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The oxidation state of Ni in the first compound is +2. To find this we see that the charge on CN is -1. There is 4 of these cyanide ions, bringing a total charge for these ions to -4. The overall charge of the compound is -2 and so to get from -4 to -2 this must leave Ni with an oxidation state of +2. (-4+2=-2)! In the second compound, we have 2 Hydroxy ions each with a charge of -1, for a total of -2. The H2O molecules are neutral with no charge and so still the charge on this molecule stands at -2. However as we can see this molecule has no overall charge and so to get from -2 to 0 this leaves Ni with a charge of +2 again.
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