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How Enugu Hotel Presidential Became Cattle Grazing Field

eNUGU (1)Residents and visitors to Enugu metropolis may never come to terms with  the abandonment of  Enugu Hotel Presidential, renowned as the ‘Pride of the East, during the  eight years administration of  former Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State.

Built after independence as part of the defunct  Eastern Government’s industrialization plan created under the late premier, Dr. Mike Ihuonuka Okpara, which was later bequeathed to the state after the first republic,the gigantic 100-room  edifice has become a grazing field for cattle and household animals.

Situated close to the three-arm zone housing the Lion Building,seat of government,the hotel, which used to be a tourist centre, yielding impressive revenue as of  the time of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani,was  abandoned by  the Chime administration,

leading to its present decrepit state. With a unique mesh of recreational and lifestyle elements, the hotel was a popular destination for Nigerians and foreign visitors.

Back in the days when the hotel was open to the  public, it  offered 100 rooms on four floors with recreational facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and a nightclub considered  among the best.

Reports had it that  the Chime administration had planned,  with a team of private investors, to transform the former pride of eastern Nigeria, through  a  concession granted to E-Hospitality Services Limited,EHSL, expected to gulp N4billion  renovation. Enugu-based lawyer,Ray Nnaji,last Thursday, in a chat with Sunday Vanguard,alleged that the  Chime  administration sold the hotel  even as he renewed his demand on the Economic  and  Financial Crimes  Commission, EFCC,seeking the former governor’s  prosecution.

When Sunday Vanguard visited the  hotel, which is approximately 15 minutes drive by car from the Akanu Ibiam Enugu International airport,it was discovered that it has become a grazing field. This was even as all the doors,windows, window frames and other fittings have been  carted  away.

The hotel would have played a key role in facilitating business and socio-economic activities across the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones. Unconfirmed reports  say the immediate past administration granted multiple concessions to investors at the twilight of its tenure which  are  now subject of litigation as claims and counter claims are made in a desperate bid to possess the once prestigious hotel which stood as the symbol of the old  Eastern Region.

Chime sold it         —Nnaji

Nnaji renewed his demand  on the  EFCC,seeking Chime’s prosecution  over the alleged sale of the hotel. Nnaji,a former National Auditor of the People Democratic Party,PDP,said he was losing sleep following the decrepit state of the hotel. During the chat  with Sunday Vanguard,a crest fallen Nnaji said: “It is no longer news that former governor Chime  sold  Enugu Hotel Presidential.

I had petitioned the EFCC over this matter and they have not done anything as regards investigation. The place has been dilapidated and turned to a grazing reserve following its abandonment.

“The hotel should have been generating revenue in form of Internal Generated Revenue,IGR,for the state, especially now that there is  crude oil glut at the international market. “Enugu people are losing in the employment they are supposed to source if the hotel was functional. We must not keep quiet on this financial malfeasance  as he and his associates sold  our collective patrimony.

The revenue generated if the hotel was functional could have been channelled to infrastructural development that will alleviate the suffering of the people. “Go round Enugu,you cannot point to one functional state-owned company as a result of Chime’s eight years mal-administration.

The result is what we are experiencing now as the revenue board is over-taxing individual businesses because the state is not buoyant. That is because there is no revenue from companies like Hotel Presidential. Apart from the fact that he  sold  the hotel, he could not develop it. “That was the same thing he did  with  Enugu International Conference Centre, ICC.

The place was sold  until this present administration came in to salvage the rot. The ICC could have been giving the state at least N1 billion annually in form of revenue apart from  employment. But he has sold everything and the state is hanging on the balance now”.



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