By Ayo Kehinde
The Peoples Democratic Party may have its way to get President of the Court of Appeal and chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to recuse herself as a member of the tribunal following her disclosure on Wednesday at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing, that since the party’s complaint was already in the public domain, it should be handled legally.
At the resumed hearing of the case counsel to the petitioner, Dr Livy Ozuokwu asked the tribunal for 10minutes stand down and the court granted his request to file the application tomorrow, Thursday.
Justice Bulkachuwa disclosed that the lead counsel of the petitioner, Uzoukwu had asked her to withdraw from the case in line with a previous complaint contained in a formal letter written by Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus alleging likely partiality on her part because of her closeness with the All Progressives Congress as her husband is a Senator-elect on the platform of the party for Bauchi North Senatorial District. She is also accused of have made compromising statements following an earlier comment by her that politicians would always complain about election outcomes.
The court therefore asked the petitioner and Presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to file a formal application asking Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to withdraw as a member of the tribunal.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), representing President Muhammadu Buhari, Yunus Usman (SAN) representing the Independent National Electoral Commission,and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) representing the All Progressives Congress,requested to be given time to respond.
She then adjourned till May 22 for the hearing of the petitioners’ application.