The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal continues hearing today, Wednesday, May 22. Atiku and his party are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the February 23 presidential poll. INEC had declared President Buhari the winner of the 2019 presidential election.
According to the electoral body, Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku who polled 11,262,978 to lose the election with a margin of 3,928,869 votes. However, Atiku and his party claimed they won the election, citing a presidential election result allegedly gotten from INEC’s server. Atiku claimed he scored 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari whom he claimed scored 16,741,430 votes.
Meanwhile, the tribunal’s Wednesday sitting is scheduled to hear an application by Atiku and the PDP for the disqualification of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, as a member and head of the five-man tribunal. They alleged that Justice Bulkachuwa would likely be biased against them in her handling of the hearing of their case due to her alleged family ties to top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They alleged that her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, won the Bauchi North senatorial election on the platform of the APC. They also added in their motion that her biological son, Aliyu Abubakar, was not only a card-carrying member of the APC, but also contested the Gombe state APC governorship primary election.
Tribunal resumes hearing 2:59pm
At the resumption of the hearing, lawyer to APC, Lateef Fagbemi said this is not the first time in the history of the judiciary that a judicial officer will be asked to recuse himself/herself on the basis of bias. “This is not the first time this is happening.
Just recently, Justice Oyewole, whose immortal contribution was acknowledged by the counsel for the applicants a while ago, was written against not to be allowed to sit on the appeal panel on the Osun state governorship election petition. “As vague as the ‘likelihood of bias’ is, it has its own boundaries. “The exhortation in all the authorities that have been cited, recognize that each case will have to be dealt with on its own merit,” he said.
He said the matter before the court has nothing to do with governorship or National Assembly elections. He also noted that whatever the constitution of a political party is, it is the constitution of the country that is supreme. According to the lawyer, nowhere in the Nigerian Constitution that the President is allowed to remove a governor or a member of the National Assembly.
“My conclusion, with respect, is that the application is blackmail. On the facts and the law, the application is most unmeritorious. “But, with respect, next year, your lordship, the President of the Court of Appeal, will be bowing out gloriously by God’s grace. “Your name, either the one you acquired before you got married or the one you acquired after you got married, none is for you alone.
You hold them in trust and you have been blessed being the first female President of the Court of Appeal in Nigeria. “My lord, your youthful look may confuse one. You are old enough to be my mother. My lord, you standing in as my parent, I will say, ‘Mum, leave the matter,” the lawyer concluded.