The Peoples Democratic Party has asked the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to step aside from the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
The PDP said this in a protest letter on the matter.
Justice Bulkachuwa, as the President of the Court of Appeal is to preside over the five-member panel that will sit over the petition arising from the February 23, 2019 presidential election, with the case by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, being one of them.
Abubakar is challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The PDP, in the protest letter, highlighted the possibility of partisanship on the part of the President of the Court of Appeal because her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, is a card-carrying member of the APC.
The party added that Justice Bulkachuwa’s husband is also a senator-elect, a development it said could likely affect the outcome of the case.
The party, in the protest letter signed by its National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and National Secretary, Umaru Tsauri, said: “On March 7, 2019, when our ex parte application in Suit No. CA/A/P/EPT/1/2019 seeking the leave and the order of this honourable court for us to inspect polling materials in the custody of the 1st respondent (INEC) used for the election of February 23, 2019, came up, it was heard by a panel of this honourable court led by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki. We did not complain as there was no reason for us to do so.
“However, we were totally nonplussed, jolted and extremely surprised today, May 8, 2019, when Your Lordship sat and presided over the five-man panel of the court which conducted the opening of the pre-hearing session in our petition.
“We were 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 APC, a party which members of your family, especially your dear husband, are very active members.
“My Lord, it is no more a secret, that your dear husband, Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa, contested the February 23, 2019 election for the position of a Senator in Bauchi North senatorial District and won same on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
“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, not just to 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 the chairman of the panel to hear the petition.”