#Election2019 - Donald Duke’s Profile

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018 5.30PM / Proshare WebTV 

Donald Duke is a dynamic, visionary and strategic leader who has a deep understanding of National development and cohesion. He is currently a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo,  that seeks to reposition Nigeria’s socio-political space. 

He is considered as one of the finest and pragmatic leaders in Nigeria, with a passion for governance and a hands-on skill for delivering key transformational projects that drive socio-economic development. 

As Governor of Cross River  State (1999-2007) Donald Duke transformed the capital city Calabar into a viable tourism, commercial and sports hub in Nigeria, with the annual “Calabar Festival”, renovation of the “U.J Esuene Stadium” to host national and continental tournaments. Duke also invested in the repositioning of the “Obudu Cattle Ranch” as a leading resort centre in the country, hosting international conferences and the “Obudu Mountain Race”, while his dream to drive  business and tourism in the State, led to the pace-setting 10,000 square meters Tinapa Business resort which was at the period the frontier economic zone project. 

Apart from the tourism and commercial projects, Former Governor Duke led some significant infrastructure projects, improving the road network across the Capital city Calabar and other parts of the State. 

Under his watch as Governor, Calabar the capital city of Cross River State was a beehive of socio-economic activities and a delight for tourists and visitors from various parts of the globe. 

It is not surprising therefore that he has been engaged by other States, since 2007 as a consultant for transformation and beautification projects. 

His transformational leadership has endeared him to many young Nigerians, who see him as a role model leader and politician. In terms of political history, Duke was a member of the G-34 political movement that challenged the Military junta of Late Gen. Sani Abacha for democratic rule in Nigeria.

Prior to his emergence as Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke was the former Commissioner of Finance, Budget &  Planning  to the third republic civilian Governor Dr Clement Ebri and the member of the National Economic Advisory and Intelligence Committee under the Abacha regime. 

Duke a lawyer also forayed into the business as the Chairman of Allied Merchants & Brokers, a Sole Africa franchise for U.S based Uncle Ben’s rice. 

The Charismatic leader is a law graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (1982) and furthered his studies with an LLM in Business Law and Admiralty from University of Pennsylvania (1984). 

In the area of legal practice, Duke teamed up with friends to establish the Lagos based Law Partnership of Onyia & Duke. Through the practice he was able to manage the family’s shipping business, when he became Chief Executive of Hegeds International Limited. 

The former Cross River State Governor was also a member of the Board of Directors at the Voice of Nigeria, which was his first experience in public office. 

His ambition to lead is a decade old as in 2007 he stepped down for Late President Umaru Yaradua, in line with the desire of the then ruling political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

As a principled and focused politician, Governor Duke has since 1999 remained an active member of the Peoples Democratic Party, and there has been no record of him defecting even when his political ambitions had not realized. 

Duke has a rich exposure as his primary education was in Corona and St Mary’s College in Lagos, while he attended the Unity Schools in Sokoto and Ilorin, in the North-West and North-Central regions of Nigeria. 

He is one of the most sought after resource persons and leaders in key conferences that cover economic, socio-political and national development across the country. 

On his renewed ambition to lead Nigeria, it is all about an opportunity to give Africa’s largest democracy dominated by young people, hope and direction. At the moment he remains a member of the PDP and the Coalition for Nigeria Movement. 

An interesting aspect of Governor Donald Duke’s life is his flair for music and his skill in playing the saxophone. He is always a delight to watch when he plays and sings Jazz songs. 

Mr Donald Duke is married to Owanari the former first lady of Cross River State, board member of the United Bank for Africa and a leader of several empowerment programs. They are blessed with the three daughters Xerona, Nella and Donna.  

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