Why Bulkachuwa Resigned As Presidential Election Petition Chairman As Buhari Prepares For His Inauguration

By Nwangwu Uba

 More  facts have emerged why Zainab Bulkachuwa,  a Justice of the Supreme  Court, resigned  as the Chairman of Presidential  Election Appeal Tribunal.  This is because of the Pressure from the Leadership of the People’s Democratic Partic, PDP, and Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Party,  in the February 23, 2019, election urging him  over allegations he has politically linked to the All Progressive Congress, APC.

Atiku, the PDP , Candidate in the 2019 Presidential  election had dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, of the APC  and Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman , Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  to the Tribunal, insisting that he was robbed of victory in the election and therefore ,should be declared the winner.

He may have sensed that the first sitting of the Tribunal in Abuja, going by the remarks by Bulkachuwa, the Tribunal Chairman, that elections are held every four years in Nigeria, an indication that the PDP  and Atiku , its Presidential Candidate  in the election , should go back to the drawing board and start making preparations for the 2023 election instead of wasting time at the Tribunal.

The PDP leadership and atiku , may not have  found the speech funny, as they believe that the Tribunal Chairman , was acting out the script of the Katsina state born Nigeria President  and the APC.  The Bauchi state born  Justice of the Supreme Court, may not have wanted to sit as the Chairman of the Tribunal where she would give a judgment that would not be acceptable to the parties in the electoral dispute.  Already the PDP and Atiku, its Presidential Candidate has made it clear that they would accept the verdict of the Tribunal  which is tailored to favour the APC and INEC.

Zaina Bulkachuwa: Withdrew From Tribunal To Give Peace A Chance

The fallout was her to withdrew as the Tribunal Chairman , after notifying Tanko ibrahim Mohammad, the acting CJN.  Legal sources  disclosed that the no nonsense Justice of the Supreme Court , who became President of the Appeal Court in 2014,  withdrew from the Tribunal   after  it had dismissed  an ”application  by the PDP and its Candidate in the 2019 , Presidential election asking her to recuse  herself  from the Tribunal”.

She may not have have resigned going by the Judgment delivered  by Peter Ige, a Justice of the Supreme Court and member of the three-man Tribunal   that  that there is nothing to show in   the allegations presented by the PDP that Bulkachuwa, the Tribunal Chairman, would be biased in the hearing and decisions  on the Aitu petition. The Tribunal member who gave ruling on the petition  noted that   being the wife of Ahmed Bulkachuwa, a Senator-elect, on the platform of the APC, was not a guarantee that she would favour the the party .

The Tribunal Chairman who had earlier  agreed with the Ige Judgment  over the dissmissal of the Atiku and the  PDP Application  did not want  to give further room to the Opposition party and Atiku, its Presidential Candidate, to  criticise her but  to ”recuse herself  from the Tribunal, giving  for personal reasons for her decision.

She had  explained that  she allowed the case to be heard  by the full Appeal  Court  so that in  the future another female Judge  will not be made to face  what she had faced now. The PDP  leadership  of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, one of the parties that had had gone into alliance with the PDP, in the last Presidential election, and Ambrose Aworu, its Presidential Candidate, may have expected that  as Justice Bulkachuwa had recuse herself  from the Tribunal they could easily get favourable Judgment  to stop the inauguration of the Katsina state born Nigerian President on May 29, 2019. They got it wrong. The party , at the instance of Atiku, was said to have  filed a petition  seeking to stop  Buhari’s inauguration. But  Joseph Ikyechi, a Justice of the Supreme Court  who gave Judgment on the application  had dismissed it as ”lacking merit.

The Tribunal may have   taken the position of the APC and INEC, which had faulted the HDP and its Presidential Candidate argument  and asking the Tribunal  to dismiss the application as lacking merit. Note that the party had argued  that”  it will be unfair  and unjust  to inaugurate  the incumbent President for a second term  on the ground that  the validity of the 2019 election  that produced  him  has been challenged  at the Tribunal by his closest rival, Atiku of the PDP and the Tribunal had not given Judgment on the case.

The Party may have gone too far by  asking  Mohammad, the acting CJN,  to stop administering the Oath of office  and Oath of allegiance  on the President until all cases against  him are terminated. The acting CJN, may not  have bowed to their legal pressure to  bar the President from going ahead  with his preparation from his inauguration as the Presidency was said to have sent out invitations to other world leaders , particular, African Union Presidents and Heads of State to attend the inauguration ceremony.

Given the mood of the nation at present, Lai Muhammed, minister of Information and Culture, has told those that cares to listen that  Buhari’s inauguration for a second term  on May 29, 2019, will be a low key affair.

 Muhammed had  said that the decision to   have a low key inauguration  for the President  was taken at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on May  8, 2019. This is a big  blow for political hangers on  who may have awaited to use the inauguration as an opportunity  to fleece the country through inflation of contracts to provide one service or the other.

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