Presidential poll: Atiku, PDP ask Justice Bulkachuwa to excuse herself from their petition
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party has asked the chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to excuse herself from the panel heating the petition they filed challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the February 23, 2019, presidential election.
In a letter addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, dated May 8, 2019, the PDP and its presidential candidate stated that on March 7, 2019, court of Appeal panel in suit No: CA/P/EPT/1/2019, led by Justice Abdul Aboki heard an exparte motion seeking to inspect polling materials in the custody of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitioners said they were surprised that the President of the Court of Appeal, on May 8, sat and presided over the five-man panel of the Court which conducted the opening of the pre-hearing session in their petition.
“We are surprised that your Lordship could choose to be part of the panel, talk less of presiding over the petition, which is between our party, the PDP and the All Progressive Party (APC), which members of your family, especially your dear husband and very active members”.
Atiku and his party stated that Justice Bulkachuwa’s husband, Hon. Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa contested the February 23, 2019 election for the PDP position of Bauchi North Senatorial District and won same on the platform of the APC.
“This information is not just in the public domain but has dominated both public and private discussions to the extent that it has become a source of worry, not just to members of our party, but to the generality of Nigerians because of your unique and critical position as the President of the Court of Appeal, which is saddled with the sacred responsibility of hearing petition arising from the Presidential election.
“This fear was palpable enough, not just with you as Appeal Court President, but has now been worsened and compounded by the discovery that you have decided to a point yourself as the chairman of the panel to hear the petition”, the letter signed by the national chairman of the PD, Prince Uche Secondus and the national secretary of the PDP, Sen. Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri stated.
They held that Bulkachuwa, in her inaugural address made some remarks that are both frightening and heartwarming, when she said that, “Elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted, there are bound to be complaints”.
This remark, they said rocked their confidence in the panel led by Bulkachuwa to determine their fate in an election, which could be one of the ones that were very well conducted l, in her opinion.
“Given your direct intimacy through your husband, with the APC, one of the parties in the petition, your Lordship would have exercised your constitutional right and powers guardedly, judiciously and judicially by excluding yourself from the panel of this honourable court sitting over this particular petition”, the PDP stated.