The President Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has withdrawn from the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT).
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had written a petition against the continued presence of Bulkachuwa on the PEPT alleging likelihood of bias against the petition.
The five-man panel of judges in a lead ruling read by Justice Olabisi Ige had dismissed the application by Abubakar and PDP noting that there is no evidence of bias against the petition before the tribunal by Bulkachuwa.
According to Ige the relationship between Justice Bulkachuwa and her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, who is a senator-elect, and her son Aliyu Abubakar, a governorship aspirant, both on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, was not weighty enough to conclude that Justice Bulkachuwa would be biased in her handling of the proceedings of the panel.
On the allegation that her comments during the inaugural sitting of PEPT had indicated how she would handle the petition, Justice Ige also ruled that no inference of likelihood of bias could be inferred from the speech delivered by Justice Bulkachuwa.
Bulkachuwa, however, shocked everybody when after the ruling she announced: “I am recusing myself from the panel for personal reasons.”
According to her, she was happy that the petition against her has now been settled in law and precedent set so that a female judge would not be subjected to similar allegations levelled against her.
Bulkachuwa who said the four other panel members would continue with the hearing of the petition disclosed that a new presiding judge would be appointed.