The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal, to withdraw from the five-member panel of the presidential election petitions tribunal.
In a petition sent to her office, PDP said Bulkachuwa would likely be biased while handling the tribunal’s proceedings.
In the letter signed by Uche Secondus, national chairman of the party, and Umaru Tsauri, national secretary, the party said Bulkachuwa’s husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, contested and won the Bauchi north senatorial district election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the February 23, 2019 poll.
“My Lord, it is no more a secret, that your dear husband, Hon. Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa, contested the February 23, 2019 election for the position of Senator in Bauchi North Senatorial district and won same on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the petition read.
“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 sore source of worry not just for members of our party but to the generality of Nigerians because of your very unique and critical position as the President of the Court of Appeal which is saddled with the sacred responsibility of hearing petitions arising from the presidential election.
“This fear was palpable enough just with you as the President of the Court of Appeal but has now been worsened and compounded by the discovery that you have decided to appoint yourself as chairman of the Panel to hear the petition.
“Furthermore, My Lord, in your address at the opening of the pre-hearing, you made some remarks that were both frightening and heartwarming. For instance, in your opening paragraph you 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…’
“This remark rocked our confidence in a panel led by Your Lordship to determine our fate in an election which could be one of the ones that were very well ‘conducted’ in Your Lordship’s opinion. The question then is how can a petitioner convince Your Lordship otherwise over an election, which in Your Lordship’s opinion, was very well ‘conducted’?
“We are reasoning that, armed with this golden rule of justice and fair hearing and given your direct intimacy, through your dear husband, with the APC, one of the parties in this election 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’s sitting over this particular petition.”
The party said it lacks confidence in Bulkachuwa, saying it would be difficult to convince Nigerians that she is neutral.
“This is the only way you could have divested yourself from all forms of bias and be seen to be fair, both to yourself, our Party, that is contesting against your husband’s party in this petition, and indeed, all Nigerians, who are keenly in the just, transparently impartial and unbiased determination of this Petition over an election which outcome obviously did not respect their wishes as expressed through their votes,” the letter read.
“It is based on the above premises, therefore, that we are constrained to respectfully request Your Lordship to rescue yourself from presiding over and/or sitting as a member of the Panel hearing the instant Petition as it would be impossible for your lordship to convince any reasonable man that your dear husband never discussed this Petition, which he is patiently interested in its outcome with you, throughout the trial.”