Professor Peter Ogban who was sentenced to three years in prison for electoral fraud in March by a High Court in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State has filed an appeal against the court judgement.
The don, who is serving his jail term in Ikot Ekpene Correction Centre in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria’s South-south region, has spent about three months so far in the prison.
The case was prosecuted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court had found Ogban, a professor of soil science at the University of Calabar, guilty of fraudulent manipulation of election results, publishing and announcing of false results during a 2019 senatorial election which was contested by a former Minority Leader of the Nigerian Senate, Godswill Akpabio.
Ogban, 65, was an ad-hoc official of INEC and the returning officer in the election.
He is believed to have worked for Akpabio’s interest in the election, although the former senator disowned him a few days after the court judgement.
Ogban, before he was sentenced, pleaded for mercy. He told the judge, Augustine Odokwo, he had learnt his lesson.
“When next I am given a responsibility, I will be extra careful. All that glitters is not gold. Everyone is a persona. The way they look is not the way they are. I will be very careful in dealing with people,” he had said before the court.
However, in his notice of appeal, he described his sentencing as “unreasonable”.
An affidavit in support of Ogban’s bail application said the professor has been suffering from hypertension and tuberculosis, and that his continuous stay in the prison could worsen his health, as well as get other inmates infected with tuberculosis.
INEC in its counter-affidavit said the professor could not have been suffering tuberculosis and yet he was lecturing in the university before his conviction, and that there was no evidence to show that he transmitted tuberculosis to his students.
“The Federal Correctional Centre in Ikot Ekpene is not ill-equipped and can handle the applicant’s medical needs and has been doing so since he was taken into custody.
“The applicant also has access to his medical officers or other medical officers while serving in the Federal Correctional Centre,” INEC said.
Ogban’s application is expected to be heard on Thursday at the state High Court, Ikot Ekpene.