Kogi, Imo Govts Request Exclusive Hotel Room Bookings Ahead Governorship Elections

Daud Olatunji

In the lead-up to the highly anticipated governorship elections scheduled for November 11, 2023, the governments of Kogi and Imo states have made waves with a controversial move. 

PLATFORM TIMES gathered that both states have sent letters to hotel owners and managers, requesting the exclusive booking of all hotel rooms in their regions during the period from November 4 to November 12, 2023.

In Kogi State, the directive was issued in a letter dated October 31, 2023, and signed by Alh. Oricha U. Shuaibu, PhD, Director General, Government House Administration. 

The letter, obtained by PLATFORM TIMES, addressed to “All Chief Executive Officers Of Hotels Across Kogi State and All General Managers Of Hotels Across Kogi State,” bore the title, ‘Request For Reservation Of All Your Hotel Rooms From 4th November To 12th November, 2023.’

The letter outlined the state government’s intent to rent and occupy all hotel rooms, regardless of size and classification, during the specified period.

 It emphasized that the hotels would be compensated at their standard rates for full room occupation and requested that accommodation bills for this period be submitted promptly.

While the move by the Kogi State Government was met with mixed reactions, some hotel owners expressed concerns that it might be an attempt to deprive opposition parties of a place to stay in the run-up to the elections. 

One hotel owner, speaking anonymously, described the government’s action as a potential challenge for the opposition.

However, another manager of a hotel revealed that they do not intend to comply with the state government’s request. 

The manager expressed concerns that the government might not pay for the rooms and could use threats of demolition and excessive operating charges to enforce their request. 

With the state capital, Lokoja, expected to see an influx of visitors on election day, hotels are hesitant to risk losing customers to occupants who may not settle their bills.

In a similar vein, Imo State, which is also preparing for its governorship election on November 11, witnessed a comparable maneuver by the government.

 In a letter dated October 25, 2023, signed by the Commissioner for Tourism, Barrister Jerry Egbule Egemba, the Imo State Government requested hotel owners in Owerri, the state capital, to reserve their rooms from November 4 to November 12, 2023.

The government’s letter in Imo State echoed the sentiments of its counterpart in Kogi, expressing the intention to rent and occupy all hotel rooms during the specified period and requesting accommodation bills to be submitted promptly.

These actions by both states have raised concerns about political motivations behind the exclusive hotel bookings and have ignited a debate about the government’s role in the upcoming elections. 

It remains to be seen how hotel owners and opposition parties will respond to these controversial requests as the election dates draw closer.

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