Professor Peter sentenced for manipulating results to favour PDP, not me – Akpabio

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has debunked the allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that Professor Peter Ogban of the University of Calabar was convicted for rigging election in his favour.

Akpabio who termed the assertions by PDP as malicious said he was rather a victim of fraudulent manipulation of the election of Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District held on 23 February 2019.

A High Court in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, had on Thursday, sentenced Ogban to three years in prison for announcing false election results in favour of Akpabio during the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election in 2019.

READ ALSO: UNICAL’s Professor, Peter Ogban sentenced for election fraud

Ogban was the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer for the 2019 Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial election.

The Minister in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Aniete Ekong in Abuja on Saturday also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of twisting the context of the judgement.

The statement reads: “In their desperation in a continuing campaign of calumny against Senator Akpabio, the INEC in Akwa Ibom State twisted the context of the judgment and maliciously claimed that the election was rigged in favour of Senator Akpabio.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts of the case put a lie to this assertion.

“Contrarily, Senator Akpabio was a victim of the fraudulent manipulation of the election of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District held on 23 February 2019.

“Ogban was the Returning Officer who in a bizarre twist to manipulate the election and rig Akpabio out, hijacked the electoral results of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District from Ikot Ekpene, the Senatorial District headquarters to Uyo where it was announced after cancellations of lawfully collated votes and against the dictates of the Electoral Act.

“The question is: who was the beneficiary of the electoral fraud and manipulation in Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District?

“Certainly, not Senator Akpabio, which was why he challenged the outcome of the election up to the Court of Appeal which upheld his appeal and ordered a rerun election with very strong condemnation of the activities of the Returning Officer and INEC. How then could the same man whose actions Senator Akpabio was dissatisfied with and challenged in Court be said to have rigged the election for Akpabio?

“For the avoidance of doubt Ogban never announced Akpabio as the winner of any election.”

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Ogban’s sentencing was an indication that justice would always prevail under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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