AN Akwa Ibom High Court Thursday sentenced a professor of Soil Science at the University of Calabar, Peter Ogban, to three years in prison, after being found guilty of fraudulent manipulation of election results, publishing and announcing of false results.
In addition to the jail term, Prof Ogban, who served as returning officer in the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district, was also fined N100,000.
Prof Ogban was charged to court for manipulating the election results of two local government areas – Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo.
Ogban had in the course of his trial admitted to the court how he falsified the results of the election to give the All Progressives Congress (APC) advantage over its main rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He testified that he added some 5,000 fake votes to APC’s score in Oruk Anam, in the election in which Godswill Akpabio, the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, was the APC candidate.
Ogban, who was prosecuted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the case, pleaded for mercy from the presiding judge, Justice Augustine Odokwo, before he was sentenced.
Justice Odokwo, who described the case as a novel one, told the lecturer that there was not much he could do other than to let the law take its course. He said the prosecution was able to prove its case against Prof Ogban beyond all reasonable doubts.
In a similar case, another university don, Ignatius Uduk, a professor of Human Kinetics in the Department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, has also been charged for election fraud in Akwa Ibom State.
Prof Uduk is accused of unlawful generation of election results in favour of PDP in Essien Udim State Constituency election in 2019 and lying under oath. Prof Uduk was remanded in custody in December after the court issued a warrant of arrest on him.