#EdoDecides: Survey Group decries media manipulation of outcome of Channels TV debate

Edo Independent Media Survey Group (EDIMSG)has decried the perceived media

manipulation of the conduct and outcome of the Edo governorship election
debate organised by CHANNELS Television in collaboration with Enough is
Enough Nigeria Group.
In a statement by its Coordinator, Mr Francis Ehigiator, EDIMSG said it
was sad and a great disservice to the organisers of the debate and the
electorate in Edo for a section of the media to deliberately distort,
fabricate and manipulate “the true reflections of the debate.”

It stated that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor
Osagie Ize-Iyamu performed better than its All Progressives Congress APC)
counterpart, Mr Godwin Obaseki as well as the other two candidates of All
Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osaro Onaiwu and Labour Party (LP), Mr
Areologbe.

According to the group, “At a time when we thought the political debate
organised by the Channels Television and Enough is Enough (EiE) group has
finally afforded the people of Edo State and the bulk of the undecided
voters a great opportunity to make an informed choice in electing a
preferred Governor on September 10, 2016, we have sadly been regaled with
tales of dangerous manipulations of its outcome by a section of the media.

“They have ingloriously taken an advantage of the influence of the media
in the public space to distort, fabricate and outrightly manipulate the
true reflection of the debate.

“As a concerned group, we are therefore compelled to set the records
straight for posterity; and aside rendering this citizen-driven service,
we wish to urge those who could not watch the live telecast, and other
unsuspecting members of the public, to please devote time and watch the
complete online version of the debate on the Channels TV YouTube videos,
broken down in 9 parts.

“The fact of this matter speaks for itself and does not require this
needless concoction in some media outlets. The people of Edo State, who
watched the proceedings live, were in a better position to gauge the
preparedness, boldness and mental alertness of the four candidates that
participated in the exercise.

“Consequently, we make bold to say that there is no iota of truth in the
sectional report doing the round that the APC governorship candidate,
Godwin Obaseki, won the debate. This is not true and does not sincerely
reflect what transpired, if we, as a body, were to score the candidates on
the basis of: composure, grasp of issues, problem-solving skills,
solution-driven plans, governance matters and adequate information about
Edo State. ”

The group said further, “Aside the fact that Obaseki left it very late to
make a good impression of himself, he was below average in public speaking
as evident in his approach to most of the questions asked, and he also had
no convincing grasp of his own manifesto throughout the debate.

“There is no doubt he could have performed better and above average if he
had participated in the two previous debates organised in the State on the
election. Obaseki appeared dazed right from the start of the debate, even
though he later managed to pick up. These facts are there in the complete
online video of the event for any informed rating as against some twisted
scenarios.

“If at all we want to score the four candidates based on our independent
observation and sincere analysis of the debate, it was obvious that the
PDP Gubernatorial candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, during the night,
performed far better than the other three candidates.

“He demonstrated a good knowledge of the challenges confronting the State
and was never lacking in providing convincing responses to issues.
Evidently, until when those who hatched the twisting of narratives in a
segment of the media developed the ball to do so midnight, the social
media was a one-sided narrative in favour of Ize-Iyamu as could be seen
under the hashtag #EdoDecides on Twitter and Facebook. Facts don’t lie.

“As a group, we were actually looking out for surprises on the night against
Ize-Iyamu having watched him in the last two debates – and the reason we
were not initially obliged to make any critical appraisal of the debate.”
The group called on other independent survey groups and responsible media
organisations to watch the video of the debate and, if need be, take a
second look at it and come up with an unbiased and informed analysis.

“The lesson here for those who are desperately trying to manipulate the
outcome of debate in favour of Obaseki is to, next time, take the
advantage of all debate platforms and opportunities even in enemy’s
territory. As long as you have something to offer and with superior
points, it will always be obvious to all,” the group added.

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