Verbal missiles were fired to and fro yesterday at the Best Western Hotel, venue of the debate organised by the Nigerian Elections Debate Group for the candidates of political parties for the July 14 governorship election in Edo State.
The verbal warfare was especially fierce between Adams Oshiomhole, incumbent governor and candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the retired Major General Charles Arhiavbere, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP candidate fired the first salvo when he hinted at the alleged non-implementation of due process in the award of contracts, to which Oshiomhole reminded him that due process was not followed in the award of Army contracts, especially Army hospitals when the PDP candidate was the Director of Army Finance and Administration. Oshiomhole also took the fight to his PDP candidate who accused him of evading two questions.
The first was on administration of state and local government joint account and secondly on how he would ensure that he does not run local governments with Transition Committees.
The governor also reminded the PDP candidate that the law which the state applied in running the local governments in the state by transition committees was enacted by a PDP Assembly and signed into law by a PDP Governor.
Oshiomhole then corrected Arhiavbere when he said the judiciary is one of the three tiers of government in Edo State. According to Oshiomhole, “we don’t have three tiers of government in Edo State. The judiciary is not a tier of government, it’s an arm of government. We have three arms of government.
On the ‘new PDP’ which Airhiavbere constantly referred to, Oshiomhole said: “We are happy that you are not proud of your past. PDP keeps referring to itself as new PDP, what is new in the PDP when all the old men are still there. We are proud of our past, that is why we are ACN, not new ACN.”
Moderator of the debate, Ms. Jire Kuforiji, at a point cautioned the PDP candidate for evading questions. Other panelists at the debate were Mr. Ide Eguabor, Nancy Iloh, and Tony Abolo.
Only Oshiomhole, Airhiavbere and Solomon Edebri of the ANPP were invited for the second and final round of the debate to enable voters make informed choices for the election slated for Saturday, July 14.