He said his failed run for the presidency in 2007 made him sad.
Regarded as one of Nigeria's most stellar governors after two terms as Cross River State governor between 1999 and 2007, Duke attempted to contest for the presidency on the platform of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), but lost out to the party's favourite, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.
Yar'Adua emerged the party's consensus candidate through the influence of then-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was approaching the end of his second term.
While speaking during an interview on Pulse Nigeria's Loose Talk Podcast on Friday, July 13, 2018, Duke said Obasanjo didn't anoint him as president because he had his own views on who he wanted as a successor.
He said, "He had his own views. He probably had his own views of the folks he wanted to take over from him so he literally picked Umaru Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan."
He noted that his failed run in 2007 made him sad because Yar'Adua wanted to work with him but the final decision was not up to the man himself, but Obasanjo.
He said, "I was sad, but I moved on. The circumstance was sadder still because Umaru really wanted to work with me. On three occasions, he came to me and said, 'I hope you know we're working together?' I said, 'Sure, but is it your decision to make?' And he said, 'Ah, don't worry, he (Obasanjo) likes you.' I said, 'Okay, go (and) ask."
Yar'Adua went on to win the 2007 presidential election before he tragically died in 2010, paving the way for Goodluck Jonathan to become president.
Despite Obasanjo's apparent decision to overlook him for the presidency years ago, Duke said that he maintains a good relationship with the former president.
Donald Duke further noted that it is wrong to impose a candidate for a position as powerful as the president of Nigeria, explaining that a candidate has to be ready on so many levels.
According to him, the Nigerian presidency is too powerful that presidents are regarded as deity, an enormous amount of power he cautions against.
He said, "One thing about an office as serious as the presidency is you don't conscript people to run because you must be mentally, physically, spiritually ready for the job.
"Mentally, you must have the vision for the job; spiritually, you must be strong, you must be of good faith, regardless of what your faith is; and physically, you must have the will, the desire to make it happen because you're going to be constantly swimming against a wave.
"The president of Nigeria is so all-powerful; he is a deity. I hate to say this, but I've been where people say, 'Oga, after God, na you o'.
"It may sound blasphemous but there's truth in it. So the struggle for it is enormous. You see the man walking and sometimes you just look at him like, 'This man is so powerful o'. It ought not be that way."
Duke is yet to disclose on which political platform he'll run for president next year. However, he is most likely to contest on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) which is the political party that has been adopted by Obasanjo's Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) of which he is a founding member.
If he wins his party's primary election, he'll face stiff competition from others like incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu; management consultant and leadership expert, Fela Durotoye; Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore and a host of others.