A Nigerian professor of soil science at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, who was arraigned last year by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for election fraud in Akwa Ibom State, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment by Justice Augustine Odokwo of Akwa Ibom High Court.
Professor Peter Ogban had pleaded not guilty to the charges of forging and announcing fake results for 2019 Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District election in Etim Ekpo, Oruk Anam Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State, by adding 5000 votes for APC and reducing PDP’s 5000.
When the electoral body arraigned him last year, it said Professor Ogban who was the returning officer, “altered already-declared results at Polling Units and collated Ward results in Form EC8B delivered to him by Ward Collation Officers.
“He changed the outcome of the election by reducing the score of a leading candidate by a huge five thousand (5,000) votes and increasing the losing candidate’s score by the same margin without altering the overall total valid votes cast to avoid detection.
“Unfortunately for him, there is no perfect crime as the early information trigger tracking system of the Electoral Operation Support Centre (EOSC), fully activated throughout the period of the election, exposed him,” the election commission said.
The professor attempted to rig the 2019 Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District election in favour of the former senator, Godswill Akpabio, of the All Progressives Congress. Akpabio lost the election to the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Chris Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State.
While INEC during Ogban’s arraignment did not mention Akpabio by name, it was clear they were referring to the former Senate Minority leader who is now the minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
The election commission at Ogban’s arraignment said it was unimaginable to have a university professor, who ought to be a role model, involved in election fraud.