Delayed tribunal hearing, PDP writes Appeal court president

By Shola Abayomi

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are worried over the slow pace of proceedings at the presidential election petition tribunal, particularly the reluctance of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to appoint replacement for herself on the five-man panel of the Tribunal.

It’s over one week now since Justice Bulkachuwa excused herself from taking part in the proceedings of the Tribunal, having been branded by the opposition party, the PDP, as a sympathiser of All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party.

Having recused herself, Justice Bulkachuwa, who is vested with the power to appoint membership of the Tribunal from amongst the Appeal court Judges, promised to provide a replacement; but she is yet to do so. The PDP is now asking her to speed things up, as the party seems to be gradually depleting the legally approved 180 days within which its petition should be heard and determined.

Lead counsel to PDP and Atiku, Dr. Liy Ozoukwu, confirmed that a letter was delivered to Bulkachuwa’s office on Friday.

Dr. Ozoukwu who spoke to a PUNCH correspondent on the matter was quoted as saying, “I am not aware of any new development. We have not been served with any hearing notice. But we have written to the President of the Court of Appeal to remind her of her promise to bring in a replacement, having recused herself. It is yet to be fulfilled. That is where we are.

“We are waiting to see what will happen, having done that.”

PDP and its candidate in the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku, are challenging the victory of the APC and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, in the February 23 election. Buhari and his party, the APC, are joined with the nation’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, as respondents in the petition.

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