The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has arraigned a university professor, Peter Ogban, who served as a returning officer during the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State.
Ogban, a staff of University of Uyo, in the state capital, was the collation/returning officer for Akwa Ibom North-West National Assembly election and was found to have allegedly engaged in malpractices.
The varsity don was arraigned yesterday on two counts of manipulation and falsification of election results before a State High Court in Ikot Ekpene Division by the electoral umpire.
Ogban was arraigned after allegedly manipulating the scores of two political parties, as well as, falsifying and announcing fake results in Etim Ekpo and Oruk Anam Local Government Areas of the state.
According to INEC, the offences against the don are punishable under Sections 1 and 123, Subsection 4 of the Electoral Act, as amended.
When the matter came up for hearing, counsel to the defendant, Anthony Ekpe, made an oral application for bail on liberal terms for his client and the prosecution counsel, Kpoobari Sigalo, did not oppose the application.
The presiding judge, Justice Augustine Odokwo, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N300,000 and a surety in like sum and held that the surety must show evidence of tax payment in the last three years and adjourned the hearing of the case until December 15.
In his reaction, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, said the arraignment was in line with INEC’s commitment to ensuring the credibility of elections, just as he added that three members of staff of the commission have also been dismissed for electoral offences, and four others were being investigated.