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Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has stated that the state governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), are not opposed to approving a living wage for Nigerian workers.

Ekiti News reports that the Governor made this clarification at the 7th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.

Governor Oyebanji said the NGF is advocating for fiscal federalism, which would allow individual states to have the ability and capability to pay a living wage.

He added that since no state in the Federation wants to retrench its workforce, it is essential for each state to determine what it can afford without leading to eventual downsizing.

According to him, “The NGF is not against the living wage, no Governor is against the minimum wage, but what we are saying is that it must reflect fiscal federalism, ability and capacity to pay. No Governor wants to retrench, if there is a minimum wage today without a concurrent increment in what we are earning, no state can pay, and that is the conversation we are having- that, look, we want to give you a living wage, but we must look at what comes to the states and whatever is in the best interest of the states and the workers, we will do.

“My appeal to civil servants is that those who would like to be part of our Agriculture Revolution should form themselves into cooperative societies and approach the Ministry of Agriculture for support.

“It may be difficult to support individually but when you form yourselves into cooperatives, many opportunities are available now. We are clearing land free of charge, we are giving inputs and we are going to buy from you. As I speak today, we have cleared more than 2,000 hectares across Ekiti State.

Governor Oyebanji reiterated the pivotal role civil servants play in the growth and development of the state, particularly in achieving the Six Pillars of his administration.

He emphasized that any commendations the administration has received for its achievements are directly attributable to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers.

He said, “I have come here today to associate and rejoice with you as major stakeholders in our body polity. More importantly, I am also here to learn from you and to share your experience. As you know, the civil service is a reservoir of talents where you can find all professionals of different callings and experiences.

“A conference like this does not benefit the senior civil servants alone, it is an avenue for all of us to learn from one another, cross-fertilize ideas, and share experiences. I am therefore not just here as a Special Guest of Honour, I am here as a student of Public Administration.”

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