The two major protagonists in this week’s governorship election in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, and his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, met face-to-face at a governorship election debate held in Benin City on Sunday evening.

The duo shared their visions with the people of the state at a debate organized by Channels Television and its partners.

They were asked questions on the economy and their plans for the teeming population of the state, especially on industrialization and employment creation.

The moderator of the event, Seun Okinbaloye, reminded the candidates on the current position of Edo State on the Human Development Index (HDI) and challenged them to explain how they intend to address this if elected as governor of the state.

The Edo State governorship election holds on September 19.

The governor, who was the first to speak, said: “In terms of human capacity and employment, that is one area we believe we have accomplished quite a lot. On the onset, I promised I will raise a minimum of 200,000 jobs within a minimum of a four-year period. And just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had created directed and indirect jobs for Edo people as much as 157,000.

“And where did the jobs come from? They came from the way the government decided to address the economy. The government role is creating an enabling environment for people to come and invest so that the economy can thrive.”

But the APC candidate countered Obaseki and accused him of falsifying claims on job creation.

“Well, it is sad that when the government that should be accurate with figures begins to falsify figures. If it is true that we have been able to have the number of jobs that the Edo State governor claims, our IGR will not be where it is; there will be a significant leap but I can tell you and they know, it has stagnated.

“What they call jobs and people were trained it is nothing and I hope the governor is not going to mistake the appointments he is doing now as jobs because I know that in the past one month, he has appointed over 200 people as SSAs on social media and the rest of them.

“Those are not jobs. When you say you created jobs, we know for example that there is a glaring vacancy in the teaching profession. The schools we went, they practically had no teachers, nobody was employed, so, for a governor who claims he has created jobs, the sector as vital as education, you have left it the way it is and most of the hospitals don’t have doctors,” Ize-Iyamu countered.