Appeal court judge takes over presidential election tribunal from Bulkachuwa

Mohammed Garba, a Court of Appeal judge has taken over as the chairman of the 2019 presidential election petition tribunal.

Mr Garba took over from Zainab Bulkachuwa, the president of Appeal Court, who recused herself after the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said she was likely to be biased.

Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the PDP for the presidential election is challenging the outcome of the February 23 exercise which he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari who sought a second term in office at the time.

Mr Buhari, his party – All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are respondents to the suit filed by the former vice president.

Mrs Bulkachuwa is married to an APC senator-elect, who was elected under controversial circumstances. Her son is also a card carrying member of the ruling party paving way for the PDP to accuse her of likelihood of bias.

She was also criticised for her comment at the inauguration of the tribunal, where she was quoted as saying elections disputes were bound to happen regardless of the credibility of the process.

After being pressured to step down, Mrs Bulkachuwa said she was leaving the post on “personal ground”.

Her replacement, Mr Garba, who hails from Zamfara State, was until his appointment to the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge of the Zamfara State High Court.