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Court sentences University of Uyo professor, Peter Ogban to three years in jail for election rigging


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 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.

Following the court pronouncement on Professor Ogban, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hailed the court for its decision, saying that more riggers will be brought to book.

In a statement by PDP’s publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party commended the judiciary for its courage to stand on the side of the people to jail one of the corrupt returning officers.

The party said the three years jailed term handed to Ogban, is a huge lesson for compromised individuals working for the APC to subvert the will of the people.
“The PDP asserts that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with other corrupt returning officers, including some shameless professors who were heavily bribed and compromised by the APC to alter results and rig it into power at various levels in the 2019 general elections.
“It is shameful that individuals who had attained the peak of enviable career in the academia could submit themselves as willing tools in the hands of a fraudulent, debased and manipulative political party, like the APC, to alter election results and subvert the collective will of the people in the 2019 elections.
“Such individuals can now see the deplorable situation of economic depression, excruciating hardship, terrorism, killings, kidnapping, social and infrastructural decay, which their fraudulent and unpatriotic action has plunged our nation.
“If these unpatriotic elements had not manipulated our electoral process in favour of APC and allowed the will of the people to prevail, our nation would not have found herself in this sorry state.
“Our party holds that this courageous judgment would stand as a deterrent to the compromised returning officers and a signal to the APC that result alterations will have no space in the 2023 general election.
“Ahead of the off season elections as well as the 2023 general elections, the PDP urges Nigerians and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain vigilant as more effort is being made to bring other compromised electoral officers, who brought the present misfortune on our nation, to book,” the statement concluded.



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