DAUD OLATUNJI writes on the current state of desolation of what was once the pride of Ogun State, the Gateway Hotel, Ota, owing to a political war among the state’s gladiators
Despite its strategic location and proximity to Lagos, the commercial centre of Nigeria, the Gateway Hotel, Ota, one of the three hotels established by the late former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, has been abandoned and is currently in ruins.
The Gateway Hotel, Ota, is located less than 100 metres away from the old Sango tollgate, a location that serves as the boundary between Lagos and Ogun states. The once magnificent edifice sits on the right when coming into Sango from Lagos.
The administration of Onabanjo, who was the first democratically-elected governor of the state between October 1979 and December 1983, built three hotels in the 1980s while holding sway on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria to demonstrate equal distribution of wealth in Ogun State.
The administration had situated the hotels in the three senatorial districts in the state – Egba, Yewa/Awori and Ijebu.
The one for Ijebu was situated in Ijebu-Ode and has now become Equity Resort Hotel; the one for Egba is situated in the Kuto area of Abeokuta, the state capital, and has become the Park Inn by Radisson, while the one for Yewa/Awori remains the Gateway Hotel, Ota, which is located along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
Findings show that the Gateway Hotel, Ota, is the biggest of the three with 350 rooms and suites.
The three were built as five-star rated hotel complexes with world-class facilities. They had beautiful landscapes, Olympic-size swimming pools, conference rooms, event halls, tennis courts and shopping plazas.
After some years, the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel between 2003 and 2011 gave out the three hotels to private investors as concession for a period of 25 years.
Daniel claimed that it gave out the facilities as concession because they were being run at a loss. He lamented that since they were established, only N27m had been realised from the three hotels.
Eight years later, the Ibikunle Amosun administration, which was in the saddle between 2011 and 2019, set up a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the state properties sold or given out as concessions by his predecessor.
The report of the commission was published by the state government in February 2012. It was established that Gateway Hotel, Ota, was given to MIDC Limited as a concession and sub-leased to ARTEE Industries Limited.