Knocks and kudos have continued to trail the debate between the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his rival in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin Obaseki.
Both candidates, who are the major gladiators in the September 19 election, participated in a Channels Television governorship debate on Sunday, and issues ranging from security, education, health, and agriculture, among others, topped the discussion.
Some indigenes of Edo who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday gave their opinion on how the candidates responded to issues in the debate which lasted over one hour.
Their reactions to the debate came just as the media aides of the two contenders disagreed over an alleged opinion poll results that emanated after the debate.
Yakubu Musa, a former Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, said while Mr Obaseki failed to address some critical issues, Mr Ize-Iyamu was straight in his response.
Mr Musa said, “We have a governor who has been in office for four years, and most of the things he said in the debate were not correct when it comes to figures, he was just being rhetoric. On the over 120,000 jobs he said he created, for who and where are the people, which factory and company?
“The one that touched me was when he was asked of his result. When we went to school, we know that three credits without English Language and Mathematics cannot give you admission, even into a polytechnic or even college of education. Where is the Higher School Certificate result that gave him admission to the University of Ibadan?
“Those are the questions he should have answered. For four years, a sitting governor could not pinpoint what he did in Edo and he wants a second them, for what?”
However, for the candidate of the APC, Mr Musa said, “On the side of Ize-Iyamu, he was straight and spoke the truth on what he wants to do with the SIMPLE agenda manifesto. When the question was asked as to how he will realise his agenda, he told the governor that he was not going to waste money the way the governor is wasting money. He said he was going to create wealth and if he does that he will have money to execute his programmes.
But Jefferson Uwoghiren, a Benin-based activist and lawyer, said Mr Obaseki addressed the issues better on how he is going to address the issues confronting the state.
Mr Uwoghiren said, “Mr Obaseki came to address the issues that is affecting the Edo people and how he is going to address them. Ize-Iyamu came to address issues between him and Obaseki. He (Ize-Iyamu) made ad hominem allegations that he could not substantiate.
“Again, Obaseki turned himself into a lawyer and was cross-examining a supposed lawyer who could not effectively respond to elementary issues with his orientation as a lawyer. When you are not sure of your facts, you do not mention it in public space. You do not come to debate to de-market someone else, you come to debate to market yourself. You come to explain in a very explainable way what your visions are. Unfortunately, the APC candidate did not look like someone that was prepared, he looked like he came with an angry mission.”
Yama Beliyu, an Auchi-based indigene of the state, simply said, “Mr Obaseki displayed maturity in the way he responded to questions, while our candidate Mr Ize-Iyamu was talking like someone angry. I appreciate Obaseki for his display of maturity and he showed that he can perform better in the governance of Edo State.”
Meanwhile, Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to the Edo Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, and John Mayaki, Chairman of the Edo State APC Media Campaign Council, have disagreed over the opinion poll results after the debate.
Mr Osagie said in a statement on Monday that aggregation of polls conducted by independent bodies, hours after the Channels Television Governorship Debate on Sunday, placed Mr Obaseki ahead of Mr Ize-Iyamu.
He claimed that “the polls were conducted by Channels TV, organisers of the debate, Flash Poller, an international pollster, and Joe Abah, Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).
“While Channels TV’s poll showed that Obaseki won Ize-Iyamu with 67.58 per cent to 32.42 per cent, Flash Poller ranked the governor with 76.3 per cent over Ize-Iyamu’s 23.7 per cent and Abah’s poll showed that Obaseki garnered 71 per cent of the positive votes while APC’s Ize-Iyamu scored 29 per cent (as at the time this report was filed).”
But Mr Mayaki said the Channels TV fictitious polls showed that Mr Obaseki and the PDP were plotting to rig the poll.
Mr Mayaki said, “Channels Television has dissociated itself from the fictitious polls result compiled by malicious impersonators and fabricators loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Candidate, Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 Edo governorship election.
“This was after Mr Obaseki and his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu had faced off in a debate organised by Channels Television on Sunday. No sooner was the debate concluded than the PDP loyalists came up with a graphically designed image depicting Obaseki as having won the polls by 76.3 per cent while Pastor Ize-Iyamu was depicted to have scored 23.7 per cent.
“It is now apparent that rigging everything is first nature to the PDP and their loyalists. They have clearly shown what they are capable of by going ahead to shamelessly rig an online poll conducted by channels. I can only imagine the disgust that Channels television must be feeling at this shameless act.
“The PDP is tarnishing the image of Edo state nationwide and they are being bankrolled by a man who has turned Edo state’s account to his cookie jar,” Mr Mayaki said.