The newest Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde who was officially recognised as the number one citizen of the state on Wednesday after he took the oath of office alongside his deputy, Alhaji Rauf Olaniyan, has made a declaration that the state cannot afford to pay its workers the N30,000 minimum wage issued by the Federal Government, due of its limited resources.
Makinde stated this in his inaugural speech shortly after the state Chief Judge, Justice Muntar Abimbola, administered the oath of office to him and his deputy at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan.
“I am taking this opportunity to solicit your support. We are going to be taking decisions that may be tough in the immediate but will have long-term benefits. We want you to look at the big picture. We want you to focus on the goal.”
“For example, I have always said that the Oyo State civil servants deserve to earn a whole lot more for their dedication and service to the state. Recently, the Federal Government announced a new salary scheme in which the lowest cadre of civil servants are expected to earn at least N30,000 per month.”
“I know how access to this type of money will improve the lives of many of the families that I have had direct contact with. However, with the way the Oyo State account currently stands, I will be deceiving you if I say we are capable of taking on this burden.”
“I believe in true federalism. I believe the states should decide the minimum wage of their workforce based on individual realities. All states are not created equal, so it is against the principle of fairness to apply a blanket rule to govern them all.”
However, the Governor promised to invest more in the education sector with a view to increasing eenrolment in public schools and thus reducing the number of out-of-school children, which he put at 400,000 in the state. On That basis he scrapped the N3,000 tuition per pupil in the state secondary schools.
“Effective immediately, the school fees of N3,000 in state-owned secondary schools is hereby abolished. We want enrolments to go up, we want our children off the streets and in the classrooms. We are throwing the school doors wide open. Whoever opens a school door opens an opportunity. We are opening opportunities for a brighter future,” he said.
He added that his administration would open access to quality health delivery to the people, saying that existing health facilities would be upgraded.
The governor, who admitted that the greatest challenge confronting the state was poverty, promised to tackle it with investment in agriculture. Makinde also promised to donate his salary to the state’s “suffering pensioners.”
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