The All Progressives Congress said the revelation about operations of the data analysis firm, Cambridge Analytica, especially the role it played in the lead up to Nigeria’s 2015 elections, confirmed what it had suspected about the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said this in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH in Abuja on Friday.
The Guardian of London had reported that Israelis hacked President Muhammadu Buhari’s email in 2015 and gave the materials to Cambridge Analytica.
According to the report, it was part of plans of the PDP to influence the 2015 elections.
Abdullahi, in his response, said the APC had suspected all along that the then-ruling party was so desperate but that it didn’t know the PDP could descend to the level of compromising national security in a bid to achieve its aim.
The APC spokesman explained that the revelation had now exposed those who were really behind the ethno-religious divisions introduced into Nigeria’s political space during the “historic” elections.
According to him, had this information not been made public, the PDP would continue to blame others for a problem it created.
Abdullahi said, “For us, what it demonstrates is what we had said and the PDP has continued to deny all along that it introduced a dimension to Nigerian politics in 2015 that we have never seen before.
“The level of desperation that made it possible for them to undermine the security of individuals and the country by bringing in mercenaries to hack into people’s private e-mails and use this information as a weapon to divide Nigeria.
“It is now clear that when they said the country is now more divided more than ever before, it clearly shows where it started from and who to be held responsible for weaponising disinformation along ethnic and religious lines and actually tried to use it to win elections.
“If this Cambridge Analytica report hadn’t come out, the PDP would continue to bury its head in the sand and continue to blame other people for what they were responsible for.
“Now, it is beyond doubt that it was the PDP that orchestrated the division of this country along ethnic and religious lines because they used disinformation as a weapon of war to try to win the 2015 elections.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party, Alhaji Yunusa Tanko, said the desperation exhibited during the 2015 elections was a sad commentary on Nigeria.
Speaking specifically about revelations on the Cambridge Analytica, he said, “This whole thing is not healthy for our democracy.
“We have the Freedom of Information Act, which gives every citizen the right to demand information which is in the public interest; for anybody to resort to desperate methods of obtaining information, especially of a personal nature, it has gone to the level of criminality which should not be tolerated.
“I find it reprehensible when people start to hack into the personal e-mails of individuals and organisations to get information in order to damage an opponent; that is not politics.
“I remember when (ex-US President) Barack Obama came out clearly to forbid his campaign team from going after the family of his opponent before and during his campaign.
“The way the 2015 campaigns were carried out, with all the campaigns of calumny, was in bad taste; campaigns should be focused on what candidates have to offer the people. I pray we never degenerate to that level ever again.”