Former Cross River State Governor
A sports enthusiasts, Duke during his time as Governor of Cross River State initiated the Obudu Mountain Race.
During his wide-ranging interview with the Loose Talk giants, the trained lawyer who is running for the office of the President in the 2019 elections spoke on sports development and opined that Nigeria can only achieve sporting success with long-term planning.
“Planning, what do you want to make out of it, is it to be champions or you just want to be a participant?” the 56-year-old said.
“But we need to ask ourselves, what is all this about, you know that every four years you have Olympics, you know that every four years you have the World Cup.”
Great Britain's attempt to poach Duke's daughter
Duke further used the case of Great Britain and how they scouted his daughter at the age of 14 in 2006 ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
He recalled that in 2006, the British High Commissioner who was also his friend paid him a visit in Calabar to seek his permission for his daughter to be trained by Great Britain.
“He said to me ‘are you aware that your daughter took part in Prince of Wales competition?’,” Duke recalled.
“Apparently, it’s an age-group thing and she came first in 100 and 200m. In other words at the age of 14, she was the fastest 200 and 100m runner in the entire UK.
“I said ‘I knew she took part in the competition but I didn’t go into the details of it.’ He said ‘you are a very poor father’.
“He said to me ‘I’m here on her majesty’s mission and we want to retain her to prepare her for the Olympics.’
“The Olympics was taking place in 2012, six years ahead, they were recruiting because at the age of 20 the athlete peaks, so they will train you for that six years. They will first get the best six years prior and train you for the Olympics.
“That’s a serious country. They knew they will be hosting the Olympics, they knew they had to do well in the Olympics, you can’t host and finish number 30.”
“There is a thought behind this. They were not planning for the 2008 Olympics, they were planning for 2012,” he added.
“They said they were going to train her, put her on a special diet. They even got her an admission into which is a sports university just hoping that they can monitor her.
“It’s a failure, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
During his interview with the Loose Talk giants, Duke also spoke on the success of Obudu Mountain Race.
“The Obudu Mountain race was born out of tourism, we wanted to create a race that will attract attention to the and how and it was shown on and and all that,” Duke said.
“So you see the cable car and all that and it was a way of selling it and it grew to become the biggest mountain race in the world.
“The cash prize was $50, 000. The next prize to that anywhere in the world was $20, 000. Every mountain runner wanted to be in that circuit, it was busy and it was good.”
Duke’s interview on the podcast was over two-hours long as he spoke on his success as Governor of Cross River State, solutions to Nigeria’s complex issues and his ambition to be president.