By Emmanuel Aziken
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Governor Godwin Obaseki were on Wednesday engaged in a hot exchange of words over their approach to a debate arranged for the two of them by Arise Television.
Ize-Iyamu accused the governor of running away after the governor at the last minute stepped away after paying for political advertisements to be broadcast during the debate.
The governor on his part strongly denied the claim saying that Arise Television invited him for a conversation which he claimed was at the last minute changed to a debate. He said that he had no need to fear a debate with Ize-Iyamu having allegedly outperformed his challenger in the Channels Television debate held three days earlier.
Ize-Iyamu speaking through his spokesman, John Mayaki accused the governor of cowardice saying:
“This is the third time that Obaseki will flee from a debate. What is he running away from? From accountability and transparency? This tells you that the Channels TV Interview was arranged. It was a trap and a plot, which we still overcame anyway.
“It also tells you that it was an elaborate setup by the governor Obaseki-led government to hoodwink the nation and the people of Edo State, but those in the state know what is going on.
“They had already paid for adverts on Arise TV just the same way they paid for adverts on Channels Television, but it meant nothing to the governor to run away from the debate after wasting Edo people’s money on advertisements.”
“With this dodgy attitude of Obaseki, Edo people cannot have confidence in him. He has consistently failed promises made to workers, traders and farmers in Edo state.
“Now, Governor Obaseki has taken his unreliability to the media three times and the one time he appeared in the media, he knows how much he spent to present a good image howbeit, through fraudulent opinion polls and contrived narratives – no one trusts him.
Obaseki rebuffing him through the campaign spokesman, Chris Osa Nehikhare, said:
“This is a lie from the pit of hell. The true story is that organisers invited Governor Godwin Obaseki to a dialogue/conversation on the Arise TV network on the September 19 Edo State governorship election. In his usual manner, Governor Obaseki posted the scheduled event on his social media platforms.”
“To demonstrate his willingness to attend the event, Governor Obaseki listed the event as number one on his schedule for Wednesday, September 16. Governor Obaseki was preparing to depart for the venue of the programme early this morning when information came that the event was no longer a conversation but a debate.
“The banner headline on the invitation card to the event reads, ‘Edo Governorship: The Conversation.’ This information is available online and can be verified. How a conversation turned to a debate is a question only organisers of the event can explain.
“In line with his policy that things should be done properly and in good faith, Governor Obaseki decided not to be part of the sudden arrangement.”
The PDP spokesman noted that “Governor Obaseki had last week attended a conversation hosted by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on the Edo governorship election. He was preparing for similar arrangement only to be ambushed by the organisers.
“After attending the debate organised by the Channels TV on Sunday, Governor Obaseki sees no need to engage in another round of debate with the APC governorship candidate.
“The people who watched the debate have since passed their valued judgment on the performance of the two governorship candidates and the result is already in public domain.
“It is unfortunate that those who declared that Governor Obaseki avoided a debate with a person he roundly floored only three days ago do not know the difference between a conversation and a debate.”