Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will on Monday resume sitting on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The Presidential Election Petitions tribunal which went into abeyance since May 22, after the presiding Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa recused herself on personal reasons from the five man panel, on Friday served lawyers representing the parties to the petition, notice of hearing for Monday ,June 11.
The People Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar’s lead counsel Dr. Livy Uzoukwu ( SAN ) , confirmed to journalists that they have been served with the hearing notice.
“We were served the notice today that the court will resume hearing on Monday,” he said. Asked if he was sure that Justice Bulkachuwa’s replacement on the panel had been named, Uzoukwu said, “It is the presumption that we arrived at when we received the hearing notice on Friday.
But we do not have any information about it.” Source close to the President of the Court of Appeal said Justice Bulkachuwa has appointed a replacement for herself to hear the petitions.
Meanwhile, one of the foreign observers of the Presidential Election Petitions tribunal sitting, Mr. Joff Martins said on Friday that it is difficult to place the delay occasioned by Justice Bulkachuwa’s replacement after 17 days of silence from a tribunal that has 180 days to hear the petition.
Justice Bulkachuwa withdrew as a member and head of the five -man panel on May 22, following the allegation of the likelihood of bias levelled against her by the PDP and Atiku.
The observer wonders whether the Court of Appeal would not resume hearing of the petitions without a reminder by the petitioner.
Recalled that Silas Onu, a lawyer in the team of Uzoukwu, the lead counsel to the petitioners had on May 31, wrote Justice Bulkachuwa reminding her of her promise to appoint her replacement on the panel to enable the hearing of their petition to resume.