By Editor

Barely 24 hours after Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa withdrew from the Presidential Election Tribunal, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has explained his decision to request that she quits the tribunal.

The tribunal is sitting on Abubakar’s suit challenging the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari’s February 23 election victory.
Justice Bulkachuwa, on Wednesday, said she was recusing herself from the tribunal proceedings for personal reasons.
Atiku and his party, PDP asked Mrs Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the five-member panel she headed. They based their demand on Mrs Bulkachuwa’s relationship with an APC leader. Her husband is a Bauchi senator-elect on the APC platform.
On Wednesday, the tribunal ruled against Mr Abubakar and the PDP. It said both parties could not prove the possibility of bias against the judge and that Mrs Bulkachuwa’s husband was not a party to the suit.
In a statement on Thursday, Mr Abubakar said his “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,” he said.
Read Mr Abubakar’s full statement below.
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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