The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has told the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to formally file an application asking the President of the Court of Appeal and chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to withdraw.
The tribunal gave the directive on Wednesday following the meeting the panel members held with lawyers appearing in the case.
Justice Bulkachuwa said that the petitioners’ legal team led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), asked her to recuse herself from the panel at the meeting held in chambers.
The Appeal Court president said the request by Uzoukwu followed an earlier letter she received from the PDP’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, also demanding she disqualifies herself from further participation in the panel.
Bulkachuwa said since the matter was already in the public domain, the panel had decided to have the issue treated openly.
Responding, Uzoukwu said his team would file a formal application to that effect on Thursday.
The respondents’ lawyers comprising Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Yunus Usman (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) representing President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the All Progressives Congress, said they would need time to respond to the application.
She then adjourned till May 22 for the hearing of the petitioners’ application.