The People’s Democratic Party says Edo State Governor and the party’s governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki, failed to attend an event on Wednesday because he got information it was no longer a conversation but a debate.
The event, tagged Edo Governorship Election Conversation, was well-publicised and scheduled for 8am on Arise News on Wednesday. The main governorship candidates; Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), were expected to outline their vision for the state.
But the governor failed to attend. The APC condemned his absence, describing it as “cowardice.”
Responding via a statement issued by State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Osa Nehikhare, the party described the news that Obaseki shunned a debate as “falsehood.”
It said governor was invited to a “conversation” by the organisers. According to the PDP, he was preparing to depart for the venue of the event on Wednesday morning when information came that the event was no longer a conversation but a debate.
The statement stated that Obaseki decided not to be part of the “sudden arrangement” in line with his policy that “things should be done properly and in good faith.”
The party said the governor saw no need to engage in another round of debate with Ize-Iyamu after attending a debate organised by Channels TV on Sunday.
“We are compelled to debunk the falsehood pushed out this morning by the propagandists of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that Governor Godwin Obaseki shunned a scheduled debate organised by the Arise TV for him and the governorship candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu,” the PDP 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. Recall 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 judgement 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.”
Last Sunday, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu both participated in a heated governorship debate broadcast live on Channels Television.
On Tuesday, both candidates signed a peace accord and committed to a nonviolent electoral process.
The governorship election in Edo State is scheduled to hold on September 19, 2020.