After both major candidates in the Edo State governorship contest shunned a debate moderated by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo last Sunday, another opportunity for the APC and PDP candidates to debate one another turned into another drama on Friday.
The debate organized organised by BBC News Pidgin for candidates in the September 19 Edo State governorship election turned into a drama when Governor Godwin Obaseki withdrew himself for some other function just as the debate began
Obaseki, the PDP candidate had offered that his deputy take his place while he attends to some other important state function.
However, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu rejected the move as he insisted on Obaseki and refused to debate the deputy governor, Philip Shaibu who is the PDP running mate.
Obaseki had said, “First, I wan’ thank una say una invite me come this programme, make we debate among ourselves, make we fit talk wetin we wan do for the people of Edo State.
“But make I first start by apologising. You see, as I dey now, I no dey Benin. I had to travel on emergency this evening come somewhere, and the meeting dey very important. But abi tell una, so my deputy dey on ground. E no get anything wey I dey do wey im no know.
“So, I say out of respect, make I first do this opening round, I will rush go the meeting, and hopefully my deputy go continue.”
Ize-Iyamu, however, rejected the move saying “Abeg make I talk small for wetin Governor Obaseki talk. This debate na for governorship candidates, no be wetin den dey delegate. If he no go fit stay, he no go fit stay.
“But say he wan’ comot make im deputy go come dey follow us debate, I no get hand for that one. If he no get ready, make im no say he no wan’ debate with us.
“But if he wants to debate, he has to stay but me no go sit down with im deputy. If na deputy own, I go call my deputy make im come talk with im deputy. No be me and im deputy dey debate, na governorship debate.”
When Obaseki left, Shaibu was not allowed but Obaseki came back after about one hour to join the debate.
Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu had boycotted a debate organized by the Esan Development and Transformation Initiative moderated by the Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo.