A High Court in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, on Thursday, sentenced Professor Peter Ogban of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) to three years in prison for fraudulent manipulation of election results.
Ogban was the returning officer for the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial election in 2019.
He was also accused of publishing and announcing false results in two Local Government Areas – Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo in the state and prosecuted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court found the academic guilty of altering the results of the election to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Godswill Akpabio, who is now the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, against his main rival, Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a previous court session, Ogban had told the court how the results of the election were falsified to give the APC an unfair advantage over PDP.
At the sentencing on Thursday, Justice Augustine Odokwo, the trial judge, described the case as a novel one, saying there was not much he could do other than to let the law take its course despite the lecturer’s plea for mercy.
He said the prosecution was able to prove its case against Mr Ogban, beyond any reasonable doubt.
Akpabio, who is currently the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, was the APC candidate in the election.
He was seeking a return to the Senate after he defected from the PDP.
The PDP’s candidate, Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor in Akwa Ibom State, defeated Akpabio in the election which was marred by pockets of violence.