Nigeria embraced the democratic process of choosing it’s leaders as opposed to the myriads of military coups the had haunted the nation since 1966.
The system of democracy originated from the Greeks and the Romans and it had spread throughout Europe and the Americas over the centuries before reaching the African continent. The beauty of democracy is that it places the power to choose leaders entirely in the hands of the people. This system breeds trust, accoutabilty and reduces instabilty, rancour and conflict that has plagued ancient dynasties.
Juxtaposing democracy with monarchy or military dictatorship, there is no gain saying that democracy favours development, socio-economic growth and public trust in their leaders. Democracy also promotes of the rule of law as opposed to the rule of man or the time of the king.
Although democracy has enshrined in the people the power to select their leaders, it has become pertinent to note that a select few have put it upon themselves to influence the decisions of the masses using shrewed means. They manipulate the minds of the masses into selecting deep pocketed leaders who pay highly for these services. They engage in advanced psycho-scientific methods and digital technology to achieve the ultimate aim of installaling a select choice of leaders through democratic means.
These systems of massive psychological manipulations have proven successful in elections of advanced democracies such as UK, France and the United States.
In a latest development relating to the 2016 US electionsband the emergence of Donald Trump we President, fingers were pointed towards Russia for influencing the outcomes of the presidential elections using distrupive tendencies including cyber attacks and spreading fake news.
In addition to the Russian question and it’s influence on the US elections, a firm known as Cambridge Analytica has been brought into the fray. More disturbing are the revelations made public by its data analysist Christopher Wylie to the effects that Cambridge Analytics stole data of about 50 million Facebook users enabling them to create psychological profiles of 230 million Americans for the purpose of influencing the US Presidential elections in 2016.
As Cambridge Analytica is being investigated in both UK and the US, Christopher Wylie addmited that the firm he worked for delivered the Brexit vote and was also involved in the Nigerian elections of 2007. He said they used the techniques of “informational dominance” which involves spreading rumour, disinformation, fake news and causing dissatisfaction with the government. This was seen largely at play in the 2015 presidential election that saw the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria.
This development casts a huge dent to the 2015 geneielections that was adjudged to be largely free and fair. It also undermines the practice of our democracy as the will of the people appear to have been infringed or subdued by foreign unethical contractors who swing to the whims and caprices of the highest bidder using any means necessary to achieve their aims – either criminal or otherwise.
As Wylie pointed out, developing countries like Nigeria and Kenya were not aware of the intrusion in their elections. All hands therefore need to be on deck to protect the votes and minds of Nigerian voters from foreign manipulators who do not mean well for our country. As we head to polls in 2019 our security apparatus should be beefed up to counter Cyber warfare, fake news and psychological warfare. People or organizations that collided with these organizations should be investigated and brought to justice as a deterrent to those who may wish to collude with foreign agents to undermine our democracy.