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