The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Wednesday withdrew as a member of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal. This followed allegations of likelihood of bias levelled against her by the Peoples Democratic Party, and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Altthough, the five-man panel of the tribunal, in a unanimous ruling, dismissed the application on the grounds that the allegations of a likelihood of bias were not established; Bulkachuwa said she was withdrawing for “personal reasons.”
In the application filed on May 16, the petitioners alleged that their petition challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the February 23 poll, would not be handled impartially by the tribunal due to Justice Bulkachuwa’s ties to top members of the APC.
They noted that while Bulkachuwa’s husband, Adamu, is a senator-elect on the platform of the APC, the party whose victory at the February 23 presidential election they are challenging at the tribunal, her son, Aliyu Abubakar, was a governorship aspirant on the platform of the same party in Gombe State.
They also quoted a statement made by Justice Bulkachuwa at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal on May 8 as pre-judging their petition.
Justice Bulkachuwa was quoted as saying in her speech at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal that, “Elections are held in Nigeria, every four years into elective positions. No matter how well the elections are conducted, there are bound to be complaints.”