The publisher of Delta State-based Oasis Magazine, Daniel Dafe Umukoro, has been invited by the Department of State Services (DSS), Asaba, for publishing a story about an alleged crisis rocking the state chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Umukoro had interviewed a factional chairman of the party, Ohwo Benson Oghotoma, which did not go down well with another factional chairman, Oke Idawene.
Idawene, therefore, petitioned the DSS to complain about the report.
Speaking with our correspondent, Umukoro disclosed that he received a call from a DSS operative in Asaba, asking him to come and answer a petition against him by one of the party's factional chairmen, Idawene.
"Although the said operative did not disclose the content of the petition, the invitation was not unconnected with a recent publication on the medium where a factional state chairman of the party, Sir Ohwo Benson Oghotoma (OBO), called for the arrest of Idawene for parading himself as the chairman of the party. He said that Idawene had been removed as the chairman of the party.
"It is appalling that the DSS is involving me in the matter. A discussion about two days ago between me and Idawene was that he would send a statement as his side of the story for publication on the magazine’s website. Idawene was angry that we did not hear his side of the story. But at the time we went to press with the report, we were unable to reach Idawene.
"And when he called, I was glad that I could now allow him to say his views on the development but got surprised that a man I hear has so much exposure decided to run to the DSS even after we both agreed that he would send his rejoinder to me. Maybe, this issue is the more you look the less you see. With time we will find out.
“I did not publish an investigation. It was an interview I did. Secondly, I gave him an opportunity to speak, but he shunned it, maybe because he has close ties with the DSS. I also hope someone or some persons is/are not using him to get at me because I have always been one voice that is against many things that do not go down well with some corrupt tendencies in the state.
“I will honour the invitation. But, I think the world should know that a hard-working man like me is trying to be roped into what I have no business with. Sir Oghotoma spoke. Why not try to prove that you are the authentic chairman rather than taking your party’s internal crisis to the DSS? I am even aware that the national executive of the party has since initiated peace moves for the aggrieved factions in the party.
“Well, as I said, I will honour the invitation. I don’t see any wrongdoing by me here. I have already notified the Nigerian Union of Journalists, ACNPN, lawyers, and a few rights groups. So journalists, publishers, and others in the state are already aware of the unnecessary and failed, programmed and attempted intimidation they are directing at me which will not work.
"Maybe Idawene is trying to mute me. I wouldn’t want to be dragged into the SDP crisis because I don’t belong to any political party. If he has an ulterior motive other than my publication, I urge him to retrace his step and give peace a chance. It was an interview and press statement I published. I gave him his chance, he turned it down because maybe he wants to prove that he is a friend to the DSS."
Our correspondent learnt that Umukoro was asked to appear at the DSS facility in Asaba on Monday, but he said the day was not feasible.
He has yet to pick a date to honour the invitation.
It was also gathered that the state SDP factional chairman, Oghotoma, and some of his supporters and party faithful who consider Oghotoma as the authentic chairman of the party, had also been invited by the DSS operatives to Asaba.