Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal: Garba Replaces Bulkachuwa

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa

 

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal commenced sitting on Monday with Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba as the new replacement for Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.

Garuba, who is the Presiding Justice of the Lagos Division appeared during the sitting with a five-man panel as the new chairman of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

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In his welcome address, the new chairman of the panel said what he intends to do is a call over of the petitions to enable the tribunal to schedule them for hearing because he is just joining the panel.

He called for the cooperation of the parties as it is time bound and the time is already halfway and there is need to prudently ensure the cases are heard.

He added that he will do everything to expeditiously hear the petitions in line with the laid down laws.

Justice Bulkachuwa on Wednesday, May 22, withdrew from the tribunal for personal reasons after it dismissed an application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, asking her to recuse herself from the tribunal.

Atiku’s Legal Team Asks Justice Bulkachuwa To Appoint Replacement At Tribunal

 

The legal team of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has asked the President of the Court of Appeal to appoint a replacement for the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

A member of the team, Silas Onu, made the request in a letter dated May 31, 2019, and addressed to the Appeal Court President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.

Channels Television obtained a stamped copy of the letter which was received by the Presidents Chamber of the Court of Appeal, Abuja.


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Mr Onu, on behalf of the legal team, reminded Justice Bulkachuwa that it has been nine days (at the date of the letter) since she recused herself from the panel of the Tribunal.

He, however, noted that nothing had been heard since the judge took the decision.

The lawyer explained that the letter became necessary considering the “strict requirements of keeping to the constitutional calendar of an election petition”.

He added that it was obvious that time was running out fast against the petitioners.

Mr Onu, therefore, urged the Appeal Court President to appoint a replacement, so that they can get ahead with the hearing of the petition.

Former Vice President Abubakar and the PDP had filed petitions at the Tribunal to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 Presidential Election.

They had filed a suit asking Justice Bulkachuwa, who led the panel of judges, to withdraw from the Tribunal because her husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, was elected as a senator on the platform of the APC which was involved in the petition.

On May 22, Justice Bulkachuwa recused herself from heading the Presidential Election Tribunal.

She took the decision after Justice Peter Ige held that there were not enough materials before the court to show that the judge would be biased in the hearing and the decisions at the Tribunal.

Read the letter below:

Tribunal Adjourns Hearing Suits Challenging Buhari’s Victory

 

The chairman of the Tribunal and President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has adjourned hearing all applications emanating from the Hope Democratic Party’s petition and others challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential election.

Hope Democratic Party (HDP) had earlier filed a motion seeking an order of the presidential election tribunal restraining President Muhammadu Buhari from presenting himself to be sworn-in on May 29th, 2019.

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The party is also seeking an order restraining the Chief Justice of Nigeria from swearing-in, administering the oath of office and oath of allegiance to the president on May 29th, 2019.

The Hope Democratic Party claimed that inspite of the pendency of the legal action against President Buhari, he has been making frantic efforts and preparation for his inauguration on May 29, 2019, by the CJN.

The Hope Democratic Party also said the petition has been served on President Buhari and pleadings have been exchanged.

Although, the petitioner said it has announced the application, the respondent including counsels to President Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said they have not been served with the motion.

In response, counsel to INEC asked the tribunal to award a cost of N1million against the petitioner – Hope Democratic Party.

On his part counsel to President Buhari, Mr Wole Olanipekun did not ask for cost but however said he needs time to go through the application.

He also told the tribunal that he has an application on behalf of the president seeking to dismiss the petition of the Hope Democratic Party.

Counsel to President Buhari, Mr Wole Olanipekun notified the tribunal of an application he filed seeking the dismissal of the petition of the Hope Democratic Party.

Counsel to the Hope Democratic Party, Mr Oliver Enya in his reply told the tribunal that he will be objecting to the application because it touches on facts that are in the substantive suit.

The tribunal, therefore, said it will longer hear the application to stop the President’s inauguration because parties have not been served.

The tribunal then adjourned hearing to May 22.

Other petitions challenging Buhari’s victory are filed by other political parties. They include the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

PDP Asks Justice Bulkachuwa To Withdraw From Presidential Election Tribunal

Withdraw From Presidential Election Tribunal, PDP Tells Justice Bulkachuwa
A file photo of PDP National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to recuse herself from the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

It made the request in a petition dated May 8 and jointly signed by its National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus, and its National Secretary, Senator Umaru Tsauri.

An acknowledged copy of the petition sent to Channels Television revealed that it was received at the office of the Court of Appeal President in Abuja on Thursday.

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The main opposition party explained that its decision to ask Justice Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the panel was because of alleged connection with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

It said it was worried about the manner in which the proceedings of the Tribunal would be handled under the leadership of the Appeal Court President.

The PDP noted that the judge’s husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, contested the Bauchi North Senatorial District election in February and won on the platform of the APC.

It added that when its ex parte application seeking the leave and the order of the court to inspect the materials used for the February 23 elections came up on March 7, it was heard by a panel led by Justice Abdu Aboki.

The party said while there was no reason to complain about the composition of the panel, it was surprised to note that Justice Bulkachuwa sat and presided over the five-man panel of the court which conducted the opening of the pre-hearing session in it petition on Wednesday.

It further expressed concern about some comments allegedly made by the judge during the inaugural sitting.

The PDP, therefore, raised an alarm of alleged possible bias and asked Justice Bulkachuwa to withdraw from the panel of the court sitting over its petition.

The opposition party’s application at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal one is among others filed to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the February 23 polls.

Read the PDP’s petition against the Appeal Court President below:

Senate Confirms Zainab Bulkachuwa As Appeal Court President

zainab bulkachukwuThe Senate has cleared Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the President of the Appeal Court.

Justice Bulkachuwa was screened by federal lawmakers before the confirmation of her appointment.

While answering questions from lawmakers, Justice Bulkachuwa blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission for the delay in dispensation of justice on election petitions saying the commission always delays in providing the court with necessary election documents.

She also blamed incidents of conflicting court judgments on poor funding, saying judges do not have a conducive environment to work.

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa was born in March 1950 and was called to the Bar in 1976. She was elevated to the Appeal Court in 1998, representing Gombe State.

She had worked as a judge in the High Court of Bauchi State and served as the Chief Judge of Gombe State.

Some of the celebrated matters she had handled include the Sokoto State governorship election petition of 2007 and the case instituted by former Governor Timipre Sylva last year to challenge the nomination of Seriake Dickson as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

She was the Presiding Judge of the Abuja division of the court and has seven years left in office. 

 

Jonathan Nominates Zainab Bulkachawa As Court of Appeal President

bukalchawaPresident Goodluck Jonathan has nominated Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as President of the Court of Appeal, pending the confirmation of the senate.

In a letter sent to the Senate and read by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, President Jonathan requested the Senate to approve the appointment in conformity with Section 238 Sub-section 1 of the 1999 constitution.

Her nomination follows the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and must be confirmed by the Senate before the judge can be sworn-in.

Mrs Bulkachuwa was born in March 1950 and represents Gombe State at the Appeal Court. She was called to the Bar in 1976, and elevated to the Appeal Court in 1998.

Before then, she served as a judge in the High Court of Bauchi State and was at a time the Chief Judge of Gombe State.

High profile cases handled by Justice Bukalchawa include the Sokoto State governorship election petition of 2007 and the case instituted by former Governor Timipre Sylva last year to challenge the nomination of Seriake Dickson as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

Prior to her appointment as President, she was the Presiding Judge of the Abuja division of the court.

She is due to retire in 2020, the court says.