The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Yekini Nabena, has said the court has finally vindicated Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the ruling party by sentencing a professor of Soil Science at the University of Calabar, Peter Ogban, to three-year jail for manipulating the result of Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial election against the party.
The Akwa Ibom State High Court 2 sitting in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area had sentenced one Prof Peter Ogban of the University of Calabar, Cross River State, to three years imprisonment for the electoral fraud he committed during the 2019 elections in the state.
Ogban, a Professor of Soil Physics and Conservation, who acted as the Collation/Returning Officer during the National Assembly election, stood trial on two counts of manipulating and falsifying scores of election results in Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas in favour of the APC.
In his judgment on Thursday, Justice Augustine Odokwo said it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of the charges and accordingly sentenced him to three years imprisonment and a fine of N100,000 for the two counts, respectively.
Reacting to the development via a statement issued on Friday in Abuja and titled ‘PDP’s electoral fraud: Court has vindicated APC, Akpabio – Nabena,’ the party’s spokesman said the Peoples Democratic Party elements who made use of the UNICAL professor to rig out Akpabio as APC’s candidate at the poll should now “berry their heads in shame.”
Nabena said the senatorial election was fraudulently postponed by the returning officer against the wish of the APC and its candidate, while all the complaints made by Akpabio and the ruling were not given attention.
The APC’s spokesman said it is 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, however, condemned the alleged “manipulative strategy” being employed by the PDP and its agents, particularly in Akwa Ibom State, to discredit the APC and Akpabio as a result of the court’s judgment.
He 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 statement read in part, “We celebrate the court’s pronouncement jailing one of the agents of the PDP used against our candidate (Akpabio) in the senatorial election in Akwa Ibom north-west in 2019. We always believe that ‘if a lie goes for 20 years, the truth will meet it one day.’ This judgment is significant in the sense that others like Prof Ogban in the system should henceforth know that under the present Federal Government/APC’s administration, justice will always prevail.”
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