Full Biography of Donald Duke

Donald Duke picks Junaid Mohammed presidential as running mate

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Donald Duke was born on 30th of September, 1961 in Calabar, Duke was born to Henry Etim Duke a great fan of Walt Disney, and the second indigenous (after Ayodele Diyan) and longest ever serving Controller General (then referred to as Chairman board of Customs and excise duties) of the Nigerian Customs service.

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Generally regarded as one of the most successful governors in the history of the Nigerian Republic, he was born in Calabar on the 30th of September 1961 to Mr. Henry Etim Duke and Mrs. Genevieve Duke. Raised by his parents to value hard work and the pursuit of knowledge, Duke grew up knowing and acknowledging the necessity of education. After finishing his primary and secondary education in the West and Northern parts of the country respectively, he went on to the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria where he had his first taste of politics, running for office in the Students Association of the Institute of Administration. He went on to graduate with his LLB as an Honour Student in 1982 and was also called to the Bar in 1983 after his training at the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Law School.

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His unending thirst for knowledge led him to further his education at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, one of the revered Ivy League schools in the United States of America. While at the University of Pennsylvania he bagged his Master of Law Degree with a specialization in International Business Law and Admiralty.

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After his study, he worked to gain some professional experience before returning to Nigeria to run a successful law firm and shipping business. The call to serve the people came not too long after. Following his appointment as a member of the Board of Directors of Voice of Nigeria, Duke was appointed the Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning in Cross River State in 1992 at the age of 30. Although his tenure was cut short by the 1993 coup which saw power return to the hands of the military, it became clear that Donald Duke was a man dedicated to the service of the people.

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This was proven to be true when he was elected by the people of Cross River to become the first governor of Cross River in the fourth Republic of Nigeria. Following his election as governor in 1999 aged 37, he hit the ground running, setting up projects to improve the lives of Cross Riverians as he had promised them in his inauguration speech. Under his leadership, Cross River state enjoyed advancement in the area of tourism with the introduction of the Calabar Carnival, which became a staple event of the Christmas period across the continent. With more investments coming from tourism, he channeled this into creating more avenues to show off the beauty of his state by initiating the development of the famous Obudu Cattle Ranch and Tinapa Beach resort, both of which became holiday destinations for people from afar and near. The introduction of these projects created an avenue for the growth of agriculture and education amongst other areas in the state and staying true to his philosophy, Donald Duke ensured that healthcare was a focal point of his leadership even as he spearheaded programs that helped decrease the spread of the AIDS virus in the state. His introduction of agricultural programs across the state sparked an enormous decrease in unemployment and crime. Within and without, Donald Duke is hailed as man of the people who chooses to lead instead of rule.

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Also a talented musician, Donald Duke is known to thrill guests with his skills on the saxophone, and members of his family who play with him in his band often join him. He and his wife, Onari are blessed with three daughters, Xerona, Nela and Donna.

 

His Presidential ambition?

This is not the first time Donald Duke is seeking election as Nigeria’s President. In 2006, he announced that he was going to run for the 2007 elections but eventually stepped aside for the eventual winner, Umar Yar’adua. In 2011, he was also part of the Election process.

While his chance of clinching the Presidential ticket regardless of what party he runs on may be slim, his experience as a public servant and his vocal stance against corruption portray him as a good candidate.