The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday arraigned a Nigerian professor, Ignatius Uduk, accused of election fraud during the 2019 general elections in the state.
Mr Uduk, a professor of Human Kinetics, teaches in the Department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He was an ad hoc official of INEC and the returning officer for the Essien Udim State Constituency election in 2019.
A state High Court judge in Uyo last month issued a warrant of arrest on the professor after he repeatedly failed to appear for the commencement of his trial.
“My Lord, the accused person is in court voluntarily, not on the basis of the arrest warrant,” a lawyer to Mr Uduk told the court on Wednesday, as the professor pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge which includes unlawful generation of election results and lying under oath.
Mr Uduk, wearing a maroon coloured suit, stood in the dock.
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The court room was filled with reporters and other interested members of the public.
On the request of Mr Uduk’s lawyer, the court stood down the case for 30 minutes.
Another professor, Peter Ogban, in the same university, was similarly arraigned for election fraud in November, for allegedly trying to help a former senator, Godswill Akpabio, win re-election.
Mr Akpabio, who is now the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, lost the election to the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Chris Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State.