Donald Duke was the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
Spearheading the incumbent debt of Nigeria, Duke pushed for democracy and against military control. He stated; “What got the military out of power was not democracy but the dreadful state of the economy. If we, the democratic government, cannot deliver food for the mass of people we can forget about democracy.
Duke received praises for his contributions to the fields of agriculture, urban development, government, environment, information and communication, investment drive, and tourism and making Calabar the cleanest city in Nigeria.
He initiated the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race which attracted contestants and visitors from other countries. In 2005, he created a special reserve fund for the state meant to ‘‘hedge against economic downturn, and the inevitable rainy day’’. This was meant 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 also initiated the Calabar Carnival which started in 2004 and is 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. Over $350 million was spent on initial development before phase 1 opening in April 2007. BBC reported in September 2006 that Governor Duke was the only governor specifically mentioned as not being under investigation by the federal Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Four other governors were also reported as not under investigation but their names were not released.)
Donald Duke announced that he would run for the presidency in the 2007 presidential election, but stepped aside in favour of the eventual winner, Umaru Yar’Adua.
On 8th June 2018, Donald Duke declared interest in running for presidency in 2019 with media at the top of the decision publicity
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