By Gbenga Abulude(Politics and General desk)
Ahead of the Edo State Governorship Election slated for next Saturday, September 19, the two major parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their candidates -incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-iyamu-are again locked in war of words over a scheduled gubernatorial debate being organized by the Channels TV.
The New Diplomat understands that baring any last minute changes, APC’s candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and his PDP rival Governor Obaseki are billed to appear at a debate programme scheduled to hold on Sunday. This has once again, thrown the two major political combatants followers in war of wards.
The Chairman of the Edo APC Media Campaign Council, Mr John Mayaki, in a statement chided Governor Obaseki for excusing himself from the previous debate and advised the governor not to give excuses to shun the proposed debate this time around.
Recall that Obaseki had excused himself at the beginning of a virtual debate organized by BBC Pidgin last week Friday, only for him to resurface towards the end of the debate.
Obaseki had reportedly taken permission to attend another crucial meeting and delegated his deputy Governor Comrade Phillip Shaibu to continue with the debate But APC candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu would have none of that stressing that the debate was organized for governorship candidates and not their deputies.
While protesting the governor’s action the APC candidate had insisted that the debate was for governorship candidates and not for deputies. This in his submission completely invalidates Shaibu from participating.
Mr Jonas Osagiobare of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) who also participated at the debate said the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu, was prepared for the debate and ready to share his well-articulated agenda ‘SIMPLE’ manifesto.
“Anyone that can prevail on Mr. Governor to be present at the Channels debate should do so, so that he can rescue some of his chances of victory at the polls. His absence from two debates already has put people on edge. Why is he shying away from answering questions if he knows that he has truly done enough to warrant re-election?
“As for the APC, do not worry, all your questions will be answered by the erudite and sagacious politician, who is most fit and proper to be Governor of Edo State come November 12, 2020.
“If he runs from the Channels debate, Edo people will make up their minds on him as an unserious fellow, who was never prepared for governance. There is enough time for him to arrange all his schedules, so no excuse of ‘I have to meet up with another appointment’ will come up, just as in the BBC experience or the earlier one organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group in which the Governor claimed he never got invite for participation,” says Mayaki.
But the PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Chris Nehikhare said the governor is ready to debate this time around, warning the APC to desist from making unacceptable noise and heated controversy .
He said the debate would afford Obaseki the opportunity to speak about his numerous achievements in almost four years and his consolidation plans, “when re-elected come September 19, to continue his good programs.”
Nehikhare reiterated that only Obaseki had a workable agenda of Making Edo Great Again (MEGA). He described Ize-Iyamu’s SIMPLE agenda manifesto as incapable of addressing the needs and aspirations of Edo people. According to the PDP, the APC’s candidate’s manifesto is not realistic as it is too idealistic and lacks practical content.
The PDP further alleged that it is Obaseki that has the answer to the needs and yearnings of the people of Edo state having been on the governorship seat for the past four years.