The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Akwa Ibom has arraigned another University of Uyo lecturer, Professor Ignatius Uduk, for alleged complicity in electoral fraud during the 2019 polls.
He was a Collation and Returning Officer for the State House of Assembly election in Essien Udim state constituency during the last general election, the second lecturer to be arraigned in court by INEC for electoral fraud in the same election.
The University don appeared on Tuesday before the State High Court, Uyo on a three- count charge of abandoning his assigned duties as the Collation and Returning officer of the State House of Assembly election and unlawfully generating scores and entering same in form EC 8E(II), thereby committing an offence punishable under section122 subsection 1 of the electoral act 2010 as amended.
Again, he was charged for announcing and circulating false and fake election results contrary to and punishable under section 123 subsection 4 of the electoral act 2010 as amended.
He was likewise charged for perjury, lying on oath, contrary to section 119, subsection 1 of the criminal code law, of the laws of Akwa Ibom state 2000.
When the matter came up for hearing, the accused pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge.
Counsel to the accused, Samuel Ndah filed application for bail on behalf of his client, which was opposed by the prosecution counsel, Kpoobari Sigalo.
According to Sigalo, the commission had to opposed the bail application by the defendant due to his questionable character.
Addressing newsmen at the Court premises,INEC lawyer, Sigalo said, “Last time we were befóre this honourable Court and the Court issued a bench warrant against the accused. I am very sure that it is because of the bench warrant that he (accused) filed application for bail.
“So today he actually came to court and took his plea and his counsel has asked for his bail. We actually opposed to that bail application. When we filed our counter affidavit in opposition to the bail as we saw in Court that the matter has been adjourned to 14 December for ruling on that very application.
“The character of the accused person actually prompted us to object his application for bail. This is not the first matter we are prosecuting. The other one we did not oppose to the bail application because the accused person on his own volition came to court.
“Before the last general election, the Commission said it very loud and clear that whosoever that contravenes the electoral act of the 1999 constitution and other guidelines of the electoral process will be severely dealt with”
According to Sigalo, the accused had after the election in a written application, told the Commission that, he did not declare anybody as a winner, only for him to appear at the election tribunal to say otherwise
“And when the commission invited him to come and debrief us, instead of the accused person to just come and debrief us on what happened, he wrote a letter threatening fire and brimstone that if the Commission invites him again to come and explain anything he will proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction. That letter is before the court”, he said.
The presiding Judge, Justice Archibong Archibong adjourned the matter till December 14, 2020 for ruling on the bail application.