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Governors Not Against Living Wage – Oyebanji


Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has reassured workers that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) supports the approval of a living wage for Nigerian workers.

He clarified that the NGF’s primary concern is ensuring fiscal federalism, allowing individual states the financial capability to sustainably implement such a wage increase.

Oyebanji spoke at the 7th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in Ado-Ekiti.

He said, “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.”

Highlighting the importance of collaboration between the government and civil servants, Governor Oyebanji encouraged Ekiti State workers to embrace agriculture as a means of economic empowerment.

He announced the allocation of over 2,000 hectares of cleared land, free of charge, to interested residents of Ekiti for agricultural purposes.

According to him, “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 acknowledged the pivotal role of civil servants in driving the state’s development agenda, emphasizing their contribution to achieving the Six Pillars of his administration’s goals.

He expressed his commitment to learning from the experiences of civil servants and fostering a collaborative relationship for effective governance.

“As major stakeholders in our state’s development, civil servants are integral to our success,” Governor Oyebanji affirmed. “This conference is not just a gathering but an opportunity for mutual learning and exchange of ideas to enhance public administration.”

“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.”

Meanwhile, at another forum, the governor promised to use good governance to reduce brain drain in Ekiti State.

Speaking at an interactive session titled ‘Youths Let’s Talk With BAO’ held at the Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado Ekiti, the Governor emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment that retains young, productive individuals within Ekiti.

Acknowledging the concerns of youth migration, while addressing the youths numbering over 1,000 drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state, Oyebanji said no efforts will be spared to ensure that productive and economically viable youths find Ekiti attractive to live in and do their businesses.

He said, “This is a democracy, we can’t stop anybody from travelling to wherever he likes, but we have a duty to create an enabling environment to stop Jappa syndrome. Jappa is not about travelling abroad alone, you can leave Ekiti and travel to Lagos or other states.

“We will work hard and make Ekiti a place where people can work and live. We will make it a place where investment can thrive, where security is guaranteed and where businesses can flourish. It is about providing jobs for a large population of our youths”.

Addressing recent security challenges in Ado Ekiti and beyond, the Governor urged youths to reject cultism, drug abuse, and violence, emphasizing that viewing Nigeria negatively could hinder their prospects.

He pledged his administration’s commitment to enhancing transportation infrastructure for youth farmers along the Ipao-Oke Ako-Irele axis to ensure their economic activities are not adversely affected.

Governor Oyebanji also called for unity among youth groups, assuring them that his government’s programs would be inclusive and non-politicized.

He highlighted his administration’s efforts in youth development, including appointments of numerous youths into various governmental roles and initiatives such as the establishment of modern youth centres and the Adire Hub to promote local textile businesses.

The Youth Parliament, representing all 16 local government areas of Ekiti State, expressed overwhelming support for Governor Oyebanji, endorsing him for a second term.

Speaker Nathaniel Olusanya commended the Governor for prioritizing youth inclusion in governance and credited him with ensuring a secure future for Ekiti’s youth population.

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