The presidential petition tribunal set May 22 to receive a question in which judge Zainab Bulkachuwa refrained from sitting in the group of five men in the election after the alleged fear of pre-established bias.
The court decided on Wednesday to begin the pre-hearing session on the petition presented by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the outcome of the 23 February presidential election.
Bulkachua, also president of the Court of Appeal, postponed the procedures in this regard to allow the two applicants to submit a formal request against their membership of the group.
Previously, dr. Levy Uzoukwu SAN, a lawyer for PDP and Abubakar, presented an oral request to obtain permission for all lawyers to meet with members of the jury in the Chambers.
Bulkachua went ahead to grant the request by ordering a suspension of the matter.
Upon his arrival from the cameras, Bulkachua immediately revealed to the open court the applicants’ informal request to withdraw from attending the hearing of his petition.
However, he said that such an action must be formally presented to the court through a request that all parties must discuss, NAN reports.
“The counsel for the two petitioners have raised an issue in chambers directing me to recuse myself from hearing their petition.
“This matter has initially been brought to my attention in a letter from the office of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, dated May 8.
“Their request is now in a public domain, but the counsel for the petitioners must approach the court with a formal application,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PDP and its presidential candidate in the Feb 23 general election are before the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.
In another development, the tribunal granted Coalition for Change (C4C) and its presidential candidate, Geff Ojinika permission to serve President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with their petition through substituted means.
Bulkachua granted the leave following an exparte application brought to it by the applicants.
“The applicants are hereby granted leave to serve president Buhari and vice president Osinbajo with the petition challenging their victory through substituted means.
“The first and second respondents should be served via the National Secretariat of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in No.40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.”
NAN reports that the C4C and its presidential candidate had informed the court on their difficulty in serving their petition on Buhari and Osinbajo.