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Atiku speaks on Justice Bulkachuwa’s withdrawal from Presidential Tribunal

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has explained why he demanded the resignation of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the President of the Court of Appeal, from the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

Atiku noted that his “legal team’s objection was not a reflection on Justice Bulkachuwa’s character or competence.”

He further noted that he had great respect for her as an advocate for gender equality in Nigeria.

“As a matter of fact, I have great respect for her, being a pioneer and advocate for gender equality and female empowerment,” Atiku added.

He also commended her for her action, saying that she showed courage and patriotism.

Her action showed courage and is an act of patriotism. She has, by this action, increased the confidence the public have for the judiciary,” Atiku said.

The PDP had ahead of the hearing at the tribunal demanded Justice Bulkachuwa’s withdrawal from the five-man panel which she presided over.

The opposition party cited the relationship between the judge and her family who are chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as enough reasons why she should withdraw.

Mr. Adamu Bulkachuwa, her husband, is a senator-elect under the APC platform, while her son, Aliyu Abubakar, contested the Gombe State APC Governorship primaries in 2018 and campaigned for Buhari ahead of the general election.

Following the demand for her withdrawal from the PEPT, Justice Bulkachuwa recued herself on Wednesday despite a unanimous ruling by the judges in the panel that the party’s reason for demanding her withdrawal was not weighty enough.

Naija Buzz on Wednesday published details of the hearing where she decided to step-down on personal grounds.

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa

Atiku is the main challenger of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC at the PEPT. He had rejected the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the February 23 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to Atiku, he actually won the election based on the results he obtained from INEC server.

INEC had however denied the server results, saying that Atiku’s alleged results were fake because the election was manually collated and not transmitted electronically.

Read Atiku’s statement released this morning;

One of the principal maxims of the Common Law is nemo judex in causa sua (no man shall be a judge in his own case). The call by my legal team for Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was predicated on this principle, being that her husband, Alhaji Mohammed Bulkachuwa, is an All Progressives Congress Senator-elect and the case she was expected to adjudicate upon had a bearing on that party.

My legal team’s objection was not a reflection on Justice Bulkachuwa’s character or competence. As a matter of fact, I have great respect for her, being a pioneer and advocate for gender equality and female empowerment.

It is with this in mind that I commend Justice Bulkachuwa for recusing herself from the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal Panel hearing my petition against the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari.

Her action showed courage and is an act of patriotism. She has, by this action, increased the confidence the public have for the judiciary.

Not only do I commend her, I also pray, especially in this holy month of Ramadan, that Justice will be done by the tribunal according to the fear of God and not in keeping with respect for the powers that be.

May God bless the judiciary and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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