By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The All Progressives Congress claimed Friday, that contrary to all narratives, the jailed UNICAL Professor Peter Ogban was trying to manipulate the election for the PDP and its candidate, Senator Chris Ekpeyong.
News reports said Ogban was trying to help the APC candidate, Godswill Akpabio, who is now the Niger Delta minister.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Yekini Nabena, said the court has finally vindicated Akpabio on the Akwa-Ibom Northwest senatorial election.
Nabena released a statement titled:PDP’s electoral fraud: Court has vindicated APC.
Nabena said those who made use of the UNICAL professor to rig out Akpabio, the APC candidate at the poll, should now “bury their heads in shame.”
The publicity secretary noted that the senatorial election was fraudulently postponed by the returning officer against the wish of the APC and its candidate.
He said all the complaints made by Akpabio and the APC were ignored.
The APC’s spokesman revealed that it was on record that during the election, the minister asked INEC to redeploy the then Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State when he (Akpabio) noticed that the PDP was using some officials of the electoral umpire against him.
Nabena condemned the alleged “manipulative strategy” being employed by the PDP and its agents.
APC called on Nigerians to disregard the alleged attempt by the PDP and its sponsored agents to “misinform the general public on the real issue, the interpretation of the court judgment and the integrity challenge bothering on the PDP.”
The PDP had claimed that Ogban was trying to rig election for Akpabio and APC.
The party commended the judiciary for its courage to stand on the side of the people to jail the professor.
It described Ogban as one of the corrupt returning officers, who connived with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rewrite election results against the PDP in the 2019 general election.
The party said the three year jail term handed to Ogban for manipulating the result of Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial election and attempting to foist the APC and its rejected candidate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on the people, was a huge lesson for compromised individuals working for the APC to subvert the will of the people.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said the long arm of the law would 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 election.
“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 election.
“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,” the party said.
What NAN reported:
A High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom, has sentenced an INEC returning officer, Prof. Peter Ogban, to 36 months imprisonment for election fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Augustine Odokwo, also ordered Ogban to pay a fine of N100, 000 for count 2, which is falsification of result in Etim Ekpo/Oruk Anam collation centre during the 2019 National Assembly election on Feb. 24.
Ogban, who acted as the Collation/Returning Officer in the 2019 National Assembly elections was standing trial for allegedly manipulating and falsifying the scores of election results in Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas.
Justice Odokwo sentenced Ogban after he pleaded for leniency.
He pleaded for leniency on the premise that he has dependents including a 90-year-old mother to take care.
Ogban added that he was a respectable member of his community and a very valuable and sought after lecturer in the department of Soil Science, both in the University of Uyo and Calabar.