Atiku vs Buhari: Appeal Court president, Bulkachuwa asked to step down
A group, Access to Justice, on Sunday asked President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, to step down from the Election Tribunal hearing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar’s petition against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari. This was contained in a statement on by its Convener, Joseph Otteh.
The justice advocacy group
The Nigerian judiciary is facing very heightened levels of public scrutiny, and the performance of some judicial bodies have raised red flags concerning judicial independence and integrity. There are now far more than normal anxieties about the Judiciary’s strength of character. Many keen observers of the Judiciary are already worried that the Judiciary has been overawed by the government given, particularly, the example of the bizarre way the removed Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was “guillotined” by a supposedly “judicial” body. Given the present context, it may be difficult for judicial officers to bank on the moral capital of the Judiciary as an institution as a basis of comfort when they sit on cases where some familial, fiduciary or other interests are implicated, for the stock value of that capital has descended a few notches over time and survives mostly through its clichés than its substance. Maybe at some time in the future, it will not be a problem for a Justice of the Court of Appeal to adjudicate cases where his or her significant other has some immediate or remote interest, but, at this time, there will be conflicting perceptions, even of reasonable people, given the prevailing context, of whether justice will impartially be done in such a case.