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I was a victim of electoral fraud committed by jailed professor -Akpabio

  Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, says Peter Ogban, the professor jailed for manipulating election result in Akwa Ibom st...

 

Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, says Peter Ogban, the professor jailed for manipulating election result in Akwa Ibom state, never worked for him.

 

Reacting to claims associating him with Ogban, Akpabio said he was rather a victim of the fraud committed by the professor in the 2019 Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial election.

 

A high court in Akwa Ibom state had sentenced Ogban from the University of Calabar to three years in prison after he was found guilty of manipulating the election result.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had accused him of rigging the poll as the returning officer to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

But in a statement on Saturday, Akpabio, who was the APC candidate in the election, accused INEC of twisting the case, saying nothing could be further from the truth regarding their submission.

 

The statement issued by Aniete Ekong, his spokesman, read: “Contrarily, Senator Akpabio was a victim of the fraudulent manipulation of the election of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District held on 23rd February 2019. He is vindicated that the perpetrators of the electoral fraud are being brought to justice. At last, the chickens are coming home to roost.

 

“It could be recalled that Sen. Godswill Akpabio had approached the National Assembly Election Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 23, 2019 Senatorial District elections which held in Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.

 

 “Amongst those who were sued was the Returning Officer of Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, Professor Ogban who alongside the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, hijacked the Election Results from the Senatorial District Collation Headquarters, Ikot Ekpene to another Senatorial District at the INEC office in Uyo, where the collated votes of Senator Godswill Akpabio were maliciously and arbitrarily cancelled by the Resident Electoral Commissioner- Mike Igini and Prof Ogban.

 

“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 Senator Akpabio? “For the avoidance of doubt Prof Ogban never announced Senator Akpabio as the winner of any election. Instead he cancelled his lawful votes and announced Senator Akpabio’s opponent as the winner of the manipulated election.

 

“It is the height of mischief for anyone to say that a man who arbitrarily cancelled lawfully collated votes of the APC and announced PDP winner of the election was working for Sen. Akpabio.”