The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has arraigned a professor at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for electoral fraud.
Peter Ogban, a Professor of Soil Science at the University of Uyo, was on Tuesday arraigned before Justice Augustine Odokwu of the State High Court in Ikot Ekpene, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on a 2-count charge of manipulation and falsification of election results.
Ogban, who served as one of the Collation/Returning Officers during the 2019 general elections, was alleged to have falsified and announced fake results in the Akwa Ibom North-West National Assembly elections.
According to INEC, the offences are contrary to sections 1 and 123, subsection 4 of the Electoral Act, as amended.
He pleaded not guilty to both charges and was granted bail by the presiding judge, Justice Augustine Odokwu, in the sum of N300,000 and a surety in like sum.
Justice Odokwu also ruled that the surety must provide evidence of tax payment in the late three years and adjourned the case to December 15, 2020.
Meanwhile, INEC has announced plans to prosecute another professor from the same university, for falsifying results during the 2019 elections.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the commission’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Odaro Aisien.
Ignatius Uduk, a professor of Human Kinetics at the University of Uyo, who is said to be currently on the run, “declared election results collated not by him, but by undisclosed individuals who only handed them to him to announce.”
“He admitted to this fact in his own handwritten (not typed) statement that he earlier signed, even though he refused to come back to the Commission’s office for further debriefing to ascertain who delivered the prepared election results to him,” the statement read.
INEC noted that in a surprising twist of events, Uduk appeared at the election tribunal and “stood as a witness against the commission, to defend the same election results he did not collate but were given to him by undisclosed persons.”
The commission said the decision to prosecute the erring lecturers was informed by its commitment to ensuring the credibility of elections in the country.
“It is hoped that the arraignment of this calibre of individuals will deter others from reprehensible conduct of this nature and serve as a touchstone for the level of seriousness and integrity expected from personnel who may participate in future elections,” INEC said.
Following the outcome of an investigative panel held in August 2020, INEC established prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminality and manipulation of results against the affected lecturers who served as collation and returning officers.
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