APC kicks as INEC lists PDP chiefs’ hotels in Rivers as collation centres
Plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State to deploy some hotels owned by topnotchers of one political party as sensitive election centres has attracted the instant objection of kingpins of the rival political parties.
One of those kicking against the move, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said in a statement in Port Harcourt Monday, January 9, 2023, that use of such hotels as Registration Area Collation Centers (RACC) and Registration Area Centres (RAC) for Port Harcourt City LGA would be unacceptable.
Eze, the erstwhile national publicity secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and now chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), named some of the hotels as Landmark and Visa Karena.
He said the hotels have been listed by INEC in Rivers State for the stockpiling of sensitive materials and collation of unit results in the 2023 general election.
In the statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, the party chief said a peep into the list of RACC and RAC for Port Harcourt City LGA released by INEC revealed that Landmark Hotels owned by Olaka Nwogu, a former federal lawmaker and ally of Wike and Visa Karena Hotel owned by Sergeant Chidi Awuse, another PDP stalwart and Wike’s henchman, featured as RAC for Orominieke and Oroworukwo communities.
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He went on to mention others such as White Palace Hotel, Bebec Hotel, Hotel Dance, Comfort Hotel, White House Hotel, Maas Central Hotel, Danny T. Hotel, Orange Sea Hotel, Stanza Guest House, Thailand Place, Mainland Hotel, Ilo Garden Hotel, Mina Hotel, Otunkwe Guest House and Rachael Hotel.
“The ownership or management of the afore-listed hotels are directly or indirectly linked to the PDP and Governor Wike, therefore, short-listing them as RAC for the purpose of the 2023 elections will undermine the status of INEC as an unbiased umpire and jeopardise the Commission’s reputation built over the years,” Eze said.
He, thus called on the Commission to rescind and withdraw its approval of the properties owned by members of the PDP for use as RAC and revert to the use of public schools or community halls as is the case in other local government areas.
“Same purpose for which the above-listed private properties were approved can be taken care of by government schools and town halls in the area such as Oroworukwo Town Hall, RumuWoji Town Hall, State School, Elekahia, State School, Orominieke, Ogbumnuabali Town Hall, etc.”
Expressing confidence that INEC and its officials will remain neutral in the discharge of the Commission’s responsibilities, Eze reminded officers of the commission that INEC is at the glare of the world and should be courageous to do the right thing at all times and provide a level playing ground, secure the Commission’s image and protect Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
At the time of filing in this report, INEC in the state was yet to react to the protest or justify the listing of the said hotels.