The paramount ruler of Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Edidem Etim Charles Abia, has called on the ruling class to ensure that every Nigerian is treated equally, as a panacea to peace and unity of the country.
The first class monarch, who is the Atta Ekid Afid I, gave the advice in his palaceTuesday when a former military head of state, Major General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), paid him a courtesy call in his palace.
The monarch, who was a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, South Eastern State, when Gowon was military head of state in the early 70s, said the problems facing the country today were as a result of marginalisation.
He said that if every region of the country had equal treatment in the distribution of the common wealth, agitations and militancy would not have arisen.
“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 said.
“The country was better off when you (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:, Edidem Abia noted.
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.
Edidem Abia said that General Yakubu Gowon remains the best President Nigeria ever had because after him the country has witnessed series of economic and political upheavals.
Speaking earlier, General Gowon relieved the war time experience he had with the Monarch and the late governor of South Eastern State, Brigadier U. J. 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.