* APC chieftain had kicked over listing of hotels owned by PDP chiefs as RACC, RAC
By Ignatius Chukwu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has denied listing private hotels as placed for major activities in the elections.
Its plans to deploy some hotels owned by topnotchers of one political party as sensitive election centres had attracted the instant objection of kingpins of the rival political parties.
One of those kicking against the move, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said in a statement in Port Harcourt earlier 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 People’s 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 elections.
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.
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 Gov. 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 jeopardize the commission’s reputation built over the years.”
Eze 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.
INEC in the state which did not respond to inquiries has however denied such a move. The head of voter education and publicity, Barr Isaac Osulor, told newsmen at the Correspondents Week opening ceremony that what was reported was an error which does not exist, though the internet version of the matter still displayed the hotels for the RACC, RACs.