied: “The best thing to do is to wait for the conclusion of the investigation.”
The firm has been tied to electoral campaigns around the world, including for US President Donald Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Meanwhile Eze later clarified his statement to indicate that it was wrong to link his statement with a perceived PDP involvement in the deal.
In a statement he issued yesterday evening, Eze said: “My attention has been drawn to a trending story entitled ‘Jonathan unaware PDP used Cambridge Analytica, spokesman claims’.
“I write to clarify that there is an element of mischief in the story, with the reporter disingenuously seeking to drag the Peoples Democratic Party into the report, and make the party look like an accomplice, in a case it was not even mentioned.
“The truth is that in my reaction to a question from an AFP reporter in a telephone chat on whether the former President knew about the alleged involvement of Cambridge Analytica in the 2015 elections, I had simply responded thus: “All the stories written about the subject so far had all clarified that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was not aware of such attempt, if there were any.”
“Although I was correctly quoted, to the effect that “former President Jonathan was not aware of it”, I consider the attempt to link my response with an orchestrated PDP involvement in the allegation, as simply preposterous. This is because the PDP was neither mentioned in the scandal nor came up in my chat with the reporter. It is instructive that the whistleblower who originated the allegation has been consistent in associating it to an unnamed businessman, who was neither linked to the party nor to the Jonathan campaign. It is therefore deceitful for any pundit to blame the allegation on the PDP or anybody close to the former President, even before investigations were concluded.”