Presidential poll tribunal set to replace Bulkachuwa, resumes hearing on Monday

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has scheduled Monday for the resumption of hearing on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The announcement fuel presumptions that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, had appointed another judge to replace on the tribunal panel.

Herald Nigeria gathered that tribunal issued and served the notice for the Monday’s hearing on all parties to the petition on Friday.

Recall that Justice Bulkachuwa withdrew as a member and head of the five-man panel on May 22, following the allegation of likelihood of bias levelled against her by the PDP and Atiku.

The petitioners had based their allegations on the premise that Bulkachuwa’s husband, Adamu Bulkachuwa, is a senator-elect on the platform of the APC, the party whose victory at the February 23 presidential election they are challenging at the tribunal. They added that her son, Aliyu Abubakar, was a governorship aspirant on the platform of the same party in Gombe State.

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They also quoted a statement made by Justice Bulkachuwa at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal on May 8 as pre-judging their petition.

Confirming the development, the leader of the legal team of the PDP and Atiku, Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), said “We were served the notice  today that the court will resume hearing on Monday.”

On whether Justice Bulkachuwa has been replaced, Uzoukwu said, “It is the presumption that we arrived at when we received the hearing notice on Friday. But we do not have any information about it.”

The petitioners had last week wrote to Bulkachuwa to query the delay in appointing a replacement for the tribnal.

The letter read in part, “Considering the strict requirement of keeping to the constitutional calendar for a petition and the obvious fact that time is also running fast against the petitioners, we pray my Lord to act by appointing a replacement so that we will get a hearing notice and continue with the petition in the interest of justice.”

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