The Governor Hope Uzodinma-led Imo State government has taken over all the hotel rooms in Owerri, the state capital from November 4 to November 12, 2023, as the state goes into the governorship election on November 11.
The taking over of all the hotel rooms in the state capital no matter the quality, sizes, prices and locations, was announced in a letter dated October 25, 2023, signed by the Commissioner for Tourism, Barrister Jerry Egbule Egemba, and sent to all the General Managers of hotels in Owerri.
“I wish to refer to the above subject and inform you that the Ministry of Tourism intends to rent and occupy all the rooms in your hotel no matter the size and classification from Saturday, 4th November to Saturday 12th November 2023 at your usual cost per room for full occupation.
“I therefore request you to submit to my office before 12 noon tomorrow, Thursday 26th October, 2023, details of your accommodation bills for all the rooms covering the period for settlement.
“Your urgent cooperation would be appreciated, please,” the letter read.
In his reaction on his X (formerly Twitter) page on Monday, a popular human rights lawyer and former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, said the state government taking over all the hotel rooms in the state capital was for the purpose of rigging the forthcoming governorship election.
Describing it as an organised crime, Odinkalu said, “The govt of Imo State will take over all hotel rooms in the state capital 4-11 Nov for purposes of rigging the governorship election by housing election administrators, election monitors, embedded reporters, etc.
“This is organized crime made to look like a legit transaction.”