Following weeks of controversy surrounding an allegation of bias, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Wednesday, withdrew as a member of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar had filed a petition urging Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the proceedings of the presidential election petition tribunal on the grounds that she is related to members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At Wednesday’s sitting of the tribunal, Justice Bulkachuwa announced that she was withdrawing from the five-man panel for “personal reasons” even though the tribunal held that PDP’s petition lacked merit.
Justice Olabisi Ige, who read the lead ruling of the panel, held that the relationship between Justice Bulkachuwa and her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, who is a senator-elect, and her son Aliyu Abubakar, a governorship aspirant, both on the platform of the APC, was not weighty enough to infer that she would be biased in her handling of the proceedings of the panel.
All the members of the panel, including Justice Bulkachuwa, agreed with the lead ruling.
Punch reports that Justice Bulkachuwa expressed her joy that the matter had been settled “based on facts and the law” so that “another female judge will no longer have to face what I have faced.”
The Court of Appeal President also noted that a new presiding Justice would be appointed for the panel, but that the four remaining members of the panel would continue with the hearing of the preliminary applications pending the appointment of the new head of the panel.
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