What Cambridge Analytica means for Africans: Keep your personal data off the internet- until you are getting paid for it

adebayoalonge argues that Africans need to be more aware about how they generate data online and the ways it is being used against them often for free. He asks for people to demand rights to their data.


 “It’s insane. The company i.e. Cambridge Analytica has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.”

Christopher Wylie, Cambridge Analytica WhistleBlower

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Image Source: Margarita Noriega

As one of the first Africans to use the internet back in 1998, I have seen the internet progress from frontier-like and open one to one chat rooms to consolidated complex data mining social media platforms that sell human data and lives for millions of dollars to politicians and corporations. Unfortunately human users have continued to trust the internet like we did in its early days  forgetting that these platforms are no longer the simple unassuming chat rooms of yesteryears but are now money machines whose goal is to make money by selling all aspects of your private life.

Cambridge Analytica is that English political campaign company that aims to help politicians win elections. They and related companies have worked in Nigeria and Kenya with ruling parties. If they went to such questionable extent to steal Facebook data from Americans to help Trump win, think of what they have done in Africa where there is limited to no data governance and rights.

See the links here for more insights-

  1. In 2014, Nigeria’s ruling APC hired AKPD to lead an information campaign that helped discredit the ruling and incumbent PDP President and led to a landslide win in the 2015 general elections – https://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/2015-elections-apc-hires-foreign-consultant/
  2. In 2009, Nigeria’s then ruling PDP hired Cambridge Analytica  to lead a disinformation campaign at preventing supporters of opposition parties from turning up at the polls. The PDP won that election- https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-20/cambridge-analytica-has-long-history-of-dubious-election-tricks
  3. In  2017, the ruling President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta won his reelection bid by hiring Cambridge Analytica to stoke ethnic tensions and to position him to the youth as a digital president
  4. In 2014, the ruling ANC of South Africa won the general election through the work of the now bankrupt Bell Pottinger. Bell worked to promote racial disunity and position the ANC as the defender of the black majority
  5. Ethiopia has hired Cyberbit an Israeli company in its ongoing campaign against dissidents

How much of your data is out there for free? In what ways is it being used against you?

Continue reading “What Cambridge Analytica means for Africans: Keep your personal data off the internet- until you are getting paid for it”

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USA like Nigeria suffers social inequality & intolerance that festers mass violence

In this article, adebayoalonge argues that widespread access to guns in societies with intense social inequality and intolerance will lead to higher murder rates


February 14, 2018 another high school shooting in the USA. Another mass murder. 19 year old Nikolas Cruz uses an AR-15 assault rifle to kill 17 erstwhile schoolmates in a matter of  minutes.

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Image of the Colt AR-15, a semi-automatic variant of the US military M16 rifle 

January 1, 2018, Fulani herdsmen kill 83 villagers in the middle-belt region of Nigeria. Another massacre using high grade weapons.

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Image of  a herdsman with an AK-47- most common gun in Africa 

These killings occurred in very different countries. Perpetrated by different people with different motives. Yet these violent incidents are not isolated. They have occurred for decades and will recur because they derive from the same festering social structure. There is a strong relationship between the social structure a country engenders and the type and scale of the murders it experiences. This is what makes the USA and Nigeria similar- both societies propagate inequality and social intolerance.

Continue reading “USA like Nigeria suffers social inequality & intolerance that festers mass violence”

Africa is a shithole- Yes or No?

In this article, adebayoalonge argues that Africans should channel their anger against Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment towards remaking their continent


When we lose our ability to be self critical as a race, we lose the self awareness to effect the change we need.

Adebayo Alonge

Image result for trump says africa is a shithole

On Thursday, January 11, 2018 during a meeting on immigration reform, it was alleged that Donald Trump (President of the USA) referred to African, Central American and Caribbean countries as ‘shithole’ countries. There seems to be different interpretations of what was actually said. Taken in context, especially if true that he also inferred a preference for Norwegian immigrants, his statements would come across as very insensitive.But is Africa or most of it a ‘shithole’- yes or no?

Can Africans in the US whose communities and families gave everything to them to enable them study and immigrate to the West and who then decided to stay back look themselves in the face and answer no to this question? Can we with good conscience pretend to ourselves that all our young people who prostitute and enslave themselves through the Sahara and North Africa are not running out of the ‘shithole’ we escaped? What do we say to the ghosts of thousands of Africans killed over the last 60 years with no justice served, did they all die in vain in a ‘shithole’ that has only got worse?

The African millennial has grown up regaled by stories of how local African currencies were stronger than the US dollar at independence in the 1960s. Of how many of its baby boomers rejected US Ivy league college offers because their standard of education was considered inferior to local African universities. Then unlike now there was no point overstaying tourist visas because you made more money working in Africa than in the West. Our parents did not go through the humiliation we face today in Western consulates or have to fast/pray in religious houses like we do today when seeking visas to visit or study in the West. Travelling outside of Africa was not the achievement we wear as laurels today. How far we have fallen!

The African child born today is likely not to live past 55 years while his birthday mate in other parts of the world have a chance of living an additional 30 years after he is dead. Today, the African descendant who studies and works in the US has the better probability of earning more, achieving a more successful career and even becoming president of his African country than his cousin of equal talent who stayed back on the continent. Such tragic outcomes arising because of the misfortune of being sent to the wrong side of the birth roulette.

Source: Max Roser

We know and rest of the world knows that Africa is indeed a ‘shithole’. Trump has only in a matter of fact and very public way said to our face what most of the world says about us behind our backs. Rather than get mad at him, let us get angry enough to remake our continent.

Adebayo Alonge

Let us be brutally honest to ourselves- our shame is apparent to ourselves and to the rest of the world. We know and they know that Africa is indeed a ‘shithole’. Trump has only in a matter of fact and very public way said to our face what most of the world says about us behind our backs. Rather than get mad at him, let us get angry enough to remake our continent to a homeland fit enough for most of our people to want to stay back in. Travelling out of the continent should be for leisure not because we seek a better life. When we achieve this state, we will not be sensitive to condescending remarks. We will not even have the need to validate ourselves by showing skyscraper cities. Having Skyscraper cities is not enough proof against a country not being ‘shithole’. What is the point of skyscraper islands in cities that mostly house citizens in sprawling slums- where foreigners live better than locals who have to eke out hideous lives without the basic infrastructure that was widely available only 50 years ago?

We can only protest this alleged insult but we cannot counter with our own insult that the US is a ‘shithole’. And why not? Because Americans have built community and invested in their country. On the other hand our elite continue to connive with foreigners to loot and cart away communal wealth. And when someone has the nerve to refer to the resulting ‘shitholes’ we have created, we join our thieving leaders to bristle against the most powerful man in the world who wants to hold the truth to us. For all his weaknesses, Africans actually need a leader like Trump. A benevolent strongman who would do anything to protect and help the interests of the ordinary African.

I love Africa and I hope its young people will throw away ‘victimcy’ and embrace the reality of our foot-mat position in the world today. We are not bound by our disadvantaged inheritance (compared to other races) but we can only rise above it when we accept our history, embrace the shame of our collective historical underachievement and determine to come together to effect the tough choices to uplift our communities and win back our honor in the world. China spent 150 years to reverse its oppression, we too can once we accept the reality of our relative underdevelopment. There is no shame to be down, there is only shame when we choose to stay down by denying the facts that stare at us.

Let us accept our responsibility and make Africa great again!

 

 

Stemming Yoruba Decline (II/III): Rise of the Oyos & the end of Yoruba nationhood

The Imperial expansion of the Oyo Yoruba from the 1600s-1800’s destroyed the Yoruba confederacy and ethnic identity. Briefly restored from 1940-1970, the Yorubas experienced major economic gains. Now as Nigeria’s unitary system constrains Yoruba identity, the Yorubas have again entered into modern decline.


 

Africa | His Majesty The Alafin Of Oyo by John Howard Sanden. Painting (Oil on Canvas) || Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III (born 15 October 1938) is the Alaafin, or traditional ruler, of the Yoruba state of Oyo.

Oba Adeyemi III, 43rd Alaafin of Oyo Circa 1970

Oyo’s totems were Jakuta (Thunder) & War (Ogun). The Oyos lived true to their totemic spirits dominating other Yorubas for 200 years with negative implications for Yoruba national identity

Adebayo Alonge (Solutions Ideator)

Oral traditions date the founding of Oyo-Ile to circa 1300 by either Oranyan (citing Oyo sources) or Shango (citing Ife sources). Within a 100 years it would become a formidable inland power extending from modern day Iseyin in Nigeria’s southwest to as far North as the bend of the River Niger where the River Moshi junctions off in Nigeria’s north central region.

Continue reading “Stemming Yoruba Decline (II/III): Rise of the Oyos & the end of Yoruba nationhood”

Biafra: Case for restructuring Nigeria

Ethnic agitations are at the forefront of Nigeria’s public discourse. The Biafra struggle is again taking center stage of global opinion about Nigeria.It will be wise for Nigeria’s elite to heed the reawakened cries of its marginalized underbelly and take steps to seriously restructure its political federation


Flag of Biafra

Map of Biafra

It would be wise for Nigeria’s elite to seriously heed the reawakened cries of its marginalized underbelly. Ethnic agitations will not go away. Give to each people their own- the right to be masters of themselves and directors of their destiny.

Adebayo Alonge (Solutions Ideator)

The Indigenous People of Biafra Movement has captured the attention of debate in Nigeria and is beginning to drive more global attention to separatist agitations in Nigeria.

The Movement wants an Independent Homeland for the Igbo ethnic group outside of the Nigerian country structure.

The case for this echoes back to the mid 1960’s when between 30-60K Igbos (30K alone in September 1966) were killed in Northern Nigeria. Multiple thousands of Northerners were also killed in the Eastern region although this is less often recounted.

Note: There are sensitive images in the rest of this article. Reader discretion advised.

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The Green Book: Eight ‘foundational’ principles for Nigeria’s 3rd generation of political leaders


 

 Nigeria’s 3rd generation now needs to lead from the heart and create a humane nation that works for everyone

Adebayo Alonge

Solutions Ideator

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Image credit: Premiumtimes

Introduction

By 2050, Nigeria will have ~400 million people within its boundaries. It remains a poster child for what Africans are and holds the promise for what the black man can be.

If Nigeria can succeed to create a homeland where being black is not a liability, where the status of the race is improved then the purpose of this book would have been achieved.

The Green Book seeks to ignite consciousness in young Nigerians- over 50 million strong today for what is possible. We can make a nation that works for us where we are loved, protected and supported by our communities. A country where every citizen can aspire and achieve their dreams irrespective of their background.

Continue reading “The Green Book: Eight ‘foundational’ principles for Nigeria’s 3rd generation of political leaders”

RE: “African Democracy: The march of democracy slows”

Africa democracy slows because its nation states are built on unjust entities


Threats to democratic rule in Africa are growing, but time and demography are against the autocrats.

The Economist

africa democracy
Source: http://www.zinoklis.lv

Election irregularities in Zambia follow the typical pattern used across Africa: muzzle the opposition, use state power to harass their supporters, use state institutions that ought to be independent to carry out the bidding of the incumbent political party.

This has been the order of democracy in Africa in the last 50 years leading to alternations between dictatorships and one-party democracies. The seeming reduction in the number of free or partly free countries as against a decade ago seems correlated to reduced commodity prices and stymying of free markets. At the turn of the millennium many African states adopted the free market ideology and this in turn led to new bases of wealth which eventually enabled more people push for changes in the political system.

This cycle of commodity booms and liberalisation going alongside the loosening of the hold that incumbents place on the political system has been a feature of Africa’s recent power dynamic.

What needs to be done to have more stable political systems is to empower state institutions to be independent of the ruling party. The army should be the guarantor of this independence. If there is a role for the international community, it is to hold the army leaders and other power brokers accountable for subverting state institutions.

Ultimately, Africa will only become truly free when it negotiates its ruling elites’ paranoia for unity and control of unjust entities they inherited from abusive colonial powers. Countries across Africa should devolve power to their ethnic nationalities and allow their people determine the path to the future they see independently of powerful and oppressive unitary centres.

This is what Africa’s young people should clamour for- a move away from abusive political systems that currently benefit the old elite who inherited privileges at a time when might was right.