Nigerian elections in 2023: How political parties covertly pay influencers
Yemisi Oyedepo, Fauziyya Tukur, and Chiagozie Nwonwu
Global Disinformation Team for BBC
According to a BBC investigation, political parties in Nigeria are paying social media influencers in secret to promote false information about their rivals in advance of the country’s general elections in February.
The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team has spoken to informants who are employed by two political parties in Nigeria as well as well-known influencers who have called it “an industry.”
According to the informants, parties reward their employees’ efforts with cash payments, expensive gifts, government contracts, and even political posts.
To preserve their anonymity, we gave them new names. Yemi is a well-known political figure, while Godiya is a strategist.
For results, we’ve paid influencers up to 20 million naira ($45,000; £37,000). And we’ve given gifts to folks. Others would rather know: “What do you want to accomplish in government? Are you interested in serving on a board? “Godiya explains.
A leader from one of Nigeria’s parties named Godiya claims that influencers have received payments of up to $45,000 for results.
In the months leading up to an election, situation rooms are frequent.
Political parties use it to strategize, create goals, and assess the performance of their campaigns.
One Facebook influencer with approximately 150,000 followers who wished to remain unnamed revealed to us that political parties pay him to spread utterly bogus information about rival political parties. He claims he doesn’t do it out in the open but instead fabricates stories using other micro-influencers he recruits.
In addition, Rabi’u Biyora, a powerful figure well recognised for his support of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, has a key influence.
He claimed that an opposing party had “wooed” him into endorsing their candidate over the APC’s and promoting their own instead.
Posts on his Facebook timeline demonstrate that he indeed done so. He claimed that he did not accept any type of payment for doing this.