LAGOS Court of Appeal president judge Justice Mohammed Garba, has been appointed to replace Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal following her recent resignation over a conflict of interest.
Under Nigeria’s constitutional arrangement, the court of appeal president presides over the Presidential Elections Tribunal. Justice Bulkachuwa was thus poised to preside over the ongoing legal battle between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP presidential candidate Alhaji Abubakar, as she is the head of Nigeria’s Court of Appeal.
However, Justice Bulkachuwa’s husband Adamu Bulkachuwa, is member of the APC and recently got elected as the senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District. Consequently, the PDP’s national working committee (NWC) wrote to Justice Bulkachuwa, asking her to excuse herself from the tribunal that is determining the winner of the February 23 polls.
On May 22, Justice Bulkachuwa succumbed to pressure and stood down from the election tribunal but has refused to resign as the president of the Court of Appeal as demanded by the PDP. She has now been replaced on the five-man election panel by Justice Garba, who has already joined in the sitting of the tribunal.
A PDP spokesman said: “Justice Mohammed Garba has been appointed to replace Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the chairman of the 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Until his appointment, Justice Mohammed Garba was the presiding Judge of the Lagos State Division of the Court of Appeal.”