Crisis brews in Anambra ADP over tenure extension

Crisis has begun to brew in Anambra State Agricultural Development Programme (ASADEP) popularly known as ADP, over alleged plan to extend the tenure of office of the Programme Manager, Mr Jude Nwankwo, who is said to have been due for retirement since October 2023.

Four zonal Managers of ADP have rejected the extension of tenure of office of the State Programme Manager of ADP, Mr Nwankwo, whose tenure of office they claimed expired last October, 2023.

They, therefore, urged the State government to prevail on Mr Nwankwo to hand over to the next in command in ADP and proceed to retirement and also requested for the withdrawal of any letter of extension given to him.

Led by Zonal Manager of ADP Onitsha Zone, Mr Emmanuel Nnabueze, those against the tenure extension said any attempt by the State government to allow the extension to stand, would cause crisis and set bad precedence in ADP in the

In a petition by Mr Nnabueze, dated 6th October 2023 to the Head of Service Anambra State, copied to Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and to the Director, Department of Agriculture, he said that the State ADP, for the purpose of effective agricultural extension activities had four agricultural zones, namely Aguata zone, Anambra zone, Awka zone, Onitsha zone, with the heads of zones being zonal Managers who were the hubs of agricultural extension activities.

“The Programme Manager, coordinates ADP and its activities in the State and must be a civil servant. Three Programme Managers have served and left before Mr Nwankwo the incumbent came in and ADP did not collapse and the exit of the incumbent will not make it to collapse.

“We, therefore, urge Governor Charles Soludo, not to allow such extension because of the crisis it is already brewing. Anambra State ADP, has had as its Programme Managers, Dr C.O.B Obiechina, 1990 to 2009, Mr Leo Imoka 2009 to 2014, Mr Clement Oguebue, 2014 to 2017 and Mr Jude Nwankwo, 2017 till date.

“The State ADC commenced activities in 2008 under the pioneer Programme Manager Dr C.O.B Obiechina and continued till date. Every project has profile, target beneficiaries (the farmers), time frame, cost, implementation team, and what makes ADP the darling of donor agencies and other benefactors is structure.

“Projects are not shrouded in secrecy and any project that does not involve the zonal Managers and extension officers is not existing in the ADP. So, Mr Jude Nwankwo, the current Programme Manager who is supposed to have retired in October this year (2023) cannot get extension after retirement for any reason.

The extension letter he has obtained to continue his stay in office as the Programme Manager, on the pretext that he is coordinating a project is illegal and unacceptable that is the basis for this petition.

“We oppose such letter of extension of tenure based on the fact that as members of Programmme Management Unit (PMU) no issue concerning any project was raised and discussed in any of our meetings and no such project is existing in any of the four agricultural zones in the State.

“In the organorgam of the ADP, the Programme Manager is under the PMU and all his actions as well as that of every staff of the ADP depends on the decision of the PMU. The Programme Manager of ADP is usually a serving civil servant. Since its inception till date, the ADP Programme Manager has never been a retiree.

“The ADP is part of the civil service of Anambra State and should be guided by the Civil service rules and procedures. As at today ADP has five (5) competent Deputy Directors (Agriculture). It is, therefore, preposterous to retain Mr. Jude Nwankwo as the Programme Manager of ASADEP.

‘If Dr C.O.B Obiechina, the pioneer Programme Manager, left ADP and the system did not collapse, I make bold to say that the ADP will even be better and stronger without Mr Jude Nwankwo.

“Sir, I pray that Mr Jude Nwankwo should adopt the normal procedures followed by retiring officers by handing over to the most senior staff in the ADP, and any letter of extension given to him should be withdrawn.”

When contacted on Monday for reaction, Mr Nwankwo declined comment and insisted that the reporter should come to his office in Awka. When told that he could react without being visited in Awka, he said he was driving that he would call back. Efforts to speak with him on Wednesday again failed.

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