The Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday, told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja that he was not aware that Aliyu Haidar Abubakar, biological son of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, campaigned for him during the electioneering period.
According to the President, he only got to know that Abubakar was his supporter after he read a copy of the motion the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Igbere TV recalls that the PDP and Atiku had filed the motion to disqualify Justice Bulkachuwa from presiding over the five-man panel tribunal that is hearing petitions challenging the declaration that he won the February 23 presidential election.
Buhari, who is the 2nd Respondent in Atiku and PDP’s petition marked CA/PEPT/02/19, claimed that his attention was further drawn to exhibits that contained newspaper cuttings, indicating that Justice Bulkachuwa’s son canvassed for votes in his favour.
However, in his 11-paragraphs written address he filed to support affidavit he lodged to counter Atiku’s motion, President Buhari, insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that Justice Bulkachuwa had in any way, exhibited any form of bias against them since the petition was entered before the tribunal.
Igbere TV reports that Buhari’s affidavit was deposed to by one Kolawole Andrew Aro, a litigation officer in the chambers of President Buhari’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
Buhari, who was represented at the tribunal on Wednesday by a team of lawyers led by seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, told the Tribunal that he had since his emergence to power, refrained from dabbling into the membership of any judicial panel.
The president said he never interfered with the constitution of any tribunal, “whether the panel is adjudicating on election petitions relating to the office of President, Governor, National or State Assembly, or sitting in any civil or criminal matter howsoever.”
He maintained that Atiku and the PDP, had no reason whatsoever to be apprehensive about the involvement of the Court of Appeal President in the adjudication of their dispute with regards to the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.
On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which is the 1st Respondent in the matter, through its team of lawyers comprising five SANs led by Mr. Yunuz Uztaz, urged the tribunal to dismiss Atiku and PDP’s motion, contending that it was in breach of section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
INEC argued that the motion was discriminatory in the sense that it sought to disqualify Justice Bulkachuwa on the basis that she was married to a politician.
Noting that many male judicial officers are equally married to politicians, INEC, maintained that granting the instant application would set ”a very dangerous precedent”.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, through its team of nine SANs, led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, accused the PDP and Atiku of engaging in “cheap blackmail”.
Cc: Lalasticlala, Mynd44, OAM4J