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.