Akpabio breaks silence, claims jailed INEC official didn't work for him | Ripples Nigeria
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Akpabio breaks silence, claims jailed INEC official didn’t work for him

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affair, Godswill Akpabio, has debunked the claim that the jailed INEC Electoral Officer, Prof. Peter Ogban, was convicted for rigging election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement released on Saturday in Abuja, by his Chief Press Secretary, Aniete Ekong, Akpabio while reacting to the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that Ogban was working in his favour, said the claim was spurious, unfounded, and malicious.

Ripples Nigeria reported that Ogban, a professor of Soil Science at the University of Calabar was sentenced to three years imprisonment by an Akwa Ibom High Court for electoral fraud.

This was after he was found guilty of fraudulently manipulating the election results of the Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, held on February 23, 2019.

According to the statement, Akpabio who was APC’s candidate at the election seeking re-election to the Senate said he was rather a victim of the fraudulent manipulation of the election results.

“In their desperation in a continuing campaign of calumny against Akpabio, they twisted the context of the judgment and maliciously claimed that the election was rigged in his favour.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, the fact is that the case put a lie to this assertion. Contrarily, Akpabio was a victim of the fraudulent manipulation of the election of Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District held on Feb. 23, 2019.

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“He is vindicated that the perpetrators of the electoral fraud are being brought to justice, at last, the chickens are coming home to roost.

“In that election, Akpabio’s votes totaling about 61,329 scored at his home Local Government Area (LGA)– Essien Udim, having been collated, were not announced by Ogban following the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“Rather, Ogban who served as the Senatorial District Returning Officer joined the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Uyo where the votes and scores of Akpabio were cancelled in various polling units and collation centers of various LGAs constituting Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District,” the statement read.

Akpabio recalled that the National Assembly Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal invalidated the election and ordered a rerun in Essien Udim LGA noting that sentencing Ogban had vindicated him and the APC that the election was massively rigged.

He wondered why he would challenge the outcome of the election up to the Court of Appeal, which upheld his appeal and ordered a rerun of the election if he was a beneficiary of the election fraud.

“For the avoidance of doubt Ogban never announced Akpabio as the winner of any election, instead he cancelled his lawful votes and announced his opponent as the winner of the manipulated election,” the statement noted.

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