Bauchi Senatorial Ticket and Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa

NEWS DIGEST – But for the potential capacity to impugn on the character of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, a jurist of no mean repute, it would ordinarily have been better to ignore the baseless allegation raised by a pay-as-you-go pressure group known as CATBAN that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress(APC) gifted the Bauchi North Senatorial ticket of the party to her husband so she could ‘assist’ the party during the soon-to-begin electoral litigations across the various tribunals empanelled to do so. It is only a mischievous, low energy character who will pre-judge an event that may never even happen.

That said, nothing can be more frivolous than this allegation concocted in the infertile imagination of the convener of CATBAN, a notorious blackmailer and hatchet man, who without battling an eyelid, can trade his own integrity for a mere messy porridge. That is how low he can go in his inordinate quest for wealth. But that is where it ends, in the interim, at least.

To start with, Alhaji Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa and Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa may be husband and wife in real life, the two are, however, different legal entities who are eminently empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic to pursue their own aspirations without any hindrance to one other. Simply put, the man has every right to pursue his own political ambition just as Her Lordship continues to discharge her judicial responsibilities and other allied matters without fear nor favour.

The Bulkachuwas are not the first to start and they won’t be the last. They could still have been doing this if they were not married. Her Lordship, Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, was a jurist in the Court of Appeal when her husband, Dr Peter Odili, a founding chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), ruled the roost as the Governor of Rivers State. There’s no shred of evidence anywhere that she has ever bended justice in favour of her husband or any matter that concerns him as alleged by CATBAN that Justice Bulkachuwa will give judicial protection to the APC because of her husband who is now a senator-elect on the platform of the party. What a jejune reasoning! The wife of the incumbent governor of the same state, Nyesom Wike is also a state high court judge. There have been court judgements from the high courts against the state government.

It’s gradually becoming a sub-culture to shame women of substance in Nigeria just because they are married to politicians whenever it suits the political interests of vendors of such derogatory messages. Perhaps in their parochial thinking, they feel by dragging the name of the woman in the mud using cooked up and crooked means, they would get at the husband, their political opponent. Nigerians are wiser now, they won’t fall for such cheap, low energy blackmail again.

Had President Muhammadu Buhari not be firm and decisive, he would have forced Hajiya Amina Zakari to leave the Independent National Electoral Commission against the allegation that Zakari is married to the President’s nephew. The woman’s career would have been cut short abruptly for pedestrian and jejune reasons. Apparently, this style of disparaging successful women in positions of power using their marital affiliations is fast becoming a fad. It is nothing short of an extension to the overbearing sexist agenda that has continued to question the legitimate capacity and potentials of women. Why do we hardly hear of narratives that question the integrity or loyalty of men as a result of the antecedents of their female partners? The answer is quite simple, men are held to account only to their own doings. This continuous blackmail unfortunately limits the potential of women to aspire to higher offices and also discourages young girls from exhibiting their god given talent and capacities.

As for those behind the ongoing campaign of calumny to tarnish the reputation of Her Lordship Justice Bulkachuwa, let it be known that she has come this far in the nation’s judiciary by dint of diligence and competence imbued with high moral standards. Her character remains unimpeachable and impartiality in the discharge of her judicial duties remains non-negotiable. From available records, which are public documents, she has dispensed justice in many landmark cases without fear nor favour. That her husband is now a politician won’t alter the principle of fairness and forthrightness already encoded in her DNA as a jurist of no mean repute.

By the way, rather than resort to fighting dirty with the wrong person, it is better the elements behind the futile attempt to soil Her Lordship’s sterling name, go to the court to seek judicial redress over whatever issue they have as the court remains the last hope of the common man. This is simply the right thing to do, but the distinction between the honourable Justice and the political affairs of her husband must be respected.

Ben Abdul writes from Abuja

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