The president of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, has been replaced at the presidential election petition tribunal by Justice M.L. Garba.
Justice Garba is the presiding judge of the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal.
Daily Nigerian reports that Garba appeared on the five-man panel for the first time on Monday, June 9.
Bulkachuwa recused herself from the panel. Bulkachuwa withdrew from the presidential election petition tribunal after the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, asked her to recuse herself because she is married to a senator-elect of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In reaction, Atiku said the call by his legal team for Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the presidential election petition tribunal was predicated on this principle, being that her husband, Alhaji Mohammed Bulkachuwa, is an APC senator-elect and the case she was expected to adjudicate upon had a bearing on that party.
He added that Bulkachuwa has shown courage in her ruling at the tribunal as no man can be a judge in his own case.
The petitioners are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the election.
Atiku, in a letter by his lawyer dated May 31, 2019, urged Bulkachuwa to appoint a replacement as soon as possible after recusing herself of the trial.
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According to the former vice president, it is crucial that the process is made swift because the tribunal has a timeline to prosecute the petitions. He noted that 76 days had already been used up out of the 180 days allowed by law, as seen in Section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act (2010 as amended).
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