Donald Duke is a Nigerian politician and the former governor of Cross River State, Nigeria. He belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He was born on September 30, 1961 in Calabar to Henry Etim Duke who is 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 Nigeria Customs service.
He received LLB degree in 1982 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria, the B.L in 1983 from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and the L.L.M. in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania.
Donald Duke pushed for democracy and against military control. He has also been praised for his contributions to the fields of agriculture, urban development, government, environment, information and communication, investment drive, and tourism.
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He is the brain behind the creation of the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race which grew to become one of the most lucrative mountain running competitions in the world under his stewardship. In 2005, he created a special reserve fund for the state to cushion the effect of unforeseeable economic challenges that may occasion uncertainty in the state’s Internally generated revenue, as well as monthly allocation from the federal government.
He is also the originator of the Calabar Carnival which he started in 2004 and popularly referred to as Africa’s biggest street party.
Donald Duke initiated the Tinapa Resort project as a way to boost business and tourism in the state. He is reported to be the only governor specifically mentioned as not being under investigation by the federal Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He announced his intention to run for the presidency in 2007 but stepped aside in favour of the eventual winner, Umaru Yar’Adua. In May 2017 he hinted his plan to run for president and identified with the coalition for Nigerian movement which was founded by Obasanjo which lunched on January 31, 2018. He also joined forces with former CBN governor Chukuma Soludo, Pat Utomi, Olise Agbakoba and Oby Eze to float Nigeria intervention movement (NIM) to recuse Nigerian’s from APC and PDP.