The paramount ruler of Eket Local Government of Akwa Ibom State, Edidem Etim Kingsley Abia has called on the ruling class to ensure that every Nigerian is treated equally, because it is the only panacea for peace and unity of the country.
Abia gave the advice in his palace on Monday when the former military head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon paid him a courtesy visit at his palace in Eket.
The monarch who is a retired permanent secretary in the then South Eastern State, when Gowon was military head of State in the early 70s said the problems facing the country today was as a result of marginalisation.
He averred that if every region of the country had equal treatment in the distribution of the common wealth, agitations and militancy would not have arisen.
According to him, “The only major problem bedevilling Nigeria today is how to live together in peace and harmony, and that can only happen if every Nigerian feels a sense of belonging through equal treatment”.
He added “The country was better off when you, General Gowon restructured the regions by creating twelve States but today after the balkanization of regions into thirty-six states, Nigerians are still asking for restructuring”.
He commended Gowon for his post war “no Victor, no vanquish” and the National Youth Service Corps policies which welded the country together until ethnic politics infested the foundation of equality and unity.
He however described General Yakubu Gowon as the best President Nigeria ever had because after him the country has witnessed series of economic and political upheavals.
Speaking earlier, The former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon relieved the war time experience he had with the Monarch and the late governor of South Eastern State, Brigadier Udokaha Jacob Esuene, who he said was his very close compatriot.
The former Head of State who is now the National coordinator of “Nigeria Prays”, a Christian non denominational group, said they were in Akwa State for the South South prayer conference holding in Uyo.
He showered encomiums on the Paramount ruler who he described as a prudent manager of finance and commended him for his patriotism for the country.
In his entourage were, Captain Paul Tahal, Senator Helen Esuene, Pastor Abel Dinka, Major Sam Adeyomi, pastor Godwin Okafor and Bishop Dan Kashibu among others.
Bassey Willie, Uyo