As Imo people await the declaration of the winner of the gubernatorial election, hotel managers, and food vendors are already counting their gains following massive patronage by guests.
From Thursday, hotels all by politicians, election observers, journalists, security operatives, and even political thugs.
A visit to Rock View Hotel besides the Imo Government House showed all the roads leading in and out totally blocked with vehicles even as pedestrians struggled with space.
A staff who pleaded anonymity said all their rooms were filled with high profile politicians, security operatives, and election observers.
The situation room of civil society organisations (CSOs) was also set up there to collate reports from their observers across the state.
All the car parks in Immaculate Hotel, Protea Hotel, King’s Kin, Bonnolini, Kelvic Suites, Bon Tripod, and several others were filled to capacity with guests.
Journalists from outside Owerri who arrived on Friday said they had a tough time before they secured accommodation, as all the rooms had been fully booked.
Food vendors had a field day attending to hungry customers as well as bar owners from Thursday night.
A food vendor who gave her name as Chioma said since Wednesday, she had been attending to several police operatives in her Shell Camp shop, which was a stone throw from the state headquarters of the police command.
A journalist, Nnamdi Iheagwaram, had told NATIONAL ECONOMY that the number of security operatives in the state was alarming.
Other brisk businesses that thrived include bars where people stepped in to drink and have an overview of the state.
Others were Abacha hawkers (cassava flakes garnished with vegetable), suya sellers, and phone charger sellers for those who forgot to travel with theirs.
Pharmacies also got their fair share of business as demand for especially for stomach upsets and contraceptives surged from Thursday.
All over the Owerri capital are scattered debris of soft drink containers, energy drinks, and cellophane dropped by eaters and drinkers.
This is the case in Bayelsa following Saturday’s off-cycle governorship election. There have been influx of people coming into Yenagoa, the state capital, unlike when there was no elections.
It was observed that from Tuesday, November 7, to Friday, November 10, 2023, the hotel industry and the small- scale businesses have recorded increase in profit following the large numbers of visitors including election observers, security agencies and national leadership of the various political parties that had trooped into the state for the governorship election.
Evidently, businesses have experienced high patronage from both residents and the visitors and the business owners see it as an opportunity to increase prices of rooms and commodities in spite of the economic situation in the country.
According to an election observer from Abuja, Justice Nwachukwu, he paid five thousand naira to get accommodation in a small guest house, adding that the size and interior of the room was not commensurate to the amount he paid.
“I just needed a place to sleep till morning. On a normal circumstances, I would not pay that amount of money for a room like that. I am sure I will not be going back there after today,” he said.
Also at polling stations in Kogi State local water and drinks sellers found themselves at the centre of a brisk business boom.
However, NATIONAL ECONOMY observed that all other major business activities in the town were closed in the Confluence State.
The scorching weather, combined with the enthusiastic turnout, led to increased demand for refreshments among voters exercising their democratic rights.
From bottled water to local chilled beverages such as ‘kunu and zobo’, these vendors witnessed a surge in sales as voters queued up to cast their ballots.
The bustling atmosphere around polling centers created a lucrative opportunity for these small businesses, with many customers seeking relief from the heat.
A bottled water vendor, Hassana Habib, expressed her elation with the overwhelming patronage during the Kogi gubernatorial election.
“I’m very happy, as you can see my drinks and water are finished. I want to rush home to restock,” she joyfully declared, highlighting the brisk business she experienced throughout the day.
Another woman in the business, Kemi Adewale, shared Habib’s enthusiasm, stating, “I am happy as I made sales.”
The double satisfaction echoed the sentiment of several vendors who found the high demand for beverages a welcome surprise on election day.
As these sellers prepare to restock and reflect on their successful day of sales, their experiences shed light on the unexpected economic impact that elections can have on local businesses, turning them into unexpected beneficiaries of the democratic process.