My name is Donald Duke and I was born on Sept 30th, 1961 in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, to the family of Henry and Genevieve Duke.
As a young boy, my parents noticed I had a growing interest in music, so they quickly got me a music instructor. Today I am an ardent music lover and I play the saxophone rather well.
A fair education
My formal education began at Corona School in Lagos and for my secondary education I attended Unity Schools in Sokoto and Ilorin.
My desire to understand the levels of power in society, amongst other things, led me to study Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1982, I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and later attended the University of Pennsylvania where I obtained my LLM.
In high demand
My experience in the corporate world began in 1985 at the age of 24 with Onyia & Duke where I practiced as a Corporate Lawyer till 1988. I proceeded to becoming Managing Director at Hegeds International Limited till 1991. I became Director at Heisler Resources Limited and Stonehedge Investment Limited between 1991 and 1992. At the same time, I was also a member of the Voice of Nigeria.
My corporate ascent continued and in 1994, I became Chairman of Allied Merchants & Brokers Limited, holding that position for five years.
A Taste of Politics
In 1980, whilst at the University, I contested and won elections into the Students Union Executive as Social Secretary; and there, began my political journey.
I was appointed Secretary of the Cross River State Government Transition Committee between 1991 and 1992 and Cross River Commissioner for Finance & Planning from 1992 to 1993. Other executive positions I held include Chairman of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee in 1993, Chairman of the Cross River State Committee on Privatization and Commercialization in 1993, Member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee; The Presidency in 1997, Member of the Federal Economic Council in 1997, Chairman of the Privatization Committee for the National Fertilizer Company (NAFCON) in 1998 and Member of the Federal Capital Budget Monitoring Committee also in 1998.
At 37, I knew I was ready to serve the people of Cross River State and I began to nurture the ambition of becoming Governor. I wanted so much to make a difference and having garnered substantial corporate and political experience, I was resolute in my determination to serve so I didn’t back down. I won and became Governor of Cross River State in 1999 and was re-elected for a second term in 2003.
Shaping The Future
In the course of my eight years as Governor, I succeeded in transforming Cross River from a civil service state, to a tourist destination by establishing TINAPA; Africa’s Premier Business Resort, the Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort and the Calabar Carnival; a yearly event attracting tourists from around the world.
I was also successful at developing an environmental sanitation plan that got Cross Rivers State the reputation of being the cleanest state in Nigeria throughout my tenure and in 2002, I was able to establish the Cross Rivers State University of Technology (CRUTECH) to provide quality education at the tertiary level to young Nigerians.
After leaving political office, I was awarded, Commander of the Order of Niger (CON) in 2008 and have continued to work in the private sector where I remain committed to contributing towards urban development, environment, agriculture, communication, information, and governance; as well as tourism and unit investment.
Why I Want to Become President
Here I am in 2019, running for the office of President of Nigeria. I have served in various capacities and therefore have the experience and track record to prove that I can indeed deliver. As usual, I am not listening to the naysayers. Instead, I am driven by a strong desire to do what they say cannot be done; re-build this great nation. Very importantly, I very much desire a Nigeria, where everyone matters and I desire to be old and grey knowing that I did the very best with the opportunities I had.
Some of My Awards
Nigerian Bar Association, Ikorodu Branch - Excellence in Governance Award 2009.
Catholic Young Men Association - Award of Honour, 25th July 2010
Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) - APBN Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of your Sterling Qualities, Integrity and Transparency in all your dealings as a Professional – 28/9/2010
Hope Waddell Society of Music, (HOWASOM) - Award of Honour as most outstanding contributor to music development in Cross River State, 5th Dec., 2010
Some of My Awards
MOFINEWS Excellence Award - Award for transforming Cross River State and Nurturing MOFINEWS to fruition – 17th November, 2011
CANAAN Ladies Association - Diamond Award for Excellent and distinguished Service to Cross River State and Humanity – 19th October, 2012
Cross River Movie Award - Special Merit Award for pioneer in movie productions in Cross River State – 28th September, 2013
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) - NIPR Excellence Award for Enterprise and Urban Renewal 25th October, 2014
Obudu Mountain Race - Recognition Award – as Initiator of Obudu Mountain Race - November 8, 2014