Notable Alumni: Donald Duke
Donald Duke was born on September 30, 1961 at 16 Annesley Street, Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria, to the family of Mr. Henry Etim Duke and Mrs. Genevieve Etim Duke. He is the fourth child in the family of five children. His father, Mr. Henry Duke, was the Chairman of the Board of Customs and Excise (now The Nigerian Customs Service) between the years 1967 and 1975. He was the governor of Cross River, Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007. Donald Duke was born in the East, grew up in the West where he had his early education (Corona and Saint Mary’s School in Lagos), he attended Secondary School (Federal Government Colleges (both Unity Schools) at Sokoto and Ilorin and thereafter returned to the Federal School of Arts and Science, Lagos for his ‘A’ Levels ) and University in the North and Middle Belt, received professional training back in the west and later enrolled in some of the best Universities abroad. He received his LLB degree in 1982 at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria, and a BL in 1983 from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He went further for his LLM in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from the University of Pennsylvania. Having acquired sufficient grounding and exposure in academics, business and law practice in the United States, Donald Duke returned to Nigeria and teamed up with some colleagues to establish the Lagos based Law partnership of Onyia & Duke. Being in active law practice, he soon assumed full management of the family’s shipping business when he became Chief Executive of Hegeds International Limited. Donald Duke entered into public Governance for the first time In 1991 when he was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of Voice of Nigeria. This was quickly followed by another appointment in 1992 when Governor Clement D. Ebri appointed him a member of the Cross River State Executive Council and Commissioner for Finance, Budget and planning. The appointment as Commissioner was unfortunately short lived due to the abrupt change in Government in November, 1993. He returned to private life in the course of which he became the chairman of Allied Merchants & Brokers Limited, a sole Africa Franchisee for US-based Uncle Ben’s Rice. Duke later became the governor of Cross-River State. Duke has been praised for his contributions to the fields of agriculture, urban development, governance, environment, information and communication, unit investment and tourism. Through his work Calabar is seen today as the “cleanest city in Nigeria.” He created the idea of Obudu Ranch International Mountain race and the race became one of the most lucrative mountain competitions in the world under his stewardship. Donald Duke started Tinapa Resort project a way to boost business and tourism in the state. Over $ 350 million was spent on the initial development phase 1 before opening in April 2007. The BBC reported in September 2006 that Governor Duke was the only governor specifically mentioned as not being investigated by the Federal Commission on Economic and Financial Crimes. Donald Duke announced that he would run for president in the 2007 presidential election, but stepped aside for the eventual winner, Umaru Yar’Adua.
Source: Nigerian Biography