Imo Concorde Hotel: A Dying Pearl Of The East

concorde hotel
Prior to the administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha in 2011, the Imo Concorde Hotel was known as the Pearl of the East with the hotel bustling almost on daily basis. Damian Duruiheoma reports that such sobriquet seems to have been thrown overboard.
Before now, everything on the landscape of Owerri, the Imo State capital, has had its fame submerged by one of the South East most popular hotels – Imo Concorde Hotels and Casino. Concorde Hotel is popularly known as the five -Star Pearl of the East and is one of the monumental edifices of the state government, having been built by the visionary government of the first civilian Governor of Imo State, Late Chief Sam Mbakwe between 1979 and 1983. Even the claim to fame of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu’s Glass House at Ugwu Orji in the state capital has been equally muffled by the fame of the five star hotels.
The Imo Concorde Hotel and Casino is situated in New Owerri, known as the Concorde Area, within the Owerri metropolis. With the new roads being constructed by both the federal and state governments in the state, the hotel is just less than 30 minutes drive from Port Harcourt International airport and 15 minutes drive from Imo airport. It is accessible from all parts of Nigeria. Its calm and serene environment is just right for business meetings, conferences, training programs, social gatherings and perfect for holidaymakers. Holidaymakers were usually having field days as they came in their numbers with their children to have fun.
The Concorde boom also positively affected other hotels such as All Seasons Hotel, Kelvic Suites, De Legend, Links Hotels, Newcastle, Dreamland Bombolini and many others as they benefited from the large number of guests which clearly outnumbered the available rooms of the seven-storey five-star hotel.

However, since the assumption of office of Governor Rochas Okorocha, the situation has not been the same despite the huge amount spent on renovating the hotel. The hotel has become a ghost of itself with no guests patronising them most of the time.

According to investigations, the downturn of fortune started when the state government decided to privatize the hotel after the renovation. It sold it to ABM Group which brought in a South African firm to manage it. The reason behind the sale, it was learnt, was to restore the hotel to its past glory, for maximum productivity and efficiency.

But available information shows that that is not to be. Speaking with The UNION, a staff of the hotel who preferred to speak under the condition of anonymity said the hotel has no managerial problem. He attributed the problem of the hotel to two factors—state government and its oppositions.

According to him, the problem with the hotel could be traced to the state government which had abandoned it after handing it over to the current management. Usually, he said, bulk of the patronage (both government and individuals) the hotel was getting in the past was courtesy of the state government.

He said in the past, the way the state government was patronizing the hotel in the past gave lodgers and users of the hotel so much confidence that “if you have come to Owerri without visiting Concorde, it means you have not come.

“But, today, the way the current government and its officials are neglecting the hotel is something else. Can you imagine that since 2011, the state government has never held any event here? If the state government does not patronize the hotel, how can any other person come from outside and do same? So, it’s not possible”, he said

The source also said that the attitude of the opposition parties in the state had not helped the hotel.

In his words: Since its sale, Concorde Hotel has become an article of pernicious propaganda. Every opposition member will like to say one bad thing or the other about the hotel and when outsiders read this it only gives the impression that the standard of the hotel has fallen. But that is not true. Concorde still remains the pearl of the East. Even those speaking ills about the hotel, have never patronized it for one day and yet, they will be the ones to say Concorde in not functioning.

Apart from these, he said those criticisng the hotel for not running at its full capacity were people who used to use the hotel lobby as their resting place without having any business in the hotel.

“The new management introduced security measures where people are not allowed to stay in the hotel beyond five minutes without having any business here. In the past, people will come and cluster here without having any business. Sometimes such people turn out to be criminals trailing their victims. So, we have stopped all that”.

The UNION findings showed that because of lack of serious patronage, the hotel management could no longer meet up with its obligations such as paying the staff and electricity bills.

It was gathered that many of the staff it inherited from the state government had been retrenched with the management recruiting “people it can afford to pay”.

Now, instead of the normal salaries paid to Concorde Hotel staff using the government’s salary grade levels, the workers now receive stipends between N15,000 to N30,000 monthly.

This did not help the issue as people who came to do business in the hotel, have one form of complaint or the other to make.

Just recently, representatives of a Malaysian firm, KCS Megatech International, were embarrassed beyond measure when dignitaries and participants at a security seminar they organised in Concorde Hotel, Owerri, dispersed unceremoniously following a three-hour power outage in the five-star hotel.

The seminar, organised in collaboration with the Imo State Investment Promotion Agency, ISIPA, was intended to present the modern security gadgets that would guide security organizations, hospitality and financial institutions in the state to secure their environment and property.
 concorde hotel 2
It had the Chief of staff to the governor of the state, Sir Jude Ejiogu; commissioner for petroleum and environment and supervising commissioner for transport and tourism, Prof. Okey Okoro, the commissioner of police, represented by DCP David Folawiwo; special assistant to Imo state governor on security, Barr. Okey Okorocha, the Anglican Bishop of Ikwerre Diocese, RT. Rev. Blessing Enyindah; chairman of KCS Megatech Nigeria, Brig-Gen. Alton Ama and top management of business organizations in the state with Malaysian representatives, Mr. Sam Ngik and Mr. Jane Francois.
The seminar which was scheduled to commence by 3 pm, could not start till around 4pmbecause of lack of electricity in the expansive Sam Mbakwe Hall of the hotel.
But when it eventually commenced, no sooner had the commissioner of police been called upon to present his speech than the light went off and was never restored till 7.00 pm, a development that forced the organizers to postpone the event.
Because of the importance of the seminar, the participants exercised some patience, hoping the hotel would use its back-up generating set. But after about 30 minutes of waiting without electricity, dignitaries started leaving in annoyance, accusing the state government of selling the once bustling hotel to incompetent managers.
Speaking with journalists, the state Commissioner for petroleum and environment and supervising commissioner for transport and tourism, Prof. Okey Okoro blamed the management of the hotel for trying to run the hotel aground.
According to him, the state government had spent so many resources to ensure the hotel was in a better stead to compete with others around the world.
He simply said the government would find a solution to the problem bedeviling the hotel.


  1. It is not proper to accuse the Imo state government for not patronizing the Hotel; they don’t have to. It is the responsibility of the Hotel Management to find a suitable advertising and sales manager capable of designing the appropriate marketing-mix for the hotel to remain profitable. Learn to provide excellent service that can exceed customers’ expectation, and the only way to achieve this goal is to hire the right caliber of workers. Mediocrity is part of the problems, and not the State government!!

    H.U. Nwachukwu

  2. the author damian duruiheoma is an idiot. am not from imo, am from enugu bu you guys in imo are corrupt touts. always worshipping hotels. raping undergraduate students in hotels…what else do u do in hotels? useless journalists

  3. Late governor Sam Mbakwe built Imo Concord Hotel in record time, his successors can’t even manage it. Governor Okorocha set up to build three hotels in the three cities of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe, the three hotels have remained unrealized three years after they were conceived. Private Hotels instead are springing up all over the capital city.

    SO, SIT UP

  5. Like this article, truely Imo Concord Hotel is in big shambles. 1. Why should the Governor privatise it? 2. Why did the Governor has to build his own hotel here inthe Capital city, knowing fully well that the State owns her hotel? 3. Why is that Governor doesn’t patronise the hotel? Since the governor owns a hotel and most of the honourable members owns hotel, it means that there’s no way Concord will hv costumers. During the time of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, honestly most of the government events takes place there, examples: Independence Gala Nite, South East Governor’s forum etc. Even wen some of the federal digintries visits Imo State, they re bn lodged there. Pls, from my own observation, I think the Government should look into the problem of the hotel. Is it the Staff that has not bn paied for so long now? It is a total disappointment to the State. Pls, the State Government should bring Imo Concord Hotel to its past glory.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here