The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has arraigned Prof Peter Ogban before a High Court in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
The professor of soil science pleaded not guilty to election fraud charges following his arraignment on Tuesday, INEC said in a statement signed by Odaro Aisien.
Ogban is accused of trying to rig the 2019 Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District election which had as two major contenders Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress and Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Akpabio who is now the Minster of Niger Delta Affairs lost the election to Ekpenyong.
INEC said Ogban’s colleague Prof Ignatius Uduk ought to have been arraigned as well, but that “he appears to be on the run”.
The election body said Ogban “altered already-declared results at Polling Units and collated Ward results in Form EC8B delivered to him by Ward Collation Officers.”
It also said: “He changed the outcome of the election by reducing the score of a leading candidate by a huge five thousand (5,000) votes and increasing the losing candidate’s score by the same margin without altering the overall total valid votes cast to avoid detection.”
“It is hoped that the arraignment of this calibre of individuals will deter others from reprehensible conduct of this nature and serve as a touchstone for the level of seriousness and integrity expected from personnel who may participate in future elections,” the statement added.