The immediate past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa has revealed the reason she recused herself from the panel that heard the petition against the conduct of the 2019 presidential election
Justice Bulkachuwa whose husband is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District, retired from the bench on March 9.
The judge described the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which made her to take the decision as misplaced.
The judge took the decision to recused herself following a 19-paragraphed affidavit filed by PDP, asking her not to preside over the petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
“I have been a judicial officer for 40 years and I know I have a responsibility to God. I am going to be accountable to Him one day. That’s why I try to be upright as much as possible in my judicial conduct and this is what guides me in handling any case that comes before me. When that issue of the presidential election petition panel came up, I had even forgotten that my husband is a politician.
“I only felt that as the President of the Court of Appeal and number one in that court, I would have been the best person to handle the case and I had no doubt that I would have done justice to the case. But, once I was asked to recuse myself, a doubt was raised in my mind. A doubt in the sense that no matter what I do or say, I will not be seen as being impartial. So, I decided to recuse myself from the panel,” she stated.
Justice Bulkachuwa also condemned the calls for retired judge to handle election petition cases.
“I don’t think it is proper to allow retired justices to come in and handle election petition cases. Serving justices are under the supervision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and I believe they will not do anything that would affect their works. But if we give the job to retired justices, then, there might be problem. Who will supervise them? I also believed they will not do it the way sitting justices will do it.”