The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar have filed an application asking Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the presidential election tribunal hearing their petition, against the election of President Muhammadu Buahri.
A motion filed by one Emmanuel Agbo, Atiku and the PDP has asked for an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.
The grounds for the appeal include that Justice Bulkachuwa is the wife of Mr Adamu Bulkachuwa a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress and Senator-elect for Bauchi north senatorial district which is a political party involved in the suit.
They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.
It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.
They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said ‘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’
The PDP and Atiku says that by making this remark, it would appear that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has already prejudged the presidential election as well conducted and that their petition is one of such complaints that come up ‘no matter how well the election is conducted’’
The PDP said that justice must not only be said to be done but must be manifestly seen to have been done.
On the issues to be determined by the court, the PDP asked the court if with regards to the case in question the said facts have not raised the likelihood of bias against Justice Bulakchuwa making the judge liable to recuse herself from further proceedings of the court .
The petitioners concluded by saying that “it is respectfully submitted that considering the entire peculiar circumstances of this case, it is just and proper in the interest of justice and fair hearing for justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the hearing and determination of the petition”.
The motion was filed on the 16th of may 2019 as promised by lead counsel to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Levi Uzoukwu and will be heard on the 22nd of May 2019.