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Taking the Voter’s Pulse’ the Media, Artificial Intelligence and Paradox of Innovation in Nigeria

Prendre le pouls des électeurs, les médias, l’intelligence artificielle et le paradoxe de l’innovation au Nigéria
Gideon U. Isika

Résumés

La ligne de démarcation horizontale entre l'homme et la science aurait pu être l'épi-centre de l'enquête dans les années 1950, lorsque l'intelligence artificielle (IA) a soulevé la question suivante : quand est-ce qu'un système conçu par l'homme est "intelligent" ? Depuis lors, des flots de littérature dans le domaine des études de communication saisissant les aspects les plus banals de l'IA en tant qu'outil pour diverses possibilités ont, pour ainsi dire, renforcé le point de vue antérieur défendu par les médias occidentaux sur la nécessité de tirer parti de la communication (TIC) pour accélérer le rythme du développement dans les sociétés, en particulier dans les pays en développement. Bien qu'il ne s'agisse pas ici de surfer sur la vague des avancées technologiques, l'hypothèse implicite jusqu'ici selon laquelle tous les pays du monde sont prêts pour ce décollage, comme le prétendent les partisans du paradigme du développement, n'a pas pris en compte les questions complexes de l'innovation et de la gouvernance. Le Nigéria est l'un de ces pays qui a besoin de redresser les échecs de son processus électoral, toujours enveloppé dans les langes de ses marchands politiques qui ne sont pas prêts à abandonner l'idéologie obscure du "le vainqueur prend tout". Cette étude se concentre sur la manière d'améliorer le processus électoral de la nation grâce à l'IA. Elle soutient également qu'étant donné la nature systémique automatisée de l'IA, ces anomalies seront considérablement réduites. L'inférence causale sera testée par une approche analytique, tandis que le discours sera encadré par la théorie de la diffusion de l'innovation. Sur la base des résultats, des recommandations seront formulées pour résoudre les problèmes susmentionnés.

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Notes de la rédaction

Gufatira ku bitaba amatora, ibimenyeshamakuru n’ubuhinga nyabwonko mu kwiga ingaruka z’impinduka mu gihugu ca Nijeriya

Umurongo uca hagati y’umuntu n’ubumenyi vyobaye imvo y’ubushakashatsi mu myaka ya 50, igihe ivyuma nyabwonko vyatumye ikibazo gikurikira kibazwa : ni kuva ryari icuma cakozwe n’umuntu citwa igifise « ubwenge » ? Niho rero haduka ivyigwa vyinshi mu bushakashatsi bufatiye ku gisata co guhanahana amakuru aho vyaza bifata uruhande uru na ruriya bw’ivyo vyuma nyabwonko « bizi ubwenge », ivyigwa twovuga ko mu nzira zitandukanye vyatsimbataje impengamiro yashikirizwa kandi igaharanirwa n’ibimenyeshamakuru mu bihugu biteye imbere mu vy’ubutunzi, aho vyashira imbere ukuvoma kuri ubwo buhinga ngurukanabumenyi kugira umurindi w’iterambere uvuduke mu bihugu vyose, na cane cane mu bihugu bifatwa nk’ibiri mu nzira y’amajambere. Naho intumbero y’iki cigwa atari ukwerekana iterambere mu buhinga, ukwemeza mu ntamatama gushika ubu ko ibihugu vyose vyoba bigabirije gucakamira ubwo buhinga bwa none, ntikwaravye neza inzitizi zituruka ku mpinduka izanwa n’ibintu bishasha ndetse n’ikibazo c’intwaro ibereye, nkuko abashakashatsi bakurikiranira hafi ingene abantu batera imbere babishikiriza.

Nijeriya ni kimwe mu bihugu tubona vyama biriko birihatira kwisuzuma ngo ntibisubire kugwa mu ngorane kubera amatora, aho bigaragara ko abanyepolitike bataravavanura n’inyigisho ngo « uwatsinze ayora vyose ». Iki cigwa cihatira kumenya icokorwa ngo integuro y’amatora iryohorwe hifashishijwe ubuhinga nyabwonko. Biramaze kugaragara ko utunenge tuzogabanuka bimwe biboneka kubera imero y’ubuhinga nyabwonko idasobwa namba. Ibiharuro bizokwihwezwa n’ivyuma nyabwonko, nayo amajambo abahiganwa bakoresha azokwihwezwa hakurikijwe ivyigwa vyanononsoye ibijanye n’impinduka. Hafatiwe kuvyo icigwa kizoba catoye nk’impengamiro inyuma y’umwihwezo, icigwa kizokwerekana ivyokorwa kugira ibibazo vy’amatora vyavuzwe bitorerwe inyishu.

Amajambo-fatiro : ibimenyeshamakuru, ubuhinga nyabwonko, amatora, ugutora

Texte intégral

Introduction

1It is sometimes argued that the real challenge, as far as Nigeria’s political experience is concerned remains the pretenses and wishful thinking that somehow like a passing phase, whatever is the problem will just fizzle out. It appears to be the sense in which national follies and failures are viewed by the leadership, who are reluctant to correct the nonsensical results of governance that continues to blight the hopes of a better society. There is no doubt that with a thoroughgoing approach to the nation’s electoral process, the frictions associated with elections would reduce and thus provide the necessary systemic balance (Akinjogbin, 1972, p. 21).

2Unfortunately, this clamor for a paradigm shift by ordinary Nigerians has become extremely difficult since electoral outcome have often depended on rigging and manipulations by the electoral umpires themselves. These anomalies, which continue to manifest in repeated questions about the sincerity of the political class to fashion a credible political bequest for upcoming generations of the citizenry is the bone of contention. As Africans, there is this axiom that it is not advisable for one to wash his dirty linings in the public, but that cannot be at the expense of genuine desire to lend a voice to groaning electorates who have severally been denied their rights to choice of leaders in a free and fair election.

3For the reader to appreciate the peculiarity of elections in Nigeria, a glean through Achebe’s (2012), There Was a Country ; a Personal History of Biafra, provides an intriguing and incisive detail on the nation’s electoral trajectory ;

… it was discovered that a courageous English junior civil servant named Harold Smith had been selected by no other than Sir James Robertson to oversee the rigging of Nigeria’s first election so that its compliant friends … would win power, dominate the country and serve British interests after independence. Despite the enticement of riches and bribes (even a knighthood we are told), Smith refused to be part of this electoral hoax to fix Nigeria’s elections, and he swiftly became one of the casualties of this mischief. Smith’s decision was a bold choice that cost him his job, career, and reputation (at least until recently). In a sense, Nigerian independence came with a British governor general in command, and one might say, popular faith in genuine democracy was compromised from its birth. (See pages 50-51)

4Thus, this complexity in the moment of transition at the very height of government might be the fallout of intrigues associated with oil interests at the time between Britain, France, and the United States, which played more important role than the unified Nigerian position perhaps. Be that as it may, with the fast assuming limelight position of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its automated systemic working, it is possible to leverage on AI support systems structure and methods in the delivery of credible elections. Although the use of e-voting is not new to the world, the tendencies that impact negatively on the Nigerian electoral system is what this paper thinks could be avoided, including the stress of manual elections with the possible use of AI approach. Ofoegbu, (2015) shines some light on what should be general norm for an election ;

an unbiased electoral process and outcome that determine citizens’ participation, support and respect-elections becoming a cocktail of intrigues can be readymade portrait of absurdity.

5Also, the trio of (Uche 1998, Eminue 1997, & Kirk-Green, 1995) further harps on what a true reading of a nation’s electoral culture should not represent.

… a struggle among groups jostling for participation, rigging or manipulating the electoral process to advantage, incompatible interests, lack of ideology and vision among political actors and entrenchment of colonial/ antiquated legacy as a finished product….

6With the obvious notoriety that Nigeria’s election handling has assumed, such concerted intelligence mechanism with reduced level of error/ manipulations may be the panacea for the fledging national electoral architecture. It is true there are challenges with AI but it is far much easier compared to the manual system we have. This paper focuses essentially, on the flaws that undermine the essence of elections with inevitable consequences on the body polity. All these are among the problems stimulation our subject of discourse, which the paper seeks to explore seminal contributions on, to enrich enquiries.

Conceptual Issues and realities of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

7The thoughts on machine intelligence might have been an intriguing, yet provoking issue within intellectual circles in the early 1940s or thereabouts. Then, the question could have been : when are non-humans deemed intelligent ? It remained unclear what role non-biological intelligence was going to play, and if it was even a myth or reality. Polosky (2017), notes that throughout modern history, only a limited number of tools were available to take the temperature of human engagements in diverse fields and more often than not, it had been more of instinct rather than insight. In essence, it was the invention of the polygraph (lie dictator) by William Marston and his associates that was a brainwave obviously in this direction that opened the flood of innovations in intelligence gathering.

8Today, non-biological intelligence has proven to be pervasive and with constellation of technologies, including perspectives in robotics, machine learning systems based on statistical techniques that automatically identifies pattern in data are now in use. These machines are now carefully deployed for election campaigns, to engage voters and help them to be more politically alert on current issues. Machine learning algorithms are used to analyze online behaviour, data consumption patterns and unique psychological and behavioural user profiles (Siddharth, 2020).

9Cambridge Analytica (now defunct) rolled out extensive advertising campaign in the Brexit referendum in UK., showing a highly sophisticated micro-targeting operation relying on big data and machine learning to influence people’s emotions. These systems are used to do incredible data operations and predictions that forecasts relatively distant events such as upcoming US congressional debates. It was even touted that AI-powered technologies were used to manipulate citizens in the resent Joe Biden/ Trump 2020 election campaign and some claim these tools were decisive in the outcome of the vote.

10Aside from using intelligent algorithms, autonomous bots have also been used to spread information on a large scale. Bots are automated programs that can be programmed to run certain tasks on the internet. They can detect fake news and misinformation and whenever fake news is detected they could issue warning that the information is incorrect, thereby stopping its circulation. It is, however, not all to advantage, AI can be abused. For instance, some researchers at the University of Washington found that automated swarms of bots were invading social media sites to increase Twitter traffic for candidates against their opponents in elections and that in other cases there were concerns of audio or video generated by AI which shows someone saying or doing something that they did not say or do. They are also threats to core values ; it’s like two sides of the coin.

Theoretical Framework

Diffusion of Innovation, Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971

11 The theory deals with the spread of change messages and studies about it date back to the early 70s. Credited to Rogers and Shoemaker (1971), the theory describes how new ideas, information and culture are passed from people to people or from one geographical area to another. Rogers and Shoemaker, (1971) defines Diffusion as the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels, over time among members of a social system. Diffusion is concerned with the spread of messages that are laden with new ideas. It involves a system of explanation on how freely or rapidly people in a society accept new ideas. Rogers and Shoemaker saw it as a theory that explains the development of nations and spread of different cultures and sees Innovation as an idea, practice, or object perceived as new by an individual or other units of opinion.

12Five characteristics of an innovation determine its rate of adoption by members of a social system. These are : (i) Relative advantage, (ii) compatibility, (iii) complexity, (iv) trial ability (v) observability. It is indisputable that media channels are more effective in creating knowledge of innovations and if the new idea is such that is relevant to the society, the diffusion process will apply to the objectives of change in the following elements :

13The nature of innovation : The new idea should be relevant to the society and serves their needs. It should not be such that goes against their norms, values and system of beliefs.

14Communication channel : The innovator needs to look for the channels of communication that function best in the society where the innovation is being introduced.

15Structures : Innovations require intensive planning for good success.

16Time : It takes time before an idea is accepted and timing if of essence to peoples’ adoption of innovation ideas (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971, p. 76).

17The statement made by McQuail (2006) that sometimes an innovator needs to mature with time from knowledge stage to forming attitude, to adoption or rejection suggests that over several dozens of studies have been conducted in anthropology, sociology, medical sociology, education and marketing on this concept and this makes the reference to the theory in this study salient.

Methods

18Since the thrust of the study is the possible use of AI in the delivery of future elections in Nigeria, the researcher decided to adopt a combination of bibliometric analysis review, and exploratory case study in order to arrive at a workable AI based model or application. It involved the researcher poring over selected publications surfed from the internet for literature used to derive an overview of body of knowledge in the relevant areas of this enquiry. A total of 110 publications exposed to the researcher were assessed using the following criteria : (i) Relevance of literature to subject of enquiry ; (ii) discussions on AI applications, (iii) how result was accepted by opposing parties, (iv) landmark discoveries, (v) depth of research and cultural specificity. Out of this number, the 86 % that met the minimum requirement were considered for analysis.

Literature

Electoral Models and Artificial Intelligence

19Attempts to bring order and meaning to institutions where power is being exercised have long been the focus of enquiry and academic research. Outlines of populist politics and fault lines in ontological engineering, machine-learning prediction models, similar in spirit (but not detail) ; internal and symbolic sounds capture, including AI policing, computer stereotypical knowledge, to mention only a few, are some areas of these studies (Muller 2020, p. 2).

20Western nation’s interest in technology is borne out of awareness that it is the prerequisite for development of which over the period, launched them into the moon. In this twenty-first century technology, the gateway to reach the critical mass at a much faster and convenient pace, has been the result of this ingenuity. The scope of political participation, stymied sometimes deliberately in Africa by lack of information about government activities has increasingly been enhanced. In the United States, distribution of goods and services and delivery of low cost content has dramatically shrunk the space for domestic and international mainstream news about government activities, political developments, and policies. Furthermore, media are recognized as agents capable of instituting a level of consistency and uprightness, and ethical practices needed to transform a society’s social and political orientation (Bennett, 2003 ; Patterson, 2003).

21Artificial Intelligence that came into the fray as an academic discipline in the 1950s is still a model with many of its landmarks in the 1990s and 2000s. AI (machine learning) bestowed elections a new status when the expectation was reaching the voter in the same way political parties meet their candidates in person, which presented more excitements. The undecided that AI exposed has significantly impacted voter awareness and education in the sense that often party agents do the last minute hassles to get their share of this population of voters ; although there remains a yawning gap in some societies where the preponderance of voters are still unwittingly swayed my massive campaigning activities launched by political parties at the last hour, thereby wasting the opportunity of informed choices that influence the overall quality of leadership and governance. Much as this survey does not present as a sad rehearse of human failing with respect to the state of affairs in developing societies, the inextricable reliance on technology did it. This was what Noura Quebral, a scholar from the Philippines and pioneer of development journalist in that country saw as “the delivery of innovation - useful social and economic information to developing masses” (Quebral1973, p. 25).

Politics and Innovation in Nigeria

22 In many respects, the British colonial masters have been blamed for failing to bequeath to Nigeria a value orientation that would provide the necessary impetus for political engineering. What we had was a patchwork of a political system put together in somewhat of a hurry. This strange arrangement left some powerful foot soldiers at the helm of affairs. The ordinary people or the grassroots are often left out in the process of development. The grassroots are not involved in how the country is governed despite that they constitute the bulk of the electorate. They are also disenfranchised in the electoral process and neglected (Isika, 2009).

23 The picture above explains why communities in Nigeria look neglected and abandoned, having very poor infrastructure or none at all. With this scenario, the 36 states without exemption continue to expend state resources in a manner that makes it almost impossible for them to provide basic social amenities. According to the figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics, (2017) :

the average poverty rate in the north is 67.0 percent (Sokoto state has the highest at 81.2 percent), while the south has an average rate of 54.9 percent. Also, the figure of recurrent expenditure from the same source shows expenses in the 2013 budget running into billions- Niger State N71.7 billion for recurrent expenditure as against N21.6 billion for capital ; Kwara state N58.1 billion, N36.3 billion ; Adamawa state N54 billion, N39 billion ; Abia state, N 67.8 billion, N66.3 billion ; Enugu state N45 billion/N37 billion ; and Taraba state with N38.8 billion/N35.5 billion. Other states are not better off, but a few such as Akwa Ibom (82 :18) and Kano (75 :25) have slightly better recurrent/capital expenditure ratios.

24 While releasing this figure in year (2017), the Statistician General of the Federation, Yemi Wale, had noted that : 112.5 million Nigerians or 69 percent of the population lived in relative poverty in 2012, even as the states devoted huge resources to recurrent expenditure. Further to this analysis, the 2013 budget performance did not represent huge difference in capital projects. This calls for soul- searching concerning how public expenditure is handled. The problem has to do with the number of aides the Governors are carrying and the political system that Nigeria is presently having. (Punch editorial comment, (page 21).

25 The Nigerian electorate lack the necessary value orientation. Even with these staggering statistics, any opportunity created for the electorate to exercise what seems an election is seen as an avenue created to use money or any other form of inducement to make them sell their conscience. Unlike what obtains in United States of America and Britain where democratic practices have gained some level of general acceptability, where opinion polls precede actual elections and candidates seeking office are made to articulate programmes and policy thrust of what they have for the people, what obtains in Nigeria is neither a reflection of the present state of the nation’s sophistication nor her laggard status.

26The system of politics in the country is a closed one. The only condition that can bring about a political neophyte breaking through the iron gate of Nigerian politics is to align with such moneybags and this also explains why those in office loot national treasury. Such monies are stashed away waiting to be used in future elections to induce the electorates to vote them back into office.

27 Thus, it is not surprising that after over sixty years of independence, issues such as : ethnic origins, divergences in political philosophy, cultural and traditional disparities, differences in religious orientation, disunity in terms of national consciousness and pursuit of national goals, selfishness and total absence of national planning among several other factors continue to provoke tempers. Worst of it is the character or antecedents of those seeking office. Tosanwumi (2013, p. 7) further explains this point :

It is needless to say that there are no debates. The Nigerian system does not encourage such showcase. Electoral office seekers are selected at party levels and anointed by opportunist leaders especially those in the incumbent government who have all the resources it takes to manipulate such candidates into office. These explain the vicious circle of money driven system that runs in this country.

28 Further to this Afilaka (2008, p. 36), says that ;

starting from the electoral process marred by faulty start, improperly articulated electoral plans, political insecurity, weak political institutions, shallow sense of nationhood, extreme economic dependence, and abuse of power by political leadership, it is not, therefore, surprising that under a system that has turned the political space against opposing ideas, there is little or nothing to offer to the people as development.

29 Some of the criticisms against the media have to do with imbalance in the structure and distribution of mass media and its reportage that tends to be unidirectional. This means that message flow from the government to the people is one way. The question is whether they are doing so much but so little reflects as contents on the pages of newspapers or broadcast news ? The question to ask is ‘what is happening in the rural areas ?’ The contentions here underline the emphasis the media should place on development contents as important index for ascertaining socio-economic and political development. While doing well to stress the importance of the media in ensuring development, the media seems to keep a blind eye to political misgivings and policy summersaults of government, that have resulted in poor governance and un-sustained development.

30In terms of mounting sufficient pressure to ensure the enthronement of probity in public office, the performance of the media falls short of acceptable standard as if they were not the same set of people who fought the military to relinquish their hold on political power. The circumstances of real world situations, call for institutional framework that can ensure a virile policy upon which sustainable development may be realized. To advance the system, the press must ensure that the system is open and transparent, devoid of any form of manipulation and there should not be conditions in which the rules are bent in favour of one against the other. (Akinfeleye, 1995)

31Nigerians are disenchanted over poor performance of past administrations in socio-economic development as well as empowerment. Words of politicians only provide, at best, temporary crowd pleasing and ego satisfaction. The reality of this problem is fundamental because people have lost interest, since governance does not satisfy their aspiration for a better life. Adedeji cited in (Richardson, 1997, p. 294) adds to this : -

many national and international experts see the impediments to sustained economic growth and development in the country as that of leadership and absence of good governance, then with economic plans or reforms. Every plan that has been designed by successive administration has had its good and bad sides. But on the whole, there was no plan that was not capable of moving the country forward considerably rather, it was poor implementation, selfishness, gross misconduct and corruption on the part of those entrusted with the power of state, that have spoilt the chances of such plans to make any big difference.

32Why do some governments promote behaviours that negate social, political and economic development ? Mirsky (1994) ; Fang Lihzi (1996) has an answer to that :

General economic development creates the social space that gives government the breathing room to deliver on its promises. For instance, Fang Lizhi re-iterating on the development of the middle class in social and economic transformation in Taiwan, South Korea, observed that it was the middle class that aided the development of a social structure, independent of the state, which ultimately led to meaningful participation in socio-political process.

33One example was the action of the Greek team in the 2014 world cup in Brazil, where the players turned down their world cup bonuses to raise a training fund for their home football team. The Nigerian team in contrast were not only demanding for increase in bonuses, they even missed a training session to press for that. This goes to explain how the system has affected the morale of the citizens instead of encouraging them. Given the frustration and violence in the country, one is tempted to conclude with Andre (1998) when he says that where the needs of the people are not factored into the system, the government cannot expect anything from the people as well. This is the sad reality in Nigeria today.

34The country is deteriorating and living conditions literally multiplying barefooted masses. In Nigeria, more than 90 percent of the nation’s wealth are in the hands of the ruling class and their cohorts, who live in what Dike (2001, p. 51) has described as “regal splendour”. The rest of the country struggles to survive with little or nothing, while politicians continue to milk the country dry. This scenario leaves us with Richard Paul’s ‘Social Values’ where he asserts that :

general attainment of sustainable socio-economic development is embodied in this envision : a passionate drive for clarity, accuracy and fairness ; a fervour for getting to the bottom of things, to the deepest roots, for listening sympathetically to opposing points of view, compelling drive to seek out evidence and intense aversion to contradiction, sloppy thinking, inconsistent application of standards and rational contents….” (Paul, 1986)

35Meaningful participation in the process of governance also requires appropriate media for public mobilization. Despite the huge capital involvement in setting up publishing companies, some state governments have been unable to articulate the thrust of their political programmes, using the mass media. Due to ownership, they merely enjoy considerable cooperation in media reportage. Stories that tend to portray the government in bad light are avoided.

Challenges in the Existing Electoral System

(i) Size and Population of the country :

36Nigeria occupies an area of 932768 km, (35669 mi) and has a population of 206,139,589 as at Monday, January 11, 2021, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data. This is equivalent of 2.64 % of the total world population. There comes logistics and other supplies issues during elections (National Population Commission (web)).

(ii)Ethnicity and Culture

37As home to over 250 ethnic groups and 520 languages and variety of dialects and culture, this is unsettling, added to its multi-party structure stifling barely existing cohesiveness in ideology and values. Each of the major groups : Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo are at loggerhead. The Efik, Ibibio, Anang, and Ijaw in the southeast, Edo, Urhobo-Isoko and Itshekiri, which constitute the Midwest and Idoma, in North central region make up the ethnic groupings. Cultural affinity cannot be said to exist between the major groups and the minority, a factor stoking disaffections in the polity.

(iii) Inadequate Electoral Planning and Execution

38Electoral outcomes are marred by improper planning starting from enumeration of voters and determination of eligibility. There are issues with card readers responsible for system malfunctioning, ballot papers and manpower distribution.

(iv) Electoral Umpires and the Political Class

39Political actor’s activities during elections typify the riddle of the camel’s head passing through the eyes of the needle. It is generally believed that the political climate is designed to make the electorate poorer so as to make it easier to buy their votes. Some legislators sold their cars, houses and landed properties we are told, so need to recoup their investments.

Results

Summary of Analysis : Selected Publications

40The publications analysed came to 26 % from Asian countries, North and South America, 43 %, Europe, 17 %, Africa, 24 %, and Oceania, 0 %. The study shows very remarkable adoption of AI in most of the articles, cutting across a broad spectrum of interests and perspectives. Specific studies also show increasing uses of AI from the literature of vote analysis and predictions in many of the studies, suggestive of emerging laboratories and researchers. While noting the peculiarities in these algorithms, the researcher’s interests in adopting them - in solving the problems of their studies, show that easier, simpler and precision based apps are more in use.

41Studies from France, Sweden, India, Argentina, American, England, to mention a few, tackled their perdition problems with engines familiar to the area such as SECOFOR(ELF-Aquitaine) and LITHO(schlumberger), Teknowledge, Linne`FLOW KTH mechanics, Se-10044, Robotics (Mark Tegmark9&Francesco fusonerini10), ‘lip-sync’ deepfake algorithm, machine learning ; Big Data analysis and network theory, respectively. In considering Nigeria’s case (recall the background above), two case studies were quite significant -Argentina and India. Irrespective of the finding that algorithms may be biased because of data on which they are trained or because of the low quality data that go into making the app unfair, a combination the two below is suggested for Nigeria’s elections.

Nigeria’s Electoral Model (Argentina and India)

(i). Selected Case Study : Argentina

42Study was carried out by Zhenkum Zhou & Hewnan A. Makse in 2019. AI model used to process millions of messages posted to twitter via machine learning, Big Data analysis and network theory. Accurate predictions were made and valid results obtained in both elections according to findings. The primary election was held on August 19, 2019 predicting large difference win for candidate Alberto Fernandez over President Mauricio Macri. That result was said to have led to a major bond market collapse. For the presidential election proper, on October 27, 2019 it yielded the following results : Fernandez, 47 % Macri, 30.90 % and third party 21.6 %. This result was generally adjudged to be reliable polling. (See arxiv : 1910. //227 (cs. s1).

43Source : 2021 online study of AI in elections

(ii). India

44Study was carried out by Rizwan Shaikh, in 2018. It shows how AI approach was used to overcome electoral campaign challenges due to linguistic differences among Indian communities. India is a multi-linguistic society with over twenty-two different languages, English language and Hindu being the two main official languages. Some Indian states have their own languages and there are hundreds of various dialects. In the study used ‘lip-sync’ deepfake algorithm trained with one campaign message in English, and then fabricated in as many languages and dialects as deemed and spread through social media handle. It was what one of the candidates, Manoj Tiwari deployed to win the municipal election. This was apparently described as the first in Indian politics. Manoj Tiwari targeted his voters through this fabricated messages (that turned out in several dialects), thereby making the campaign seamless. He was able to reach those voters he might not have been able to contact directly because of language barrier, time and distance across the voters. The candidate concluded in excitement that” the genie is out of the bottle, since future elections would now be based on this AI template especially where multiple languages exist”. Fig 1. below represents a linear model of AI use in the study. (see p. 23)

45Source : 2021 online study of AI in elections

46Fig 1

47A linear frame of reference for distribution of innovation messages across voting centers and households.

AI and Future of Elections in Nigeria

48AI has been a useful tool for all kinds of difficult task because of its versatility, speed, and production of results. With the situation in Nigeria where it has become very difficult to break the language barrier and reduce incidence of electoral malpractices, AI steps in with innovation messages, and verifiable truths about a given. A manifesto could be translated into various Nigerian languages and dialects, and then dispatched to distant and far flung areas in real time where they would be useful in mobilization. AI could also be used to fact- check political statements in order to detect lies and misinformation. In most cases, the electorates are fed with blatant lies especially where the embers of distrust are seriously fanned. Another is spreading innovation messages under very challenging and difficult terrains, with insecurity and other ancillary factors affecting the electoral process. Such messages could be channeled through existing state, local government, ward and households (See Table 1).

49The remote areas of the country where development messages hardly get to have been affected the most and they remain the prime target of innovation messages. AI could be used to check the trend of vote buying which is responsible for this vicious circle of poverty. The whole essence is to change the existing thoughts and make the electorate more responsible in casting their votes. Below is a formulated AI process model with end-to-end electoral GIEPMN system for all the polling units.

50Fig. 2. GIEPMN Block Chain Electoral Network Schema

51In the model above, the data manager in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server, is activated for updating campaign messages or election data. The AI Node receives the electoral manifesto or other messages when available from poling units ; arrow from polling units takes messages to the database linked by broken lines representing social media handles. Data including stored results are in a file called historical data. Data is accumulated from the receipts of vote predictions from the electorates. This reflects a new trend whereby election outcomes are based on results from AI. If the model is put into use it will be a big departure from the present system of elections in the country.

TABLE 1. SAMPLE OF STATE, LOCAL GOVT. WARD, AND HOUSEHOLDS DISTRIBUTION IN NIGERIA

STATE

LGA

WARD

NO. OF HHs

NO. OF INDs

Grand Total

339,037

1,782,490

ADAMAWA Total

31,454

164,150

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

BILLE

85

510

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

BORRONG

42

252

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

DEMSA

557

3342

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

DILLI

20

120

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

DONG

733

4398

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

DWAM

14

84

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

GWAMBA

10

60

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

KPASHAM

270

1620

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

MBULA KULI

10

60

ADAMAWA

DEMSA

NASSARAWO DEMSA

27

162

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

BETI

19

91

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

FARANG

35

194

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

FUFORE

558

2139

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

GURIN

56

305

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

PARIYA

442

2234

ADAMAWA

FUFORE

RIBADU

110

381

ADAMAWA

GANYE

GAMU

15

105

ADAMAWA

GANYE

GANYE I

42

250

ADAMAWA

GANYE

GANYE II

53

320

ADAMAWA

GANYE

SANGASUMI

21

198

ADAMAWA

GANYE

SUGU

8

70

ADAMAWA

GIREI

DAKRI

299

1283

ADAMAWA

GIREI

DAMARE

748

3105

ADAMAWA

GIREI

GIREI II

326

1499

ADAMAWA

GIREI

GIREI I

1148

4217

ADAMAWA

GIREI

JERA BAKARI

85

248

ADAMAWA

GIREI

JERA BONYO

219

664

ADAMAWA

GIREI

MODIRE/ VINIKILANG

664

3403

ADAMAWA

GIREI

WURO DOLE

577

1486

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

BOGA/ DINGAI

22

134

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

DUWA

4

38

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GA'ANDA

5

60

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GABUN

23

119

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GARKIDA

36

307

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GOMBI NORTH

105

688

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GOMBI SOUTH

76

598

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

GUYAKU

25

203

ADAMAWA

GOMBI

TAWA

7

50

ADAMAWA

GUYUK

GUYUK

47

227

ADAMAWA

GUYUK

LOKORO

3

16

ADAMAWA

GUYUK

PUROKAYO

4

23

ADAMAWA

HONG

BANGSHIKA

51

280

ADAMAWA

HONG

DAKSIRI

29

157

ADAMAWA

HONG

GARAHA

15

113

ADAMAWA

HONG

GAYA

30

161

ADAMAWA

HONG

HILDI

40

229

Table showing distribution channels for innovation messages in states through wards, units and households.

Conclusion

52In the preceding pages, allusions have been made regarding the intricate relationship between the electoral process and good governance. While the disconnect in this union has often been intentional on the part of political actors to shortchange the electorates, the repercussions on the generality of the people cannot be enumerated. Nigeria’s experience, which provides the bearing for this discourse can be said to be the product of electoral compromises from beginning and misunderstanding based on tribal and religious sentiments.

53Irrespective of the above complexities, it is the contention of the study that with the opportunities icts has ushered in, a credible electoral system is possible. The various AI tools discussed was meant to shine more light on the best possible applications to be used as a model. The choice of Argentina and India from the forensic analysis carried out was because of the obvious similarities in the political character and tempers of elections in the countries.

54Recognizing that almost all the developed societies have long embraced AI, it is not surprising to realize that every part of Africa has not found the need to do so, as evidence from contents of literature interrogated by this researcher corroborates the fact that they were mostly making a case for the use of AI in their various environments instead of showing how it was applied and results realized. This situation, the paper believes, calls for soul searching on the part of the leadership. Conclusively, the media on their part could not make much difference due to underlining imbalance in their structure and distribution. This tended to undermine the need of national cohesion and overall political development of the polity.

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Gideon U. Isika, « Taking the Voter’s Pulse’ the Media, Artificial Intelligence and Paradox of Innovation in Nigeria »Communication, technologies et développement [En ligne], 10 | 2021, mis en ligne le 20 mai 2021, consulté le 25 octobre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/ctd/5624 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/ctd.5624

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Auteur

Gideon U. Isika

Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-uku, Nigeria

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Droits d’auteur

Communication, technologies et développement

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