The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar to bring formal applications asking the President of the court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to step aside.
The PDP and Atiku both had asked Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the petitions challenging the February 23 presidential election as a result of her husband’s emergence as senator-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) when all the parties met in the chambers of the court.
When the panel and the lawyers re-entered the court, Justice Bulkachuwa said the issues raised by PDP’s lead counsel, Levy Uzoukwu (SAN) should be brought formally since they were no longer private as they are already in the public domain.
“This matter was discussed privately with counsels involved. We, however, believe that this has been brought to the public domain. So, we take an application from counsel now and hear the reply so that we can give a ruling now,” she said.
But lawyers to President Muhammadu Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN); APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and INEC, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) all objected to an oral application, preferring that a formal application be made, which would allow them seven days to reply by the rules of the court.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to May 22 for the hearing of the application.
The tribunal also granted leave to the Coalition for Change (C4C) and its presidential candidate, Geff Chizee Ojinka to serve the processes of its petition to Buhari and the APC at the party’s national headquarters at No 40 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.
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